Indeed, why bother? Because it’s interesting, it’s fun and, best of all, it’s free!
But it has to be more than that. And it is.
There has to be a reason that so many people read This is True. With subscribers in more than 200 countries, there’s got to be something here that makes people want to read it week after week.
You’ve heard the phrase, “Truth is stranger than fiction”? The way Randy puts it is, “Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.” Every week there are stories in True that are just too strange to make up! The week this page was written, for example, True ran the stories below.
One Week’s Worth of True Stories
- Several people heeded an anonymous call to protest at Buckingham Palace in London for the right to “walk around in public in the nude”. Three naked men were arrested. Virtually at the same time, a Scotland Yard report was issued that concludes that the greatest threat to the royal family is not terrorists, but mentally unbalanced people.
- The Tennessee State Senate approved a bill that allows motorists who run over animals to take them home and eat them. Previous law called for a jail sentence and fine.
- Psychologists say actors can become lost in their roles and lose sight of their own identities.
- A Florida lawyer files suit against a rental car company, saying they should have known the person they rented a car to might get drunk and crash — because he’s Irish, and they should have known the Irish drink a lot.
- A major car company plans to put “people-detecting infrared sensors” in trunks to pop open the lids when it detects people (like a release handle wouldn’t be infinitely cheaper and more effective?)
- A major university refused to give Bill Clinton an honorary degree — because he didn’t earn it.
- Harvard Medical School anthropologists say television isn’t making people in Fiji fat, but rather provoking eating disorders that go against their culture of liking large bodies.
- Mattel has come up with a way to get fathers to buy several more Barbie dolls for their little girls: dressing the dolls up in sports uniforms.
- And the featured headline of the week makes you wonder what kind of bizarre food fight provoked the Associated Press to announce: “Potato, Dancing Raisins Cut a Deal”.
All of that was from just one issue! And we didn’t go choose a particularly good issue to write about — it was pretty much random, taken from the issue that was closest to the date this page was written. However, we openly admit that to have seen all of those stories that week, you would have had to be a “Premium” (paid) subscriber — more on that below.
We couldn’t make up that much weird stuff every week if we tried — we’d need a huge staff to write it all, and we don’t have one — nor do we want one, since true stories are infinitely better! All of those stories above came from real newspapers — not junky tabloids like the “National Weekly Star Enquirer” (as we like to call them). And we have a fresh load of that many stories every week — and we’ve been doing it every week, non-stop, since 1994! We don’t have to make up the stories, because there are that many stories about real people doing outrageous things every week. Really!
Is it Really Free?
Yep. Zip. Nada. No charge. Nothing. While there is a paid subscription option, most people who subscribe to True don’t pay a dime: the only thing they had to provide was their email address so we can send it to them. What did they get for free? About half of an issue — they saw half the stories detailed above. Not descriptions of the stories, the entire stories, four in all, plus the Featured Headline of the Week. (For the rest of the stories, they saw a quick summary so they could see what they missed.) It makes for a nice quick read over the weekend — or on Monday morning when you get to the office so you can start your week off right. If you really must have all the stories, then we welcome you to pay for them.
Meanwhile, you can subscribe for free and get new issues once per week (and no ad-only mailings!) There’s a place in the sidebar to put your email address so you can get started.
No Strings Attached
If you’re not convinced, maybe you’re worried about your privacy. We do, after all, make you give us your email address. If that’s your concern, well, quite frankly, we think you’re smart. But consider this: we didn’t grow to tens of thousands of subscribers in more than 200 countries by giving or selling our member addresses to spammers! We started this in 1994 and would have gone out of business years ago if we did that (and rightly so). So check out our Privacy Page — it’s important enough that it’s listed in the navigation bar on every one of our main pages (to the left). You may also be interested in our Spam Primer. It will tell you in no uncertain terms what we think of spammers. We have, in fact, been extremely proactive in educating people about what’s so wrong about spam because we think it’s bad for the online publishing industry — our bread and butter. In short, we would never reveal your address to anyone because it’s bad for business. It’s as simple as that. Well, and it’s simply wrong.
When we say “no strings attached” we mean it. You can stay on the free distribution list for as long as you like — it’s not a “free sample” where you have to pay or get booted off. Obviously, we’ll try to entice you to “upgrade” your subscription to Premium, and/or pick up some copies of our book collections, but you do not have to buy anything. Our goal is to provide you with such a great product for free that you’ll really want to get some books or receive the benefits of a Premium subscription.
Upgrading Has Its Benefits!
What’s this about the “Premium” subscription, now? Well, if we had to make a living by giving something away for free to a huge audience on the Internet every week, we would have starved to death years ago. The ongoing weekly costs of this is paid by clearly-marked third-party advertising in our email distribution. (In fact, we hope you find True’s included ads interesting and worth visiting the sponsors’ sites to see what they offer — many are unique and interesting products and services in themselves.) And again, we never send ads-only mailings.
Obviously, advertising in a short weekly publication certainly wouldn’t pay our online costs and pay the rent or put food on the table, so we have a couple of products that we sell to make our way in the world. The first is the Premium subscription. Premium subscribers get more stories, they get them earlier in the week, they get certain “extras”, and they get discounts on the second product: book collections. Plus, there are no third-party ads in the Premium edition, so if you would rather pay a subscription fee than look at ads, we offer that option.
On the navigation bar, you can click through to read about Premium subscriptions by clicking on Premium Upgrade (it costs just $32 per year) and you can read about our several book collections by clicking on True Books (with discounts for Premium subscribers). But if you’re not convinced you want that now, you may as well start out with a free subscription and make sure you’ll like it. We’re confident you will, so we’re happy to wait for you to upgrade later.
The Third Way: You Don’t Have to Choose Between Amateur Junk and the Mega-Media Monolith
Last, what have you seen on the Internet lately? Probably two things: really bad, poorly written, amateur garbage that’s not worth your time to look at. And, second: slick, crass, impersonal, gigantic-company-backed big-media buy buy buy (now!) one-size-fits-all gee-whiz stainless steel tripe that’s about to be (or just was) bought out by Microsoft, Google, or News Corp.
There is something in the middle! It’s thoughtful, interesting, entertaining, thought-provoking quality material put out by small publishers. People who had a vision of what the ’net could be and made it happen — This is True’s founder Randy Cassingham is one of the first online publishers, long before the term “blogging” was even invented. And it’s all because of regular people like you who subscribe and support our independent efforts. And you get to thumb your nose at those Big Companies who insist they know what you want online.
To summarize, you get interesting, fun, thought-provoking true examples of weird human oddities every week for free. You can buy upgrades or book collections if you want, your privacy is assured, and your simply being on our distribution helps support quality, independent voices on the ’net.
Anything else? Well, yes: we’re saying Please! Just use the form above. And thanks!
(Subscription confirmation required. Every issue has an easy-to-use unsubscribe link: just a couple of clicks and you’re off with no argument or difficulty.)