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Monday, October 29, 2018

Herman Cain Sold Out To Western Journal

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - CainTV and KoopaTV started off at the same place. The destinations, though...

Once upon a time, in early 2012, businessman, Pokémon master, and failed Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain created a website called CainTV. CainTV featured weird family-friendly, Christian-friendly, and Republican-friendly videos that took too much production value to maintain, so CainTV was then relaunched in August 2012 as CainTV 2.0, a blog-based site with a rotating cast of columnists, the core of which are still around today. It fascinated all of us.

Once upon a time, in May of 2013, KoopaTV was born. Its introduction post format was pretty much copied from the CainTV 2.0 introduction post. The point of our site was to take CainTV and apply it to videogames, for fun. We tried to do that pretty closely. Eventually, Herman Cain took and redirected to that. I bought a year ago (much later than CainTV became but we keep that redirecting to I've done absolutely nothing with the domain and now they're asking me if I want to renew it. That's a discussion for the comments section.

Skip to September 2018. now redirects to, and displays the notice,
“Same, new home. We've partnered with The Western Journal to move to Same content, same attitude, same Herman Cain. ”
Western Journal is this right-wing clickbait site that Herman has been working with since September 2015, when he had his million-strong Facebook page suddenly start sharing Western Journal and Conservative Tribune articles, with headlines like, “Cop Orders Coffee From Dunkin' Donuts. After Leaving He Notices What's Written On The Cup...” He also recently made a fake Political Action Committee, America Fighting Back PAC, which is just a front for Western Journal. Throughout all of this, CainTV articles continue to be nice.

Here's what Herman Cain's site's articles now are like:

From Dan Calabrese's piece, “Coming in 2019: Democrats want to use debt ceiling showdown to force higher corporate, individual tax rates”

The editorial direction and writing style is still the same for everyone. The lack of QA is still there as well (Dan Calabrese, despite being Herman's editor, often makes typos in his articles). The layout is different, with contrived TRENDING notices in the middle of articles. However, now there is a disclaimer at the end of each article saying that the views of the author aren't necessarily shared by Western Journal. The site is covered with weird ads. And now every article has a poll embedded within the article that asks a hilariously stupid article-related leading question that gets you into Western Journal's e-mail list, which isn't a place where you want your e-mail address to be.

Now, the reason this happened to Herman Cain's publication is because of how Facebook (and other platforms) is rigging timelines and traffic away from smaller conservative-friendly places like his, and dare I say it, like KoopaTV. That, plus Herman Cain's declining radio show which was moved off the actual radiowaves and to a Facebook Live broadcast that reached significantly less people than ever before, meant that Cain's message was going nowhere. Being tied to social media for your site traffic does that. Rather than the 72-year old retiring (though his staffers are a generation or two younger), he consolidated with a much bigger player. (Western Journal is a top 1000 website.) He still does live broadcasts with himself, but now they're sponsored!

I gave all this story because it's interesting to see where our paths have went. KoopaTV is still KoopaTV. We're still independent. But we're quite a bit different than how we planned to be in 2013. (There's plenty of Early Installment Weirdness that you can see in May and June 2013 in terms of what we were saying the site features would be, like KoopaTV Radio and Kamek's daily news briefings.) And as I alluded to, we have been encountering many of the same discoverability issues from technology platforms that others are facing.

We intend to do something about it. No, there is no acquisition plan in the works. (Do you know of any outlets that would want to acquire KoopaTV...?) But we'll be going in a modified direction. Stay tuned for the newsletter later this week!

It's probable that Western Journal might have better-quality content and practices in 2018 than 2015, but Ludwig doubts it. Feel free to comment about anything Ludwig wrote about in this article, since there is a lot you can talk about and the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program Round 22 is going to end very soon.

Here is the modified direction discussed in the newsletter.
Herman Cain died in 2020.
After Herman Cain died, his site continued and was branded to The Cain Gang.
The Western Journal was key to The Cain Gang's content strategy, but it ruined Herman Cain's post-death legacy, so The Cain Gang was disbanded.

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