Wunderground.com sold to The Weather Channel Companies

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:30 PM GMT on July 02, 2012

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It's true. After 17 years as an independent company, Weather Underground has been sold, and will now be part of The Weather Channel Companies (TWCC.) As one of the founders of Weather Underground, I am excited about embarking upon this new chapter in our company's history. Having the infrastructure, resources, and content of The Weather Channel Companies will enable wunderground to create some great new products, and improve the quality and reliability of our existing content. We will now be called Weather Underground, LLC, and will maintain the wunderground.com web site as it is.


Figure 1. The original seven founders of wunderground.com, plus our first employee, circa 1998. In front, from left to right: Chris Schwerzler, Jeff Masters, Jeff Ferguson. In back: Dave Brooks, Alan Steremberg, Perry Samson, Chuck Prewitt, and Mike MacDonald.

The wild ride that began in 1995
Back in 1995, when the newly created commercial Internet put up for sale domains with a ".com" designation, and Weather Underground, Inc. became the world's first commercial weather web site, I could not have anticipated the wild ride that brought us to where we are at today. We registered the 2,000th domain ever taken, "wunderground.com", in 1995, missing registering "weather.com " by a month. Later that year, a group of executives from The Weather Channel visited us in Ann Arbor, inquiring on how we might work together. No sale resulted, but over the years, The Weather Channel and Weather Underground have had a number of meetings to discuss a possible merger. Many other companies have inquired about buying us, but we have always opted to stay independent, in order to nurture our creative, alternative weather web site and keep breaking new ground. The company's growth was slow at first, since we never took venture capital money. We grew from 6 employees in 1999 to 20 in 2009. But in the past three years, Weather Underground entered into a rapid period of growth that saw our staff more than double to 57 people. With a swelling user base around the globe, and with demands for our services to be made available across so many new digital platforms like mobile phones and tablets, the board recognized the need for an even greater injection of resources, and the decision was made to merge with The Weather Channel Companies.

How will the merger with The Weather Channel improve wunderground?
The Weather Channel is committed to keeping the Weather Underground brand and the web site in its current form. Weather Underground CEO Alan Steremberg will remain in charge, and our meteorologists and developers will continue to create the ground-breaking weather products that we're renowned for. The plan is to make both wunderground.com and weather.com stronger, by sharing content and infrastructure. Many Weather Underground features, such as our Personal Weather Station data, WunderMap, and my blog, are scheduled to also appear on the weather.com web site in the coming months. My blog's main home will continue to be wunderground.com, and I have been asked to continue to write the same variety of science-based posts on hurricanes, extreme weather, and climate change that I've provided since 2005. I enjoy communicating weather science, and am pleased I will be able to do this for both wunderground and The Weather Channel, which has an audience about three times as large as wunderground's.



Figure 2. One my favorite wunderphotos: a rainbow in Cyprus. With over 1.5 million wunderphotos uploaded, the wunderground community has helped make the web site far better than the employees could have done on their own.

For more information, see our press release, and WU meteorologist Shaun Tanner's blog.

Jeff Masters

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By 2016, this website will be renamed "Weatherverse" and I shall be the CEO, and run the blog into its grave!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
287. VR46L
Quoting NavarreMark:
Never been a big fan of TWC. Except for Stephanie of course. HeHeHeHe.

This marriage is bound to be as successful as the Facebook IPO. Oh well. Theres other places to blog on weather.


Yep there sure are ...even ones that you can have your own blog on similar to WU...
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


dude, everyone here said it was going to TX too so.
And btw, they are staying separate dont worry


I hope you are right. But, I bet you believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy too
Member Since: September 16, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1219
Quoting aerojad:
Is the lack of an informed public the fault of the public or the fault of the people supposedly informing them?


no people dont know how tall their house is, and dont pay attention to weather anyway, especially for TWC to teach them about storm surge.

Have you noticed what TWC teaches in their diagrams?
It is things like shear, etc, not more advanced stuff like the elevation of your house vs run or not.
If TWC showed the exact storm surge map and numbers, millions will still be saying, "so do i leave or not"
It is a totally different market.
You might follow weather, most people dont.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9770
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
In other news, the National Weather Service has launched the redesigned version of www.weather.gov.

Link


where is the flipping hurricanes link thats the only reason i use that site. mainly to post the CHART. ie i needed to post it after is said chart
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Quoting JBirdFireMedic:
Can we get this declared an Invest so we can get some good model forecasts on which direction wunderground is going?

LOL!
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It was a nice run, WU. I'll miss you.
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Quoting Patrap:
Masters/Cantore 2016?


Can see it...

"We'll go live to our meteorologists stationed in Mississippi and Louisiana. Jim Cantore is stationed in New Orleans, while the new addition to our team is Dr. Jeff Masters who is stationed in Biloxi. First we'll start with Dr. Masters who is on the beach in Biloxi."

Biloxi, MS


New Orleans, LA
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10285
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
In other news, the National Weather Service has launched the redesigned version of www.weather.gov.

Link


Please stay on topic! :)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 28086
I remember The Weather Channel inaugurating " A Flick and a Forecast" a few years back. While the feature was playing, a massive tornado outbreak, with loss of life was occuring in the upper Midwest. Then, it got worse, with the firings of Dave Schwartz and mny other luminaries...replaced by Al Roker et all.

How is this a good thing?

Worst news ever.
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Can we get this declared an Invest so we can get some good model forecasts on which direction wunderground is going?
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AL Roker: Be sure to check out Patrap's Mardi Gras Parade Weather entry on wunderground.com

With live PARADECAM too!

Back to you guy's in the Studio
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


for the average person

i told them to but the spc/nhc/etc links back on the side but they didnt listen.
and the sites for the individual WFOs still have the old format.
It looks lice, to me it will be harder to use.

It will be better for the average person.


They didn't do what you said to? Are you surprised?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Come on folks. Calm down. This is just like when the country started putting dials on the telephones, everybody went crazy. They said "We can't talk to an operator anymore" They thought it would ruin the communications systems. We all feel badly about this because it is unfamiliar to us and we are going into new territory. Start complaining "after" we see what changes we don't like.

Here Doc, this is from the blog and me.



Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 28086
Quoting Articuno:
Now we can't say WU is better then TWC because now WU is part of WU!
WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?


I still will....
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Are you kidding? The new interface is much easier to read and understand for the average person. It has nothing to do with the content.


for the average person

i told them to but the spc/nhc/etc links back on the side but they didnt listen.
and the sites for the individual WFOs still have the old format.
It looks lice, to me it will be harder to use.

It will be better for the average person.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9770
This merger is a WIN WIN for both..Dr. Masters will have an enormousness supply of resources now to do better things and TWC will also improve its quality of Weather providing.....WHO DOES NOT WIN! I don't give a crap about the stance one has on GW and the bias one way or the other!
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


the general public understands bad, worse, run for life.

Not 2ft, 6ft, 12ft
Is the lack of an informed public the fault of the public or the fault of the people supposedly informing them?
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Dr.Masters thank you for the update! Hopefully Angela and Keri stick around as well through the transition.
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dr m will the blogs be geting a face lift any time soon?
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


the general public understands bad, worse, run for life.

Not 2ft, 6ft, 12ft
exactly, very few people know the exact elevation of ther house, so a number wouldnt be very helpful, unless of course its blatent that your in Danger.
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The redesign of the NWS page is different, but very cool I like it.
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Over the last 4 years I have dealt closely with several of the WU staff and principals....without exception thay are some of the most decent people I know.
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10513
Quoting CosmicEvents:
Except they'll add the big BLOG NOW button on their site and this place will be swamped with new posters. The old guard and members will lose their influence amongst all the new members tweeting and such. Oh well, it's been fun, at times.
Hey, there's a perk!
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It's going bye-bye!
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Now we can't say WU is better then TWC because now WU is part of TWC!
WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
EVERYBODY:
keep calm and blog on


thank you.
Im getting the feeling that im talking above a bunch of screaming people here.

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9770
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


Now thats a bad move.
It is so hard to use.

It like TWC now XD


Are you kidding? The new interface is much easier to read and understand for the average person. It has nothing to do with the content.
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Are we free to write what we want in our blogs? And bash TWC openly???

Anyways, I think I'll be okay. I may not like TWC, but if this gives WU the funding they need, I can live with it....
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Quoting JeffMasters:


The mobile app issue has not been decided.

I am not going to be TWC hurricane specialist, or be doing any work for their cable channel this year, as it stands now.

The ads on weather.com and WU will be separate for now, we are maintaining two separate teams of ad sales people.

Accuweather was not really a concern. The size of our purchase was not large enough to be subject to antitrust law.

I am free to write what I want in my blog.

Jeff Masters


Will the TWC feature some of the WU blogs or blog comments like they do with twitter? because we make the twitter comments look foolish.

what are the main effects we should see?

Will people (the average joe) on the weather channel site be able to get a membership for this blog and comment From TWC site? If so should we expect a dramatic increase in A) trolls or B)new users.

Congratulations Thank you in advance for your answers should you choose to reply.

Wxh98
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Quoting Patrap:
Masters/Cantore 2016?


I'll second that!
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Holy moly. The NWS launched its new interface today as well. This conservative Mississippi boy can only take so much change before needing a shrink. LOL.

Link

You should get 'spell-check"
That should be 'drink'....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
In other news, the National Weather Service has launched the redesigned version of www.weather.gov.

Link


Now thats a bad move.
It is so hard to use.

It like TWC now XD
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9770
Will I be able to keep my No-Ads Paid Membership, including no ads for TWC programming and features?

I would gladly pay more to not to have to waste my precious bandwidth on all that noise.
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TWC is a joke. I hope this isn't the death of this site. More shows the weather. Kinda like MTV.
Sad
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EVERYBODY:
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3481
Quoting cynyc2:
Wow!!! I was falling a sleep in my chair when I refreshed the blog and WHAM!!! The word "Sold" shot right into my brain so hard that I was dazed.

I don't know if this is good or bad. I have been lurking around here since '04 or '05, so I, for one, will be sticking around for a while.

Congrats guys, keep your high standards intact, and we will stay with you.


traffic jams everywhere now, those stunned, out of control drivers .......
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9770
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
In other news, the National Weather Service has launched the redesigned version of www.weather.gov.

Link


Love it, Love it, Love it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The Weather Channel used to represent cutting edge weather information and had quality people presenting it. Since it was bought by NBC, it has turned into fluff (like Al Roker) and mindless dribble about idiots chasing tornadoes and flying airplanes in Alaska, solely for ratings. I call it the commercial channel, with intermittent weather. Sadly, now I expect WU to follow the same trend. It has been pulled into the corporate vortex and it's only a matter of time before it sinks into the mire.

I'll watch how it goes for a while, but if I feel it's not a quality product, I'll stop sending data.
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When I used to work late nights living in Seattle, I used to get home and watch TWC til I went to bed, especially for tropical season. I didn't come across this site until a few years ago when searching for weather web-cams to check weather before heading out to do my landscape photography.Once I looked around...thought I'd found tropical season heaven! So, good luck with it, and hope you manage to get what you need for it to grow without losing what makes it a brilliant site. All the best
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I am free to write what I want in my blog.

Awesome :)

And thanks again Dr M and the rest of the crew. While I am somewhat skeptical as well about what the future holds, I will also keep an open mind.
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The North Carolina Air Guard lost a C130 while fighting a fire in South Dakota. Three crew taken to hospital, no word on the three remaining crew members.
The AF has grounded all of their C130 used in fire fighting !
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Quoting JeffMasters:


The mobile app issue has not been decided.

I am not going to be TWC hurricane specialist, or be doing any work for their cable channel this year, as it stands now.

The ads on weather.com and WU will be separate for now, we are maintaining two separate teams of ad sales people.

Accuweather was not really a concern. The size of our purchase was not large enough to be subject to antitrust law.

I am free to write what I want in my blog.

Jeff Masters

Sounds good, for the time being.
I really hope you can ensure that this aspect of the new conglomerate will be maintained in the quality that you have insisted on all these past years.

Congratulations on the merger. Well done WU.
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Quoting weatherh98:


hardest thing ive said all day. I WILL TRY to be open minded.....




good, if you think about it, it isnt all that bad, after all, WU management agreed to it.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9770
Wow!!! I was falling a sleep in my chair when I refreshed the blog and WHAM!!! The word "Sold" shot right into my brain so hard that I was dazed.

I don't know if this is good or bad. I have been lurking around here since '04 or '05, so I, for one, will be sticking around for a while.

Congrats guys, keep your high standards intact, and we will stay with you.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Now that I am over the initial shock, frankly, it was probably inevitable. This is another example of where the commercial-corporate world has been heading over the last 30 years. Conglomerates taking over (with the little guys getting squeezed out) in retail (Wall Mart-Home Depot, etc.), agriculture (Con-Agra, etc,), banking (Bank of America, etc,) and Media (Comcast, Viacom, Universal, etc.). All roads leading up to the "top" somewhere........... Can't blame Dr. Master's for the corporate inevitability but I wonder if Wunderground could have held out a little bit longer (with the mom and pop feeling with the regular bloggers)if they had charged for blog participation which I gladly would have paid for.

Just like every hurricane season, it's a big wait and see at this point.........I will try to forget about the corporate reality for now and give it a chance but it will be tough.
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well, I'm gonna go dust off and mop out my Ignore list..

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A big congratulations for Dr Masters on the Merger with Weather.com. I have been on here for awhile & have learned a lot. I look forward to seeing many new changes in the weeks to come.
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Quoting aerojad:
I just remember back to last year and Hurricane Irene.

This site was giving out information - real information - about potential storm surge impact. Numbers and everything. The Weather Channel was throwing up graphics every three minutes with such detailed surge information as "bad", "more bad", and "run for hills". No detail, no precision, no indication of what various sea levels would cause what inundation. Just dumbed down below the lowest common denominator.

That's what I'm afraid of, more than anything, for this site. I come here for all the numbers a weather nerd can drown in. Not HypeCast5000, graphics package and all.


the general public understands bad, worse, run for life.

Not 2ft, 6ft, 12ft
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9770
Quoting JeffMasters:


The mobile app issue has not been decided.

I am not going to be TWC hurricane specialist, or be doing any work for their cable channel this year, as it stands now.

The ads on weather.com and WU will be separate for now, we are maintaining two separate teams of ad sales people.

Accuweather was not really a concern. The size of our purchase was not large enough to be subject to antitrust law.

I am free to write what I want in my blog.

Jeff Masters


Thank you. I am no longer upset, actually more of this is going to be a good thing. Good luck to you Dr. M. and the rest of the Wunderground team in this new era!
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3481

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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