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.
Sorry to hear that. These are not your friends, but your enemies.
Not to get on my soapbox about Linux not really being free, but the same arguments apply.
I'd be willing to pay more...Hell, AOL charges me 20 bucks a month!
We cannot afford to lose this vital information link until the terrorists have been eradicated.