In my recent post about watching the Internet “grow up,” I noted True was a driving force in setting the “best practices” around email publishing — I pushed the first true Email Service Provider to add features I wanted, and one of those features was “double opt-in.”
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
Long-time readers may remember that years ago, I had a separate mailing list called “Randy’s Random” — mostly jokes and funny stories. But how to deal with graphics? I didn’t want to email graphics, so Randy’s Random then morphed into Jumbo Joke, which (as you probably know) ran for years. I sold it in 2016, but the buyer didn’t put it back online.
Premium Subscriber Erik in Nevada wanted to really help True, but he didn’t want to do it via the new effort on Patreon, the “crowd-funding” platform for creative endeavors.
(Also see Update below.)
Last Week, I Noted I Had a High-Risk (but “audacious”) goal for True — and came up with a way to take most of the risk away.
It’s a Matter of Control.
As of today, I’ve turned off Google’s “Adsense” service on this site.
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. I’m not about to let Google control what I write about in this context!
What Would You Include as significant milestones in the “history” of weird news?
While Looking for Something Else, I came across this letter from a reader dated May 30 …2005:
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:
In June, This is True celebrates 21 years online — a pioneer in online publishing that predates Facebook, Google, Amazon, and the vast majority of other web sites you can find online today.
A Letter from Roland in Kent, England (where my family name comes from), really got spinning through my mind, because it really helps to put everything in perspective. Let me explain — starting with Roland’s letter (the italics are from the original):
In a discussion group I frequent, one of the members posed a link, and wondered:
“Not sure if the writers here see the need for this….”
An Interesting Article on the site Artist Empathy (yeah, I hadn’t heard of it before either) discusses “The Pomplamoose Problem”…
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.
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.
Facebook is about to get worse — a lot worse — and I think my days there are numbered. I can’t be the only publisher getting ready to give up.
While doing my research this week, I stumbled across an interesting tidbit: Paramount Pictures has become the first major film studio to announce that it will no longer be distributing movies on film, and is going exclusively to digital distribution.
It’s been forever since I’ve written a “What I’ve been reading lately” blurb. You’ll like what has been on my tablet lately. (It’s amusing that while putting this in my blog software and having to choose categories, both “Away From Work” and “True Business” seem appropriate. Read on, and you’ll understand!)
The 11 August 2013 issue — Issue 1000 — brought a new look to This is True: as promised nearly two years ago, plain text is out, and “simple HTML” is in. I introduced it to the Premium subscribers this way:
It has nearly been a decade since the price for a Premium upgrade changed — it went to $24. Premium subscribers themselves have said it’s too cheap. I wanted some detail, and was boggled by what they told me.