When you want to find out if something on the internet is true, you head to Snopes.com. The venerable fact-checking site, established in 1994 by David Mikkelson, is now part of Poynter's International Fact-Checking Network, the group that Google and Facebook use to deal with the recent rise in fake news. Unfortunately, Snopes is having trouble with revenue and has gone to GoFundMe to stay afloat on while it deals with legal issues around advertising.
According to Snopes' GoFundMe page, the fact-checkers have never needed to find a sponsor or outside investors, subsisting on advertising alone. Snopes says that the contract with a third party vendor it uses to manage its website has ended, but the vendor has not yet handed over the hosting control. That means the Snopes team can't make any changes to the layout of the site, including placing new advertising. Snopes also reports that the vendor is withholding any revenue from the ads currently on the site.
"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," writes Team Snopes on GoFundMe. We've reached out to Snopes for comment on this matter and will update the post when we hear back.
As of this posting, almost 1,300 people have donated to Snopes, gathering a little over $33,000 to help. If you've used Snopes to get to the bottom of misinformation during the last US election, or just hop on it from time to time to prove to your Aunt Carol that her chain letter isn't real, you might consider donating to the site during the campaign.