Want In-Depth Coverage Of Net Neutrality? Crowdfund Our Reporting – And Double Your Impact

from the beacon-time dept

TL;DR: Support our net neutrality coverage
and double your impact right now! »

As I’m sure you remember, a few years ago, the biggest story in the technology world was the fight to protect the internet from dangerous copyright legislation in Congress called SOPA/PIPA. Here at Techdirt, we covered that story top to bottom — even walking the halls of Congress on January 18th, 2012, the day of the big internet blackout. A study done by Harvard following that fight, found that Techdirt became “the single most important professional media site over the entire period, overshadowing the more established media.” We’ve already highlighted how the ongoing fight over net neutrality has some similarities, in that the threat to the future of the internet may be made by folks in Washington DC who don’t fully understand what they’re doing. And we’d like to do the same level of blanket coverage we gave to the SOPA/PIPA fight.

But we need your help to do it. And we need it now. Today we’ve teamed up with BeaconReader, a startup that is leading the way in crowdfunding journalism, to launch a crowdfunding campaign for Techdirt to cover “The Net Neutrality Battle.”

You can help by supporting our coverage right now »

Here’s the exciting part that is different from most crowdfunding campaigns. Beacon has helped bring together additional donors who have promised to match the first $30,000 in funds (with potentially more on the way — so stay tuned), so if you support our coverage now you’ll double your impact.

Net neutrality is obviously a big story — but it’s one that simply isn’t getting that much coverage. A recent Pew study found that earlier this year, even as the debate heated up, it was all but absent from national television news and most major newspapers. While there was a brief breakthrough moment when John Oliver discussed net neutrality, even that was somewhat limited (HBO), and not the most nuanced of reports. As Oliver himself noted, the reason that this debate is so dangerous is because often it’s been designed to seem boring to the average person so that they have no idea what it means and how it will impact them.

We aim to change that as much as possible. We want to be able to take the time and break down every angle of this story: including cutting through much of the rhetoric being spewed about what’s happening and what it means. Things like Title II, Section 706 and “forbearance” are confusing and very deep in the weeds, but actually understanding these things and how they’ll impact you are important. There are many vested interests who know that keeping you bored and confused works to their advantage — and we’re hoping to better educate you, so that you can take part in this debate in an informed manner, calling out bogus claims when you see them, and being able to help others understand the issues as well.

Back that Harvard study, which highlighted just how central Techdirt was to that story, noting that there were more in-links to Techdirt than any other source concerning SOPA and PIPA:

But here’s the part that hasn’t been discussed before: covering truly important issues like this, which mostly focus on incumbents trying to stifle upstarts and innovation, is really bad for paying the bills. Our coverage of SOPA/PIPA cost us dearly. While we had some critics insist the only reason we were covering the story was because of the revenue it brought in, the truth is that we lost a very big advertising deal in large part because of our coverage. In the midst of the fight, we actually had an ad partner contact us to ask if we would “tone down” such “political stuff” on the site. That’s not how we work, obviously. We cover what we think is important because we think it’s important, and not based on what will attract the most advertising dollars. But, there’s a big cost to that. In our case, advertising, which almost always comes from large incumbents, dried up significantly, despite the fact that our traffic basically doubled.

Thankfully, we have the research and consulting side of our business, which helps fund this site, but the site increasingly runs at a loss if you just view it in terms of advertising and sponsorship. We took another hit on that front last month, when we (basically alone among media sites) agreed to go 100% SSL, to protect your privacy — which forced us to cut loose a number of ad partners who simply don’t want to bother supporting SSL.

For years, though, we’ve reported on crowdfunding campaigns — and we’ve had some success with our own Insider Shop, but it’s not nearly enough for the kind of coverage we’d like to bring to these and other important issues. So that’s where this crowdfunding campaign comes in. Beacon is a fascinating startup that is working hard to combine the best concepts of crowdfunding, but with a 100% focus on making it work for journalism, leading to some unique opportunities. With this campaign, our net neutrality coverage will appear on both Techdirt and Beacon, and supporters will get some specific perks from Beacon as well.

Like all crowdfunding campaigns, this is something of an experiment — meaning that it’s also an opportunity for you to tell us how important you think net neutrality is as well. We’ll obviously cover the unfolding story no matter what, but if we can meet our goal with this campaign, we’ll be able to dedicate a lot more resources to making sure that we can truly cover every angle, including following the story to wherever it leads us: whether that’s Washington, DC or elsewhere, and adding more voices and more in-depth coverage on what’s really happening and what it really means for you and the future of the internet. The fact that any money pledged now gets immediately doubled by matching donors makes it easy for you to have even more impact right now.

We’ve mentioned ways to supports us in the past, but we’ve never before made a direct plea to help us out. Today, however, I’m asking if you’ll step up and contribute and enable us to bring you more thorough reporting on the net neutrality fight. The fact that BeaconReader will match your dollars, doubling the impact of every dollar you give, will act as added incentive. Thanks for any possible support you can give.

Once again: Support our net neutrality coverage
and double your impact right now! »

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Companies: beaconreader, techdirt

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Comments on “Want In-Depth Coverage Of Net Neutrality? Crowdfund Our Reporting – And Double Your Impact”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Is it paranoia if they actually are out to get you?

I’m just curious as I have been the target of an overly broad subpoena, 3 lawsuits, and still appearing in several federal dockets being accused of horrible things.

I never said I wouldn’t, I might have, I might not have, I just have extra things to consider when making these decisions.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m a long time reader of Techdirt. I’ve been here regularly ever since my favorite place covering copyright misdeeds went under. I’d been there years and at his closing, he recommended this site to go to. I long ago gave up on national media as anything other than government propaganda where you would never hear the real story due to self-induced corporate bias.

The national news from all major news media sources today are a joke. That extends even to the local weather where all of them get their data from NOAA. NOAA has been pretty much on target with their weather predictions but local weather has been another joke as the only way they can add value is to decrease the accuracy to claim uniqueness in why you should give them your time to watch their broadcast. That’s not exactly what I seek in the news there.

So I gather my data from places similar to TechDirt where the coverage is better than the corporate flavor found in the national versions. Even here there are I expect some limitations from the corporate owners.

But this business with Beacon. This is the same outfit that teemed up with Facebook to follow members all over the net. Reporting back to Facebook what people purchased which came to a head when a lady learned her boyfriend had purchased an engagement ring, before he gave it to her. Sorry, despite all the good you do with coverage, right behind media bias in the things that really hit my buttons are corporate/government spying in the form of data mining for advertising and so called security purposes that appear to be anything but related to national security.

This I can not and will not support.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

This is the same outfit that teemed up with Facebook to follow members all over the net.

No it’s not.

Reporting back to Facebook what people purchased which came to a head when a lady learned her boyfriend had purchased an engagement ring, before he gave it to her.

That was an internal Facebook project. This is a totally different startup. It has no connection to the Facebook Beacon thing.

Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Trademark

But this confusion raises an important point: Shouldn’t trademark, when properly applied, remedy this? This AC was earnestly confused because a tech company had an identical name as another tech company. Shouldn’t that be a trademark dispute, and wasn’t this exactly the type of thing trademark was designed to remedy?

Musical Dunce says:

bad engrish

This appears on the pledge page:

Your card will be charged immediately if the project has already reached it’s goal and it is passed Jul 31, 2014.

I know that no Techdirt writer would use “passed” when they meant “past”, but perhaps you could inform your partner so that the pledge page matches your high standards.

Samuel Abram (profile) says:

I donated.

I donated, and here’s why. Considering that you stuck up for your principles instead of selling out to your advertisers, that shows that you guys at Techdirt have integrity and I’m going to put in $5 a month to help you out. I’m sorry I couldn’t donate more, but you guys have been there for us so $5 is the least I can do.

Also, the fact that you stuck to your principles disproves anyone who ever says that you take orders from Big Tech.

Whatever (profile) says:


This is classic stuff. It’s called spotting a parade, jumping in front of it, and claiming to be the band leader.

Moreover, it’s not about fair and unbiased coverage of the issues, it’s out perpetuating one side of the discussion. It’s actually everything that is wrong with US politics, raising money to support printing lyric sheets for the choir, rather than aiming to actually get anything done.

Sort of smells a bit like doing a Lessig… PAC much?

Whatever (profile) says:

Re: Re: classic

I don’t have a “side”, and that attitude is another part of what is very wrong here. We versus they, without any consideration of the concept that people are in fact in the middle and not part of some organized group.

I’m not debating the study. It’s how the result was accomplished that is the issue.

TestPilotDummy says:


From Slashdot and From el Reg

split /. when dice rolldings + layout + moderator hell = poo

split el reg after fukushima and the UK playdown of the seriousness of the matter + the spying crap was being played down . twas war of Constitution vs Oath Breaking Fun

That’s why TechDirt is the DESIRED destination.

While ARS is not bad, I just don’t need an extra helping of global warming UN carbon tax fraud in my cup. Plus no comments with no accounts. There goes the baby crying again.

Could go over to wired (isn’t that that magazine that tried to spam me with subscription after MaximumSomething Magazine went tits up and the subscriptions shifted to WIRED automatically… Yes I think it is the same. No wonder I don’t have an account there.

sorrykb (profile) says:

Re: Refugees

While ARS is not bad, I just don’t need an extra helping of global warming UN carbon tax fraud in my cup.

Funny, that’s one of the things I like about Ars: The willingness to acknowledge that facts are real regardless of what how we feel about them.

(And yes, I’ve signed on to the crowdfunding campaign, which just goes to show that Techdirt readers aren’t a monolithic group. I’d say that’s one more factor that makes the campaign worth supporting…)

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