Why I’ve Removed Google’s Ads

It’s a Matter of Control.

This is True went online in the first half of 1994, so True has been in business longer than many big names in the Internet biz, including Google (1998). As a classic feature column, I received (and turned down) syndication offers from two different newspaper syndicates, including one of the biggest in the business, because I wanted full control of True’s publication rights — including its online presence. And as of today, I’ve turned off Google’s “Adsense” service on this site for the same reason: to assert my control.

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The Biggest Mistake People Make Online

The threat from criminals online continues to grow. It’s not just “hackers” but actual criminal activity, backed by organized crime, and perhaps even some governments. They want your passwords, especially for bank and other financial accounts, so they can drain them for you, and they use some pretty tricky and often sophisticated means to get them, either from you, or from sites they break into.

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Facebook: What Are They Selling?

To answer the very important question of the title, you need a little background, which is illustrated by a question from reader Steve in Texas:

Some time ago, I “Liked” the This is True Facebook page, but almost never see any posts. I figured you weren’t active until I went back to the page, and saw a ton of stuff I thought was great! How come I’m not seeing it regularly? I see most posts from my friends.

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The Taylor Swift Cop Video:
Call Me a Contrarian

Swift performing in Los Angeles during her RED Tour, August 2013. (Photo CC “Denielle” on Flikr.)

OK: Call Me a Contrarian. Sure the lip-synching cop was entertaining! The song is fun, and who can’t like the earnest and drop-dead gorgeous (and cute! — see below) Taylor Swift?

But really: we are in a cycle of big distrust of cops in this country, so their solution is to lie about just happening to find this video of the cop in their random review of dashcam footage?

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Call Me a Contrarian

20 Years …and Counting

This Week Marks a Huge Milestone for This is True: the end of its 20th year. It started as a bulletin board item outside my office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The first one, dated 26 June 1994, was written to go into my business plan — I hadn’t actually gotten distribution set up. As I was working on the tech, I kept writing a new column each week and, when it went online in July 1994, it was an instant hit, quickly ramping up in circulation.

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