Snopes may be shutting down

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  • Thread starter Evo
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  • #1
Evo
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Not looking good.

Snopes, a site dedicated to fact-checking everything from political claims to urban legends, is pleading with its readers for donations as it weathers a complicated legal battle.

Snopes is “in danger of closing its doors,” the staff wrote Monday in a letter to readers, because “an outside vendor” they previously hired has allegedly taken control of the site.

According to Snopes staff, the unnamed vendor has prevented Snopes employees from modifying the page, has continued to place ads on the site and has not paid Snopes any of the revenue from the ads ― the only source of income for the site ― despite Snopes terminating its contract with the vendor.


We had previously contracted with an outside vendor to provide certain services for Snopes.com. That contractual relationship ended earlier this year, but the vendor will not acknowledge the change in contractual status and continues to essentially hold the Snopes.com web site hostage. Although we maintain editorial control (for now), the vendor will not relinquish the site’s hosting to our control, so we cannot modify the site, develop it, or — most crucially — place advertising on it. The vendor continues to insert their own ads and has been withholding the advertising revenue from us.

Our legal team is fighting hard for us, but, having been cut off from all revenue, we are facing the prospect of having no financial means to continue operating the site and paying our staff (not to mention covering our legal fees) in the meanwhile.
Continued...

https://www.yahoo.com/news/fact-checking-snopes-says-apos-213833726.html
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
256bits
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Looks to be the stuff of a nightmare.
 
  • #3
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Confusing.

The letter to readers (via https://www.savesnopes.com) says this is merely a problem with web site hosting, with the vendor holding the site hostage. However if this were the only problem, it could be solved - temporarily, for sure, and possibly permanently if necessary - by moving the editorial content to a new URL with a different hosting service and simply letting readers know of the change. It might be painful and disruptive to lose the old URL, but it would certainly seem feasible. (EDIT - see @jtbell's comment #4, below)

Whereas the lawsuit mentioned in the Yahoo story states that there's a dispute over who owns Snopes as a business - a lot bigger problem and likely one that can't be solved simply by moving shop to a new URL. Apparently it's in the works for Snopes to provide content screening services to Facebook, which could mean money. So who is going to get the money seems to be the bone of contention.
 
Last edited:
  • #4
jtbell
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if this were the only problem, it could be solved - temporarily, for sure, and possibly permanently if necessary - by moving the editorial content to a new URL with a different hosting service and simply letting readers know of the change.
If they own the domain name (i.e. it's registered in the name of their organization) and have access to their domain registrar's control panel, they can change their DNS to point the domain name to a new site on a different hosting service.

If they own the domain name but only the current web-hosting service has access to the domain registrar's control panel, then they can appeal to the registrar and/or ICANN to regain control of it.

This sort of situation is why it's commonly recommended to buy domain registration and web hosting services from separate providers.
 
  • #6
OmCheeto
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It's nice to see that they've exceeded their $500,000 fundraising goal in only 24 hours.
 
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  • #7
Ygggdrasil
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Seems like there is some dispute as to who actually owns the site:
The site, which gets all of its revenue from advertising, created a crowdfunding page on Monday, raising $500,000 from readers in one day to remain operational indefinitely. It says that Proper Media, the vendor that runs its advertising services, has withheld the site’s revenue and has refused to relinquish control of the site. That leaves Bardav — the company that owns and operates Snopes — with no way of moving the site to a new host or installing its own ads, said David Mikkelson, a founder of the site.
[...]
Proper Media considers itself an owner of Bardav, not a vendor. As Proper Media tells it, Barbara Mikkelson, Mr. Mikkelson’s ex-wife, sold her 50 percent share to Proper Media in 2016, but for tax purposes it was bought in the name of its individual members “for the benefit of Proper Media.” Two Proper Media officers, Drew Schoentrup and Christopher Richmond, would get 20 percent stakes in Bardav, while three others would own 3.33 percent stakes.

Proper Media said the deal included Mr. Schoentrup taking a seat on a two-person board alongside Mr. Mikkelson.

But Mr. Mikkelson, who owns the other 50 percent of the Bardav shares, said that Mr. Schoentrup does not sit on the board, and that the five shareholders should be viewed individually, as opposed to collectively, giving Proper Media equal ownership.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/business/media/snopes-crowdfunding-proper-media.html?_r=0
 

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