Snopes.com in Danger of Shuttering - Asks for $500K in donations

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
In a rather odd turn of events, David Mikkelson, the owner of the fact-checking site Snopes.com has announced he's partially lost control of the the site

https://www.gofundme.com/savesnopes

More details from the NYT:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/business/media/snopes-crowdfunding-proper-media.html
(lots more detail in the link)

More details here:
https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/24/snopes-seeks-crowdfunding-in-ownership-battle/
What's interesting here is that Mikkelson has already managed to raise $272K in just 10 hours!

The legal dispute seems rather tangled. Snopes already took something of a credibility hit from tabloid coverage of Mikkelson's divorce. It's probable the anti-Snopes crowd will be quick to exploit these new problems.


Documents:

Original Complaint:
https://www.metabunk.org/attachments/snopes-complaint-pdf.27922/

Response from David Mikkelson:
https://www.metabunk.org/attachment...8-17_cross_complaint_1500945341220-pdf.27919/

57 07/24/17 Defendant David Mikkelson's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction
https://www.metabunk.org/attachment...position_to_plaintif_1500942570695-pdf.27918/
 

Attachments

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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The mentioned complain paints a tangled picture of dubious dealings:
http://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Snopes-COMPLAINT.pdf
example:
There's lots more. It seems like (from Proper's account) then Mikkelson owns half of Snopes, the individual members of Proper Media own the other half. But Vincent Green technically owns a small part of Proper's half, so he could band together with Mikkelson to form a controlling interest (even though he did not pay for his share).
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The court documents can be accessed here (at cost):
https://roa.sdcourt.ca.gov/roa/
Case number 00016311

57 07/24/17 Defendant David Mikkelson's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction (attached)
This seems a little at odds with Mikkleson's statements that Proper does not own half of Bardav. It seems that this is the crux of the matter - Proper claims that they (as a corporation) bought half of Snopes, but for tax reasons it was in the names of the five people who made up Proper, and not Proper the Corporation.

Seems unlikely to end well - regardless of the outcome the legal wrangling will be interpreted one way by those who support Snopes, and those who are opposed to them.
 

Attachments

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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
More details at the Atlantic:
https://www.theatlantic.com/technol...te-threatening-snopes/534708/?utm_source=fbia
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Snopes already took something of a credibility hit from tabloid coverage of Mikkelson's divorce
:eek: I guess so. The things you learn by reading MB! Oh my.

You would think they would have the brains to put in the divorce settlement that the other partner gets first dibs if one wants to sell their half of the company. smh.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
:eek: I guess so. The things you learn by reading MB! Oh my.

You would think they would have the brains to put in the divorce settlement that the other partner gets first dibs if one wants to sell their half of the company. smh.
I doubt David would have been able to buy out Barabara, Snopes is worth millions. She just wanted to cash out.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I doubt David would have been able to buy out Barabara, Snopes is worth millions. She just wanted to cash out.
but it could have only been for 1%. They really did build and own the company. It is reasonable that if one wants to bail the other should retain control ownership. Buy-Sell agreements can really be anyway people want them to be as far as I know. While I'm sure SHE wouldn't be happy with that arrangement, I would think the court would find the request reasonable under the circumstances (the company circumstances not the reason for divorce circumstances)

Anyway, they didn't so not worth worrying about.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy...over-fact-checking-site-now-front-and-center/
So if Mikkelson has all the data now, he can just move the site elsewhere, and put his own ads on the site.
Currently the site goes to 209.15.34.68, a Cogeco Peer 1 hosting address, with a CDN on static.snopes.com (69.16.175.42).

It's a big site, to be sure, but it's just a Wordpress site largely serving static content. He should be able to move it over the course of a day or two. So there does not seem to be a huge obstacle to him restarting a revenue stream.
 
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