From Strength to Strength
TruePublica Editor: In June last year, the TruePublica website was relentlessly hacked over a weekend that resulted in the total loss of functionality and display. We had many, many kind words of encouragement to keep going. Well over two thousand articles had to be retrieved and then correctly archived. Images were destroyed, links disappeared and even some text re-arranged. It took two months of hard work to get back online again but we lost over 1,000 articles.
In August, we started the job of finding our audience once again, who understandably had wandered off after two months of silence. That month, we were surprised to have 29,000 visitors and we have seen month on month growth to the extent that January was a record month, then February and now March. We’ve had 1.5 million visitors since then who have read well over 2 million pages of content. Our articles are republished all over the world and translated into several languages and we’ve had requests to do radio interviews from Canada, America and the UK. We know our articles have found their way to political discussions and policy decisions at the heart of Westminster and we know that TruePublica weekly newsletters go to some desks at parliamentary offices.
Without hassling or hustling our readers or sending constant (or any in fact) requests through our weekly newsletter, we introduced a ‘donate’ option to help fund the website. Aside from book sales, this has proved to be popular and we are genuinely grateful for the donations received so far.
We have been able to steer TruePublica away from overt advertising, ‘guest-posts’ (stuffed full of links to dodgy websites) and seemingly genuine articles loaded with tools to steal reader data.
We are migrating our weekly newsletter from an American company to a European one to ensure more security and reduce outgoings. TruePublica does not ‘harvest’ reader or subscriber data and we do not use tracking tools. TruePublica readers are not asked to agree to the privacy invasions that so many other news sites do and if a subscriber decides to unsubscribe – that’s it – no ifs, no buts. And we ensure that unsubscribed data is completely deleted (hence one of the reasons for migrating our newsletter). We don’t publish ‘tittle-tattle or make unsubstantiated claims to clickbait our audience. We know we could make more money if we did these things, but then, that’s not what TruePublica is about.
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Of course, we’ve had some challenges. Facebook censored our posts, then asked for the passport details and bank statements of editors, which was rightly refused. So we requested the TP Facebook page be taken down – which they have not complied with. Twitter suspended our account for posting a comment about Prince Andrew (and a swap with Harry Dunn’s killer) and Google took an age to index TruePublica correctly.
We’ve decided to reduce our reliance on social media and a build stronger relationship with our audience and not bow down to Google’s constant algorithm changes that benefits them. In addition, we have been visited by thousands of malicious bots and hackers attempting to damage the website or bring us down once again.
Last month over 350,000 people visited the website and our subscriber numbers increased significantly – proof that we can build an audience without stealing data, harvesting, click-baiting or pay the tech giants just to have a presence and at TruePublica I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you for your loyalty, donations and many kind words over the months, especially during challenging times.
In the meantime, stay safe and look out for each other.