The university student launched his site in August and stopped updating it in order to focus on another, more successful site he has that's focused on health and well-being.He estimated there are "thousands" of health-related sites being run out of Veles.
"In Macedonia the economy is very weak and teenagers are not allowed to work, so we need to find creative ways to make some money. Here in Macedonia the revenue from a small site is enough to afford many things."Most of the posts on these sites are aggregated, or completely plagiarized, from fringe and right-wing sites in the US.
The Macedonians see a story elsewhere, write a sensationalized headline, and quickly post it to their site.
They almost all publish aggressively pro-Trump content aimed at conservatives and Trump supporters in the US.
The young Macedonians who run these sites say they don't care about Donald Trump.
They helped the baseless story generate over 140,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook.
Meanwhile, roughly 6,000 miles away in a small town in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a young man watched as money began trickling into his Google Ad Sense account.
(To put that into perspective, the New York Times' exclusive story that revealed Donald Trump declared a 6 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns generated a little more than 175,000 Facebook interactions in a month.)The viral Clinton story was sourced from The Rightists.com, a site that admits it publishes both real and fake content. Four of the five most successful posts from the Macedonian sites Buzz Feed News identified are false.
According to emails released by Wiki Leaks, Clinton said in a private speech to Goldman Sachs that she would like to see more successful business people enter politics. They include the false claim that the pope endorsed Trump, and the false claim that Mike Pence said Michelle Obama is the "most vulgar first lady we've ever had." Those four posts together generated more than 1 million shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook.
(The teens declined to share revenue figures.)The 17-year-old and his three partners are still waiting for Google's Ad Sense program to approve their site for ads.
As of now, they're only generating about 800 views a day and aren't earning any revenue.
For example, the most successful post Buzz Feed News found from a Macedonian site is based on a story from a fake news website.