Can’t Help But Laugh

When readers unsubscribe from the free newsletter, the service I use allows them to send feedback — and while not everyone provides that, I always read it when they do.

Happily, the most-common feedback is along the lines of “I’ve upgraded to Premium” so they don’t want the subset of stories in the free edition that they’ve already read.

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I Can No Longer Recommend Patreon

See Update Below! Patreon broke trust with every Patron registered with them, including This is True’s supporters, by suddenly announcing they would soon charge them more than their pledged amount. They billed it as something positive for creators. It absolutely is not: it is bad for creators. We creators got no advance notice of this, and no way to “opt out” … Continue Reading

The Ongoing Struggle

After My Discussion Last Week that said True is suffering tough times due to a reduction in Premium subscribers since the election, and really needs about 1 percent of you to upgrade to just get up to the “minimum sustainable” target to make the publication fully viable, Joe in California wrote to say he didn’t … Continue Reading

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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“Only in Premium”

The Minor Format Change introduced last week brought a lot of positive comments. Just one example: “Love, love, love the new way you tease the ‘missing’ Premium stories.” —Mark in New Jersey. That’s awfully nice. But, of course, there were protest unsubscribes last week because I stopped gathering all the “stories you missed” summaries into a large paragraph, and instead left their story slugs up among the full stories, and included a brief summary of the story there. A few examples:

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Ask Me Anything

A reader thought I should go on Reddit and do an AMA, or “Ask Me Anything” event. I do have a Reddit account, but I’ve been far from active there, and I’m a bit dubious that I’m known there. It’d be pretty icky to do an AMA and not have anyone show up. But after pondering it for several months, I thought I’d do an AMA outside of Reddit, and invite the Premium subscribers to ask the questions.

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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.

Continue Reading20 Years …and Counting