Snopes, the fact-checking website that once focused on debunking flimsy internet rumors but has expanded into a 16-person operation that calls out political leaders for dishonesty, is locked in a legal battle that it says has drained the money it needs to survive.
The site, which gets all of its revenue from advertising, created a crowdfunding page on Monday, raising $500,000 from readers in one day to remain operational indefinitely. It says that Proper Media, the vendor that runs its advertising services, has withheld the site’s revenue and has refused to relinquish control of the site. That leaves Bardav — the company that owns and operates Snopes — with no way of moving the site to a new host or installing its own ads, said David Mikkelson, a founder of the site.
“We have had no income whatsoever for the last several months,” Mr. Mikkelson said in an interview on Monday.
When asked how long the site could last without a successful fund-raising drive or legal victory, Mr. Mikkelson responded: “Not a whole lot longer.”