Skip to comments.Is Free Republic a Fraud? Is it time for Free Republic to go away?
Posted on 11/28/2001 7:31:29 PM PST by Jim Robinson
Free Republic has had one helluva run over the last five years or so. We helped impeach one president and helped get another into office. We've been active in demonstrations and protests in nearly every city across the nation. We've participated in conventions, petition drives, activism campaigns and projects for dozens of conservative causes.
We've grown from a tiny web site with a few hundred posters and readers from the time of inception in 1996, to one with tens of thousands of participants today. Along the way we've made lots of great friends and, unfortunately, also made lots of bitter enemies.
We've grown from a small web site that I could manage myself on a part-time basis to a huge monster that has totally consumed all of my time and resources plus nearly all of John's time, plus the time and resources of many dedicated FReepers who volunteer or contribute large amounts of their own time and money.
The site is now consuming all of a 10 mbps dedicated line with two servers and we're still growing, and it consumes large amounts of money to keep all this running. In the early years, it only took a few thousand dollars per month to keep Free Republic on the air, but it is now costing over $20,000 per month to cover all expenses.
The major costs include approximately $8,000 per month for bandwidth, 3,000 for systems management and programming services, 7,000 for management, operating and administrative services, plus two or three thousand per month for miscellaneous office expenses, telephone, communications, repairs & maintenance, travel & lodging, postage, rentals, insurance, legal fees, accounting fees, etc., etc.
We anticipate a reduction in bandwidth costs next year as we renegotiate our contract (the market price for bandwidth has fallen recently), however, that will be more than offset by an expected increase in costs of our legal expenses. As most of you know, our pro bono attorney has left us and we've hired a new attorney to continue with our case, plus we have the suit against eschoir to pay for. My projections are that our regular monthly expenses for next year will be running in the neighborhood of $22,000 per month, or approximately $264,000 total for the year. This means we will need to raise approximately $66,000 per quarter.
Talking about making enemies, we've got several ex-FReepers and other detractors who are claiming on their anti-freeper web sites that I am ripping off the donors and that Free Republic is a fraud. Now, Free Republic is what it is, and it is definitely not a fraud. It is a conservative news discussion forum that encourages participation in politics and activism projects. It is not being billed as anything else. We are not selling or promising anything. And I am being up front about our operating costs. The costs of running Free Republic are what I've stated above and they are necessary to keep FR on the air. I do not have the financial wherewithal to operate this site without your help. If the majority of the FReepers feel that these costs are out of line or too much to bear or that Free Republic is no longer wanted or needed, then we will either cut it back or shut it down or do something altogether different.
I've also been criticized about not making our financials public. Well, the reason I do not want to do this is that I have been sued, both personally and as Free Republic, LLC. The people suing us want to bankrupt us and shut us down. They subpoenaed our financial records, but we refused to turn them over. The judge agreed that the plaintiffs have no right to the information, thus I have no intention of making any more of it public than I absolutely have to, until this lawsuit is resolved. You all know the amounts of money we raise if you follow the fundraising threads. It is all above board and out in the open. The totals posted by BadJoe are usually pretty close to the actual cash received and the amounts expended are pretty close to the amounts projected. No one is getting rich here and no one is being ripped off. The funds raised are being used for the purposes stated, and that is keeping this website on the air and that's it. Nothing fraudulent about it. Those who want to help fund us freely do so with nothing expected in return. Those who do not want to contribute do not have to.
There was a thread running this morning where people were making all kinds of accusations about Free Republic "hiding the truth" or whatever. These accusations are being made by Chuck Allan and others and fall along the same line with the accusations being made by some of the earlier banees or AFers including Mojo, Inspector Harry Callahan, Arator, keep U.S. Sovereign, TKEman and others. Some of these people are existing FReepers and some are banned. I am going to reinstate Mojo, Inspector Harry Callahan and Arator's accounts so they can join Chuck Allan, TKEman, K.U.S.S. and whomever else wants to get involved, and I invite them to come onto this thread and make their accusations public. As long as they do not go onto other threads and make a nuisance of themselves, I will let them have their say.
Like I said above, if it is time for Free Republic to go away so be it. Those who want to keep it going speak up. Those who want it to go away, tell us why. But if those who want it to be gone lose out in the debate, then I'd say they should just go away themselves, or, in the very least, shut up and quit whining about it.
Then credit members with free months for every new member signed up.
Keep up the good work.
It might be time to charge, say, $12 per year for membership and still ask for donations to cover the rest.
Maybe have a basic 'free' service (although besides Freepmail, I'm not sure what could be segregated that way). Its probably come to the point that FR has to make a decision about its finances, as sad as that might be. You can run ads (expect that would be hard), charge membership, curtail postings sizes and such (sorry JohnHuang2).
Something does need to be done.
Good lord! FR is more than a site, it is a true community -- friends and relations sharing their lives within the big life of the world. The place is genius, is what it is, and it is too perfectly good to do anything but grow.
Thanks so much, Jim.
$80,000 or bust. : )
I challenge all SASters who frequent FR to also find a way to make a monthly donation to FR.
Jim, thanks to you and John for valor above and beyond the call of duty. You've been willing to stick your necks out to support freedom, liberty, free expression, and decency, often at great personal sacrifice.
Free Republic must never go away. Tell us what we have to do, and we will do it.
You have my complete support. Not one of your detractors is man enough to take your place. You and Free Republic are an irreplaceable force for conservatism in America.
May God bless and prosper you always!
For me, I'd be happy with a slow connection that timed out or only let me in for 10 minutes every X hours. Or some crazy formula like that. Then if something came up like the impeachment deal or Florida tries to steal the election--then I'd gladly pay for more service that month. And obviously you can set up better deals for those that pay yearly.
Jim, I'd like to see FR grow as a broad-based, freedom-loving, conservative activist organization. Among other things this could assist in raising the funds necessary to maintain and grow this site. FReegards.
Seriously, I would be in a major news deficit without this site. I know I have friends, and brothers, here that I would miss, so whatever I can contribute, I will glady give.
Hey, you just might be on to something there!
Also, maybe FR can charge a fee for each vanity thread, or any thread that starts with Cheese, Moose, TouristGuy, Ted Nugent or George Carlin.
Please keep FreeRepublic up and running!
The difference is that now I have the facts and education provided by FR to back up what I have felt all along. They have neither, only their "feelings" which we all know change by the minute.
My husband says he enjoys hearing what I've learned from spending so much time on this forum and that I'm so interesting to talk to when I talk about politics. Of course I never go to bed at the same time as him anymore, he's not real happy about that ; )
He even finds himself quoting me to co-workers and is amazed when they say "Wow, I've never heard that before" or "I never thought about it that way".
I would be lost without my fix of FReep every day. Because of FR I've become more politically active and have protested for what is right and what I believe in, before I found FR I truly (sad to say) hadn't given a lot of thought to what I believe.
I don't EVER want FR to go away. I'm grooming my kids to be FReepers some day.
I will be putting another check in the mail this week to help FR to stay alive.
Thank you for all you do Jim and John, I hope to meet you some day. I can't imagine what a tiring, thankless job you have. You are doing a GREAT job, keep it up.
Seriously, if expenses exceed revenues/donations, charge people. I have made donations, but would be happy to pay a reasonable monthly fee.
How's $1,000,000? (Just going by what it's worth to me!)
That way, nobody could claim the Robinson brothers were ripping anyone off. Not that I think they do-- I would venture that most of those who make such claims have never contributed a plug nickel to keep this board.
The enemies you've made mostly read like a Who's Who in Scatology and you can be proud of the list. Every now and then, someone gets bounced off the board who shouldn't or gets their tail feather ruffled. Rather than working it out like civilized people, unfortunately some of them prefer to go ballastic. This isn't your problem, it's theirs.
A wise old Oriental gentleman told me:
He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, for they have made an enemy needlessly in their own mind.
He who takes offense when offense is intended is an even greater fool, for he has given their enemy satisfaction.
That having been said, let me say that the greatest value of Free Republic is research-- many of the original web-sites take down their articles after only a few weeks or even days. We have some very knowledgeable people on this board whose brains aren't easily picked anywhere else.
you got handcuffs??
Thanks, Jim, for all you & yours do.
Yes, anyone not interested in these things CAN ignore them. Since you have posted how much bandwidth costs, I am posting this reply, as a suggestion on how to cut costs , and still keep FR vital, important, and on line.
I for one can't express what Free Republic has meant to me over the years. I am very grateful to you for going to all the trouble and heartache that you have gone though to keep this site on the web. I LOVE YOU.
I nearly had a seizure when I read this. . .
Someone mentioned Free Republic being like Paul Revere and that's just how I see it. Except Paul Revere goes by several names, JH2 and Kattracks just to name a couple.
FreeRepublic...We Have Assumed Control...We Are In Control.
We've got a war on, and the family you've created is more important than ever.
I'll up my ante to stay in this game. It's the only one worth playing.
Yes. Select "Donate by secure credit card" on the FR HomePage, and choose "monthly" as your gifting selection. I have used this arrangement for... more than a year now, at least... and have never had a single problem with the monthly credit card debiting-arrangement.
If you can commit even $10 a month to FreeRepublic, this will cover $120 per year of Jim's Costs.
Of course, if you feel that FReeRepublic is worth more than $10 a month to you... feel free to give more.
The Orthodox Presbyterian
Maybe some donations could be had for banning certain posters... make people outbid their 'enemies' in order to reinstate their account.
A Banning Auction... ; D
I'll give you my donation in person on Saturday.
As far as the detractors, give 'em a raspberry, this Internet thing must be working.