After months of planning the first issue of Tokyo Classified is published. Mark designs and lays out the magazine while Mary sells the ads. Classified ads are collected from various noticeboards throughout Tokyo and through a Macintosh-based voicemail system linked to a premium-rate telephone line. The four-page sheet is handed out in about 15 locations where foreigners hang out by a “target team”. Mary:
There was just no information in English.
Japan Today is launched as a rival to Japan’s English language newspapers. Over the next year the site will become the most popular news site about Japan in the world, regularly hovering around the top 5000 sites in the world. Japan Today is the first news site in the world to have reader comments directly under the news articles. Before then the readers had always been forced into the forum area of the site.
In 2001, Tokyo Classified had grown to 48 pages/week and was renamed Metropolis. More information was added about Tokyo entertainment and lifestyle. A quarterly city guide for tourists was added.
The Devlins start Kroaky’s, a private room karaoke club. Private karaoke rooms, or “karaoke box” are a popular concept in Asia and there are a handful of places in America’s larger cities. Kroaky’s is the only such club in a small city. The Sarasota store is to be a model for a franchise business that will take the private room karaoke concept across the U.S. After a few months a public lounge is added.
Mark creates Sweepr, an iPhone game (currently not available).
WeCheck launches officially just after Barack Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention. At this point the site is made up of speeches that are tagged with “WeCheck” tags, which highlight claims, logical fallacies and inconsistencies in the text. The site runs on MediaWiki software, the same software that Wikipedia uses.
As the election gets nearer the site focuses more on providing a neutral playing field where people of all political persuasions can come together to fact check politicians and pundits — a kind of Wikipedia for fact checks.
The site also includes a Fact Check Watch section which highlights the bias of “fact-checking” sites such as Politifact and The Washington Post fact checkers.
The Newslines Rewards program starts, offering writers $1 per approved post. Writers can apply by filling in the form on the Newslines Rewards page. Posts are paid in PayPal, with Bitcoin payments coming within the week.
Newslines reaches 15,000 approved posts, with 250-450 posts being approved daily. The largest number of approved posts in one day was 533. The site has over 400 writers on its waiting list.
The $1-per-post program finishes. Since May, 2014, Newslines writers added over 26,000 posts and received over $26,000 in rewards. The first part of Newslines’ revenue-share system — a system that allows qualified writers to become editors and to be paid for their edits — has been completed. The second stage of the system — which calculates the revenue share amounts for each post – is currently being programmed and is due for official release by the end of January.