2007 Annual Report



Dear Visitor,

2007 was another year of solid achievement for ProCon.org.

Thanks to our visitors for their continued interest in the information we supply, and thanks to our technical staff, researchers, management, board members, sources, critics, media members, and everyone else who helped our organization grow and develop easy to read, comprehensive, and balanced information to some of today's controversial issues.

Some of our 2007 accomplishments include:




2007 - Steven C. Markoff, Chairman

  1. Traffic: ProCon.org websites received 3,554,575 sessions in 2007 compared to 2,182,575 sessions in 2006 – a 61% increase. Our websites have received a total number of 8,107,969 sessions since the organization’s formal inception on August 1, 2004. All of our websites had overall traffic increases in 2007.

     

      1. The largest traffic increase was Voting Machines ProCon.org (31,002 sessions in 2006 vs. 86,825 sessions in 2007 – a 180% increase)
      2. The smallest increase was at Israeli-Palestinian ProCon.org, which had 446,958 sessions in 2006 compared to 477,342 sessions in 2007 – a 6.7% increase.
      3. Traffic Chart:
Total Sessions (date website launched)
WEBSITE
(Alphabetical order with parent
site first and archived sites last)
2004
2005
2006
2007
ProCon.org[Parent Site]
(www.ProCon.org)
72,124 65,923 222,011 347,241
2008 Election
(www.2008ElectionProCon.org)
-- -- -- 22,353
(12-12-07)
ACLU
(ACLU.ProCon.org)
83,886 51,170 183,536 348,068
Born Gay?
(BornGay.ProCon.org)
113,100 111,991 170,610 265,303
Euthanasia
(Euthanasia.ProCon.org)
-- -- -- 285,313
(1-8-07)
Felon Voting
(FelonVoting.ProCon.org)
-- -- -- 41,596
(5-1-07)
Illegal Immigration
(ImmigrationProCon.org)
-- -- -- 15,465
(11-26-07)
Israeli - Palestinian
(IsraeliPalestinian.ProCon.org)
67,161 275,957 446,958 477,342
Medical Marijuana
(MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org)
301,337 481,500 618,002 774,851
Milk
(Milk.ProCon.org)
-- -- -- 29,427
(9-28-07)
Prostitution
(Prostitution.ProCon.org)
-- -- -- 151,660
(5-14-07)
Under God
(UnderGod.ProCon.org)
49,384 158,720 149,094 249,351
U.S. - Iraq
(USIraq.ProCon.org)
136,355 347,451 315,873 401,776
Voting Machines
(VotingMachines.ProCon.org)
-- -- 31,002
(5-23-06)
86,825
Nuclear Power
(www.NuclearPowerProCon.org)

[Archived - no longer updated]
6,354 15,232 32,627 41,658
Rose Bird
(www.RoseBirdProCon.org)

[Archived - no longer updated]
5,462 9,668 12,862 16,346
TOTALS
835,163 1,517,611 2,182,575 3,554,575
% Increase Over Previous Year
- 82% 44% 61%
*A session is any 30-minute or less period of time in which an individual IP address accesses one or more files from one ProCon.org website. This definition of a "session" comes from Urchin (now owned by Google) – the software program used to track our website traffic as of Dec. 5, 2006.

  1. Staff: Our organization ended 2007 with a full-time staff of ten, up one person from a full-time staff of nine at the end of 2006. Our staff includes
    seven researchers, one IT Manager, one Managing Editor, and me, our Chairman.

    ProCon.org held its 100th weekly staff meeting on Jan. 27, 2007. These weekly staff meetings remain excellent forums for our staff to exchange ideas, news, site progress, and statistics.

     


  2. Board of Directors: ProCon.org's Board remained the same during 2007: Jadwiga Markoff, MD, PhD, John Kurtz, JD, and Stan Shimohara, JD, CPA, MBA. I continued as Chairman.


      
  3. New Websites, New Questions, and Improved Content: During 2007 we added six new "issue" websites, a record! We also added 277 new questions to our websites, and we made improvements and updates to about 130 questions on our sites.

    1. On Jan. 8, 2007, ProCon.org launched the website Euthanasia ProCon.org to explore the question "Should euthanasia be legal?" The website was the subject of a radio interview at CFRO 102.7 FM in Vancouver, Canada on Jan. 29, 2007. The radio host said on air that she loved ProCon.org and that instead of using Google to learn about an issue she visits our site instead. She described our staff as a "dream team" of research talent.

      The site received 285,313 sessions in 2007 making it our sixth most popular website that year.

    2. On May 1, 2007, we launched the website Felon Voting ProCon.org to explore the question 'Should felons be allowed to vote?' It was referenced on May 4, 2007 in the Drug War Chronicle, a leading drug policy newsletter. The publication stated:
      "ProCon.org launched FelonVotingProCon.org, exploring the issue of felony disenfranchisement featuring comprehensive comments from over 80 pro and con politicians, scholars, judges, activists and other experts."
      The site received 41,596 sessions making it the 12th most popular of our 16 websites in 2007.
    3. On May 14, 2007, we launched Prostitution ProCon.org to explore the question "Should prostitution be legal?" The website became our 9th most popular website that year with 249,351 sessions.
    4. On Sep. 28, 2007, we launched Milk ProCon.org to explore the question "Is drinking milk healthy for humans?" The website was featured by the Central Valley Business Times and Dairy Field, a dairy industry publication, whose editor wrote:
      "A casual journey through the site reveals that the pros and cons are pretty evenly matched, though I think pro-dairy holds a slight edge. In any case, I find MilkProCon.org to be a useful educational tool."
      The website received 29,427 sessions in 2007.
    5. On Nov. 26, 2007, we launched Immigration ProCon.org to explore the question "What are the solutions to illegal immigration in America?" The website was referenced by the Houston Chronicle, the nation’s 9th largest newspaper, which stated "...here’s a Web site you’ll just love." They also called us "balanced", "simple," and "insightful."

      The website received 15,465 sessions in 2007.

    6. On Dec. 12, 2007, we launched 2008 Election ProCon.org marking our first foray into election politics. The site researched all the presidential candidates and their views on dozens of controversial issues. The website was referenced on XM Radio’s 1600 program when the host, Rebecca Roberts of NPR and PRI fame, interviewed Managing Editor, Kamy Akhavan, about the website. The site received a whopping 22,353 sessions in under two weeks of the normally low traffic holiday season, and it appears likely to be among our top viewer attractions in 2008.

  4. In the News: ProCon.org had 16 references in the media during 2007 (compared to 17 in 2006). The references started in January 2007 when we were interviewed on CFRO 102.7 FM in Vancouver, Canada, about Euthanasia. Throughout the year we participated in five radio interviews (AM, FM, and online stations), one television appearance (LATV), and we were referenced by the BBC website, the Congressional Research Service, the Houston Chronicle, Medical News Today, the Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), and several other newspapers and magazines.

     


  5. VIP Correspondence: We've received beneficial feedback and/or content from many VIPs and well-known organizations. Here’s a random sample (in alphabetical order):

     

    • Virginia Deane Abernethy (Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Anthropology at Vanderbilt University)
    • Priscilla Alexander (Director of Research, Foundation for Research on Sexually Transmitted Disease)
    • Dr. Jen Bacon (Associate Professor of Rhetoric, West Chester University)
    • Ran Baratz (Fellow, Shalem Center's Institute for Philosophy, Politics and Religion)
    • Dr. Neal Barnard (Founder and President, Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine - PCRM)
    • Dr. Mike Barrows (Director, Christian Medical and Dental Association)
    • Doug Brooks (Founder and President, International Peace Operations Association – IPOA)
    • Chandler Burr (Staff Writer, New York Times)
    • California Police Chiefs Association
    • Mike Carter (Staff Writer, Seattle Times)
    • Dr. Kenneth Cauthen (John Price Crozer Griffith Professor Emeritus of Theology at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School)
    • Center for Media and Democracy
    • Steve Chapman (Columnist, Chicago Tribune)
    • Dr. David Cook (Professor of Religious Studies, Rice University)
    • Jim Cousins (Founder, MyWarTax.org)
    • Roger Daniels (Charles Phelps Taft Professor Emeritus, History of Modern United States, Immigration, and Asian Americans, University of Cincinnati)
    • Karla Dial (Managing Editor, School Reform News, The Heartland Institute)
    • Dr. Martin Donohoe (Chief Science Advisor, Campaign for Safe Food, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility)
    • Mark Eddy (Specialist in Illicit Drug Control Policy, Congressional Research Service)
    • Dr. Peter Elwood (Professor of Epidemiology at Cardiff University)
    • Louay Fatoohi (UK-based Arabic physicist and Koranic scholar)
    • Dr. James Fowler (Professor of Political Science at UC Davis)
    • Dr. Shimon Glick (Medical Doctor, Department of Medicine, Soroka University Medical Center and the Faculty of Medicine, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel)
    • Dr. Otis Graham (Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara)
    • International Dairy Farmers Association
    • Dr. David Jaeger (Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the College of William and Mary)
    • Dr. Alexander Keyssar (Professor of History and Social Policy, Harvard University)
    • Sgt. Sky Laron (Media Escort, CENTCOM)
    • Francine Lipman (Professor of Law, Business and Economics at Chapman University)
    • B. Lindsey Lowell (Director of Policy Studies of Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University)
    • David Matz (Director of the Graduate Program in Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts/Boston)
    • Marc Mauer (Executive Director, The Sentencing Project)
    • Gillian Metzger (Professor of Law, Columbia University)
    • National Dairy Council
    • Toby Nixon (former Washington State Representative)
    • Dr. Joseph Rey (Honorary Professor in the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Sydney)
    • Veronique Rodman (Public Relations Manager, American Enterprise Institute)
    • Dr. Peter Rogatz (Vice-President of Compassion and Choices of New York)
    • Dr. Brandon Rottinghaus (Director, Bureau of Public Affairs Research, University of Idaho)
    • Dr. Stephen Schooner (Professor of Law, George Washington University)
    • Dr. John Scott (Editor, Journal of Sociology)
    • Yoram Schweitzer (Head of LABAT Strategic Consulting)
    • Alan Simpson (former U.S. Senator from Wyoming)
    • Peter Singer (Senior Fellow and Foreign Policy Studies Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution)
    • Booker T. Stallworth (Senior Advisor, Mississippi Center for Public Policy)
    • Khaled Abu Toameh (West Bank and Gaza correspondent for the Jerusalem Post)
    • Urban Institute
    • Dr. Stephen Walt (Academic Dean, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)
    • David Willman (Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times)
    • Dr. Michael Zemel (Director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee)

  6. ProCon.org in the Classroom: ProCon measures its success in traffic and relevance. Our relevance took a major step forward in 2007 with the addition of our "ProCon.org in the Classroom" page. We found 113 schools in 33 states and 4 countries that referenced ProCon.org websites in their educational materials. We created an online presentation of these educational references along with links to the original documents so educators could learn about ways to incorporate ProCon.org content into their teachings.

     


  7. ProCon.org in Print:The Westside Chronicle, a weekly newspaper based in Los Angeles, CA, in several of its editions, published weekly ProCon.org presentations on a subject, each containing three pros, three cons, and two "Did You Know?" facts from our websites. This marked our entry into print media, however the newspaper eventually closed its doors in 2007, and our print run ended -- at least until we explore this delivery mechanism again.

     


  8. Fundraising:

     

    1. We applied for 501c3 exemption status with the IRS on June 28, 2005 and finally received the exemption on March 30, 2007 (21 months later).
    2. As a result of receiving our 501c3 status, we submitted letters of inquiry and grant proposals to several foundations. We hired Jill Bailin as our fundraising consultant in mid-October 2007 to facilitate ProCon.org’s grantsmanship efforts. The Joseph Drown Foundation gave us $10,000, and we received several other donations over $5,000.
    3. We added an online donation feature to our websites and a line to all our outbound correspondence stating the following: "ProCon.org is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit charity. To support our efforts with a tax-deductible donation, please click here." The link goes to our donations page.

  9. Reader Comments Pro & Con:Over 95% of the reader comments we received were favorable or neutral to our overall efforts. Below you'll find a sample of comments from some of our more enthusiastic supporters and detractors.

    1. Pro:
    • "I think what Procon does is fantastic, I really do and I think what I really liked since I first found out about it was the public education angle that it has - mainly because informative/educational work is my main focus when it comes to writing my articles and producing the radio program: to show people all sides of the story and let them decide what they think instead of telling them 'how' to read the story. I think procon does just that which is simply great!"
      Yasaman Azarpajouh, Canadian Television Inc., 1/17/07

    • "[ProCon.org] is the best concentration of facts that I've been able to find on these subjects. Thank you for the enormous effort it must have taken. Your effort to put 'balance' into internet research is what sets you apart from, and above, the rest of the crowd. I thank you profusely (and do feel free to use that quote)."
      Randy Frazier, motivational speaker and Arkansas park ranger, 3/15/07

    • "I came across your site linked from a Chicago Times sidebar. I am very impressed with the fact that a site like this actually exists. I'm a Christian, so naturally I have my own perspective on things, but I am very, very pro-critical thinking, and I believe a site like yours helps people cut through the crap and clutter of political correctness. Keep up the good work!!!"
      Andy, 6/12/07

    • "I like the concept and content of your website because it stimulates critical thinking, the bread and butter of culture and civilization."
      Adrian 9/20/07

    • "I have used your site [Medical Marijuana ProCon.org] for two different classes this semester. Your site was definitely the best I have found as far as online resources go. I used this site for my speech class (I did a persuasive speech) as well as for my philosophy class (Is marijuana use ethical?) I received "A's" on both. And thank you for the other interesting sites!"
      Alyssa, student at Notre Dame College, 11/14/07

    • "I greatly appreciate the work of ProCon in general. I am a graduate student of international political economy at The Fletcher School at Tufts University in Medford, MA (USA) and am preparing a case study about prostitution, human trafficking and the World Cup 2010 (South Africa). I would like to include (with citation) the table located on [International Laws]. The work ... is being presented to a group of about 75 students... I will be sure to let other people know about the fabulous service provided by ProCon."
      Elizabeth 11/27/07

    • "Bravo. A historic first. [You] deserve a medal for 'The Office of Information.' Never before have the people of the U.S. and the world, at the touch of a button, have available to them unbiased, concise, verified information of candidates involved in a U.S. presidential election. Like the 'Oscars,' if awards were given for outstanding public service on the internet, you would be a shoo-in."
      Morrie, 12/16/07


    2. Con
    • "I don't believe, as you state, that you are presenting a ‘nonpartisan pro-con format’ on the issue of homosexuality. If you were, you would not only have a section dedicated to ‘changing sexual orientation’ but also to accepting it. Throughout, under a guise of objectivity, one can feet your bias. You don't think homosexuality is a good thing. Therefore you lie."
      Daniel, 1/9/07

    • "This whole site is definitely NOT UNBIASED. You are a sneaky, 'come in the backdoor' liberals that want to make the conservative view look weak and/or emotional - your choice of quotes are carefully chosen to do just this. You should be ashamed of lying and calling yourself a non-profit organization - you just profit in propaganda. You are shameful!!"
      Anonymous, 3/07/07

    • "Pro-Con - Irrelevant! We are IN a war, so to discuss if/why is irrelevant. Our job now is to win - not settle for less... I am tired of the liberal BS that tries to make me and my fellow citizens that we should somehow be tolerant and think kindly towards the terrorists. Enough!"
      James, 5/7/07


  10. Linked Sites: At the end of 2007, there were 40,197 other websites that linked to ProCon.org websites and 15,590 such links at the end of 2006.

     


  11. Financials: 2004-2007 Financial Information for ProCon.org:

A. 2007 Financial Summary

 

In 2007 ProCon.org received total gross income from donations of $653,717 up from $516,726 in 2006. Of our $611,869 in 2007 expenses, $561,912 (91.8%) was spent on program services, $37,639 (6.2%) on management and general expenses, and $12,318 (2.0%) on fundraising expenses. ProCon.org operates with such a high percentage of its expenditures in program services for several reasons including: we pay no rent, we incur no accounting expenses, we spend small amounts to yield large amounts of funds raised, our operation is remarkably efficient, and our Chairman has refused a salary since we started.

 

B. Detailed Chart of Financial Data, 2004 – 2007

 



For the 12 Months
Ending Dec. 31, 2007
% of Total For the 12 Months
Ending Dec. 31, 2006
% of Total For the 12 Months
Ending Dec. 31, 2005
% of Total For the 6 Months
Ending Dec. 31, 2004
% of Total
1. Fundraising:

- Total Contributions (Unrestricted) $ 725,245 100% $ 516,726 100% $ 373,120 100% $ 86,326 100%

- Total $ 725,245 100% $ 516,726 100% $ 373,120 100% $ 86,326 100%
2. Efficiency of Expenditures:

- Program Services Expenditures* $ 620,836 91.0% $ 496,436 91.4% $ 319,027 92.2% $ 77,629 90.4%

- Management and General Expenses** $ 42,674 6.3% $ 32,512 6.0% $ 27,128 7.8% $ 8,173 9.6%

- Fundraising Expenses $ 18,541 2.7% $ 14,000 2.6% 0 0 0 0

- Total $ 682,051 100% $ 542,948 100% $ 346,155 100% $ 85,802 100%
3. Excess <Deficit> of Operating Revenue
over <under> Expenses:

$ 43,194

-

<$26,222>

-

$ 26,965

-

$ 525

-


4. Balance Sheet: as of 12/31/07 as of 12/31/06 as of 12/31/05 as of 12/31/04

Assets:

- Cash and Cash Equivalents $ 74,599 - $ 17,183 - $ 33,746 - $ 534 -

- Receivables $ 3,200 - $ 2,720 - 2,098 - 0 -

- Total Assets $ 79,799 - $ 19,903 - $ 35,844 - $ 534 -

Liabilities:

- Payables and Accrued Expenses $ 35,337 - $ 18,636 - $ 8,354 - $ 10 -

- Total Liabilities $ 35,337 - $ 18,636 - $ 8,354 - $ 10 -

Equity:

- Net Worth $ 44,462 - $ 1,268 - $ 27,489 - $ 525 -

Total Liabilities and Net Worth $ 79,799 - $ 19,903 - $ 35,844 - $ 534 -

 


 

As always, we appreciate feedback from our visitors and friends. Please Contact Us any time you wish to share any thoughts or suggestions that could make ProCon.org even better. My thanks again to everyone who helped us achieve so much in 2007.

Sincerely,

Steven Markoff
Chairman, ProCon.org

P.S. If you like our sites, please tell your friends.