After editing an article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune by Nicholas Kristof, Mark Devlin wonders if it would be possible to create a site that allows collaborative criticism of newspaper articles and commentary.
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.
Mark is interviewed about WeCheck. describing how the idea came to him when he annotated an editorial by Nicolas Kristof in the New York Times. The site is an online version of that manual process, allowing users to tag speeches and articles for common logical fallacies, and so dig deeper into the truth of political statements.
At first I wasn’t thinking ‘fact checking,’ I just wanted to find out whether it was true or not…I have good faith in the people. There’s enough people out there that are out to find the truth than for the political aspect.
As a way to better understand the conflicting stories around the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Mark starts 2012 Benghazi Attack Timeline. The page grows rapidly into the most comprehensive timeline of the attacks and moves up Google’s search engine results until it is the second link.
Mark makes a timeline for the David Petraeus Scandal, which grows to include pages about the people involved in the scandal. These pages are to become the start of WeCheck’s timelines.
After mysteriously dropping out of Google’s search results a week previously, Google’s “algorithm” reinstates the search engine result for 2012 Benghazi Attack resulting in 500 visitors/day coming to the site. Mark now moves to build the whole site around timelines, starting with John McAfee
Mark goes to Japan for six months in an effort to collect a debt. Newslines is put on hold.
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.
Newslines launches its revenue-share system. The system splits 50% of ad revenues on user-generated pages with the writers, editors who contributed to the site, and to those who invite other users to patrticipate. Writers receive 50-70% of revenues, editors receive 25-30% and networkers receive around 5%. It is the world’s first system to allow for payments for editing other contributors’ posts. Mark:
We hate that the people behind many large sites, and their investors, get rich off of the free work of their contributors. It’s not just that we think people should be paid for their work, we feel strongly that contributors who help build a business should get a share in the growth of the business too. We see our contributors as investors in growth. Just like an investor who has the potential to have a high return as a company grows, if you put an equivalent amount of work into building your portfolio of content, you can share in the rewards.
Newslines appears in a ZDNet article introducing different revenue-sharing sites, including Tsu.co, 3tags, Bitlanders, Bubblews and 8.
Are you getting bored with the same old social networks that take all of the revenue from your carefully crafted content? Have a look at these social networks that share revenue with content creators and pay you for your posts.
Newslines is chosen as one of two winners to enter Dell’s Entrepreneurial Growth Programme for Scottish Scale Ups Newslines and Ibis Vision, a company that has a new way to detect glaucoma, receive technology, training, mentorship and access to Dell events. Newslines CEO, Mark Devlin:
After many years overseas running successful media businesses, we recently came back to settle in Scotland. We know that we can unlock the potential in the new media landscape but need to tap into skills and networks within Scotland and beyond. Dell’s brand and scope gives us that additional ‘clout’ that we can’t achieve as a small scale-up.
Dell Scotland site lead, Mark White:
When we launched this programme we were confident that the Scottish scale-up environment was thriving. We were still pleasantly surprised at the quality and breadth of the entries, a testament to the future of Scottish industry. IbisVision and Newslines are very different companies but both are working in areas that are ready for disruption. We knew when we met with them that we could partner with them to help them thrive and I’m looking forward to working with them through the next year on our DellScotIgnite journey.
Newslines enters the Entrepreneurial Spark business accelerator program in the Glasgow “hatchery”.