The snopes.com website was founded by David Mikkelson, who lives and works in the Los Angeles area. What he began in 1995 as an expression of his interest in researching urban legends has since grown into what is widely regarded by folklorists, journalists, and laypersons alike as one of the World Wide Web's essential resources. Snopes.com is routinely included in annual "Best of the Web" lists and has been the recipient of two Webby awards. The Mikkelsons have made multiple appearances as guests on national news programs such as 20/20, ABC World News, CNN Sunday Morning, and NPR's All Things Considered, and they and their work have been profiled in numerous major news publications, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and an April 2009 Reader's Digest feature ("The Rumor Detectives") published as part of that magazine's "Your America: Inspiring People and Stories" series.
With over 20 years' experience as a professional researcher and writer, David has created in snopes.com what has come to be regarded as an online touchstone of rumor research. The site's work has been described as painstaking, scholarly, and reliable, and has been lauded by the world's top folklorists, including Jan Harold Brunvand, Gary Alan Fine, and Patricia Turner. Hundreds of the site's articles have been cited by authors in a variety of disciplines (an October 2011 search of Google Books for such citations netted 6,230 results for Barbara Mikkelson alone), and various of their articles have been published in textbooks currently in use in the U.S. and Canadian school systems.
Because snopes.com is all about rumors, it was only a matter of time before rumors began to circulate about it and its operators, such as the following:
The snopes.com web site is (and always has been) a completely independent, self-sufficient entity wholly owned by its operators and funded through advertising revenues. Neither the site nor its operators has ever received monies from (or been engaged in any business or editorial relationship with), any sponsor, investor, partner, political party, religious group, business organization, government agency, or any other outside group or organization.
David Mikkelson's participation in U.S. politics has never extended beyond periodically exercising his civic duty at the ballot box.
As FactCheck confirmed in April 2009, David is a registered independent who has never donated to, or worked on behalf of, any political campaign or party. David is wholly apolitical, vastly preferring his quiet scholarly life in the company of his cats and chickens to any political considerations.