2023 Year-end update

The last year was another difficult year in the world of journalism. We saw that first-hand because a number of our members are associations of publishers, and they had to make adjustments to their trust.txt files.

Still, it was a positive year for JournalList as we saw significant growth in the number of associations and publishers that joined and started publishing their own trust.txt files.

JournalList has always had a classic problem for any new idea, the chicken-egg problem: It will be useful when everyone uses it, but a lot of people don’t want to do it until it is useful.

But the fact that the organization has been around for nearly four years now and that there has been a steady growth in the adoption of this idea is beginning to take root and blossom.

This graphic can be a bit overwhelming, but the way we think of it here is that this is how robots see the internet. The more dots and the more lines, the more information the robots of the internet can figure out networks of trust, which in turn can be helpful in presenting to humans trustworthy information.

Here is that graph. In short, the total number of URLs found in trust.txt files grew from about 3,000 at the start of the year to more than 4,000 by the end of the year. (That image is based on a web crawl of the entire web.)

This is great growth, but we think with the attention being paid to trust on the internet that our growth will be even stronger in 2024. It clearly is more needed than ever.