We are not being paid by the advertisers you see and are not responsible for them

A note regarding the three ads on your home page in ThisCantBeHappening!

ThisCantBeHappening! is a collectively owned and run news site. The eight members of the collective do our work virtually for free, depending for support from you, the reader. Most of you readers don’t bother to support us.

We do not copyright our work the way most sites do, and instead allow other news sites to run our pieces for free, although we ask that they list the source and the URL of our site as the original publisher, and urge them, if possible, to simply run the first quarter of a TCBH! piece with a link to our site for the full story. Some do it, some don’t. (The only exception is NationofChange.org which kindly pays us a $20 reuse fee for each of our pieces that they run, for which we are grateful.)

Anyhow, regarding those ads. Over the course of a year, we receive about $1000 from Google for those three ads — a few pennies for each time an ad appears on your screen, and slightly more if the add is clicked on. But — and this is important — none of those ads are determined or selected by us. Unless you have opted out of interest-based advertising, blocked third-party cookies on your browsers and blocked other sites from tracing your searches, the ads that you see on our site are only appearing on your own computer, and are based upon your own browsing and purchase history or on the subject of stories you are reading.

If you get an ad for Trump’s campaign, it is perhaps because you read a story about Trump (which on our site would have been critical). If you see an add for the NRA, it is likely because you read an article about guns or gun regulation. Either that or, if you have blocked tracing and third-party cookies, you simply received an ad sent out randomly by Google. You might get and ad for hand lotion, and ad for an AR-15 assault rifle and an ad for men’s Pampers on the same page.  Looking at the site on my page right now, I see two separate ads for masks, and one for a room-cooling device.

Either way we have nothing to do with with you  see on the page while we’re seeing those three ads.

We’re writing this note because we just received a snarky letter of criticism today from a righteously annoyed reader scolding us and saying, “You’re asking for donations from progressives while accepting advertisements for the NRA? Really?!”

We checked, and it appears that the offended writer is neither a subscriber to our free publication, nor a donor to our efforts. It’s frustrating to have someone who reads the site but makes no effort to support it feel so offended to think we would appear to be running reactionary advertising, but in any event we wanted to clarify for all our readers, including those of you who do support us financially that our actual ad policy prevents us from paying for individual ads.

Here is our policy: We don’t want to receive payment from any particular advertiser because, frankly, there are so many enterprises and not-for-profit groups that we could not support for political reasons — supporting the war machine, bad labor practices, ecological damage, etc — and we don’t have the time or expertise to research any company before accepting its ads. Nor do we have the time or inclination to be ad-sales people. We are journalists. So we just do not accept any ads, regardless of how much they want to pay to be on the site.

So don’t blame us for what you see in those three little spaces in the right-hand column. And if you really care about the site, please consider making a donation to support us.

As we have repeatedly told our readers, given that we have over a thousand of you who are regulars who visit the site weekly, and tens of thousands who are occasional readers, if each of you would just send us $5 a year (the price of a couple of cups of coffee, or just one cup if you buy the fancier drinks), we’d have an annual  income of anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 collectively or  about $1250 to $12,500 each to support our work. If we had that kind of money we could do much more original reporting — and we wouldn’t even need Google interest-based ads on the site!

So please, if you are a reader — regular or occasional — and if you appreciate what we do, consider making a small annual, or if you can afford it, a monthly donation to support us.

And please don’t blame us for the ads you see on the site. We have nothing to do with them, and truth be told, if you aren’t blocking cookies and tracing, and you don’t like what you’re seeing, what you are seeing there is your own fault.