Yves here. In 2019, when we published a “fake news” fundraiser post by Rev Kev (below) about what might happen if Naked Capitalism were to shut down, it seemed like a harmless joke. But a shutdown is now no longer a joking matter.
We are so far behind our normal fundraising pace that unless things pick up sharply, I am faced with having to make serious cuts. We have three people on our team who depend on the income from the site, so I can’t ask them to take less, and it is not as if we have any fat in this operation to begin with.
So the only solution would be for me to take no pay over the next 12 months. I might even have to dig into my (not very ample) savings to fund operations. That is not sustainable. We would be on track for me to greatly shrink or even shut down Naked Capitalism next year.
I feel terrible about having to consider this possibility, particularly given all the notes readers have saying how much Naked Capitalism means to them. For instance, just yesterday, from Scotty E:
I am so grateful for this community, which over the years has become my primary source of information, conversation, and sanity.
And Samah S:
Thank you for running a fantastic news site.
Our average donation level is in line with past years but our number of donations is continuing to lag. Since we have not made any major changes in our take on major issues since last year, we don’t believe that our content is the problem. We also started super-early last year but that didn’t seem to be a huge impediment (we were a bit short but held a tacky mini-fundraiser in November to top up). But perhaps people are more stressed this year and in a less confident mood.
Generally, all publishers experience reader churn, and the persistent long-term campaign against independent media, particularly wrong-thinking independent media, makes it harder to attract new audience members when some current ones drift away. Sites are able to fundraise off overt attacks, as the Intercept is doing now over Facebook throttling shares of its posts to 20% of their recent level.
But it’s harder to get backers to rally in the face of slow-motion draining of the oxygen supply, particularly in the form of unsexy but still deadly developments like Google repeatedly tweaking its algo so as to not serve up articles from small fry like us, even on narrowly-targeted searches. Lambert says Google doesn’t even serve up posts he’s 100% sure he wrote!
I also suspect that we have been harder hit by Covid than other sites, despite our stellar Covid coverage, in that reader meetups were an important way of rallying the community. But we can’t justify holding what would turn out to be super-spreader events.
Some may wonder why I am discussing not being able to fund all the site’s content only now, when the goal (“Karōshi Prevention“) is having the site’s publisher and lead writer – me – take time off to rest and refit. If you have been though our fundraisers, every year we go through the same series of targets, because they are all part of the foundation we must have in place to deliver original content, which is our final appeal. If we started with original content, we were advised that many would not be receptive to supporting all the other elements that are essential to run the site, such as our hosting and other tech plumbing. But as things are going now, we won’t reach our original content target at all, or if we do, at a level well short of what you have come to expect (and deserve). And original content is the point of the site!
So please, particularly if you gave last year and haven’t yet this year, proceed to the donation page and give as generously as you can. And with that, to Rev Kev’s prescient post.
This post first appeared on October 4, 2019
By The Rev Kev from Down Under
It is with deep regret that we at Naked Capitalism announce the closure of our site due to lack of financial resources. We thank our contributors and readership over the years. We suggest that for news and analysis, that they peruse other websites such as the Washington Post, MSNBC, Daily Kos, the New York Times, Infowars, CNN and Fox News.
Yeah, obviously “fake news” but just writing this put the wind up me when I realized what a loss Naked Capitalism would be. I have seen great websites just disappear and it’s not a good feeling. So please, go to the Tip Jar right now, as in right the hell now. If you can give a little, give a little, and if you can give a lot, really give a lot.
It is a funny feeling daily visiting the Lord Voldemort of the internet as in they-who-must-not-be-named. At this stage of the game I think that a lot of “serious” people would sooner admit to visiting P***H** than Naked Capitalism. But visit they do. It is rumored that Ben Bernanke himself used to peek at Naked Capitalism articles surreptitiously to find out what sort of mess Alan Greenspan had left for him.
You gotta love a site that falls foul of mobs like Google and the Washington Post. Seriously, it is not like you can respect the opposition these days anyway. If you were holding a party, would you really invite the likes of people like Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg? Talk about your buzzkills. Far better to have people like Marshall Auerback, Michael Hudson, Bill Black, Rajiv Sethi, and Wolf Richter come over. So to continue to hang out with them, proceed to the Tip Jar, donate, and if you can, make it big!
I no longer know how many years ago it was that I first found Naked Capitalism. I was trying to get background on what caused the financial crash after 2008 to understand the bullet dodge we experienced. I found myself coming back here again and again because of the stories – and more importantly – the analysis of how it came about. Stuff you would never, ever see in the regular news. Stuff that should have been. Just the stories explaining what MERS was and how it worked were an eye-opener for me that hooked me in.
And I have been coming here ever since and eventually piping up. But along with the articles I found just as valuable the comments posted by such a wide variety of people from different backgrounds, different countries and so many with their own areas of expertise – comments that can be weird, wonderful, and even profound. It is a real community of like-minded people at work here.
So Yves will put up a post on Brexit and highly informative and perceptive remarks from people Like PlutoniumKun, Clive, vlade, David, and Colonel Smithers soon appear. Lambert, after putting on his yellow waders, will delve into the intricacies of American politics and observations flow in from all corners of the country – readers like flora, Wukchumni, Cal2, polecat, VietnamVet, Henry Moon Pie, Watt4Bob, pretzelattack, and ambrit. Jerri-Lynn will post an article on plastics or other environmental issues and commenters like Synoia, drumlin woodchuckles, Amfortas the hippie, OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL, witters and many others weigh in. And I have only named but a few but you all know who you are.
Before I forget… If there any members from any of the three-letter agencies reading this site as part of their daily duties… Fellas: You’ve got a good gig here. You get to read all these articles and great comments and get paid to do it. You owe it to yourselves to dig deep and do your part to keep this site going. See that Tip Jar with those begging snow leopards? Do it for your conscience – and don’t forget to charge it to government accounts. If you don’t, you may find yourselves being sent back to dig through the comments sections of Daily Kos and Breitbart!
There is an old American acronym that goes back to the 1930s which is TANSTAAFL – “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” and such is the case here. Naked Capitalism needs your help to keep up all its good work. Look, times are tough. You know it and so do I. I get it.
But if you want to find out why times are tough, who did it to you, how they did it and why, then that is why you have Naked Capitalism. When you put in a contribution, it is not only money you are donating but a vote of support to Yves, Lambert, Jerri-Lynn, and the rest of the crew. You are saying that you want to have their backs and value what they do. So give, for them, and for yourself too. It is time to give something back.
You may find too that you not only want to put in a contribution in your own name but that you would also like to make it on behalf of another person who, for one reason or another, are unable to make a contribution themselves. That being said, I therefore personally will be making a contribution in the name of Marcie Frost of Sacramento, California.