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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Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

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Wow.

I can see the good and bad side of this.
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Sorry to hear that.
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Lmao
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This is unfortunate. TWC hasn't presented quality weather and science information in a long time.
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Congratulations, a new chapter of Wunderground begins.
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... So this is what it was like when segregation was banned .....
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I don't know what to think ... if Wunderground stays the same when it comes to user participation it is fine with me.
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Wow. Congrats Dr. M and Company. Downside is a lot more traffic on this blog in the future......Yuck.


A LOT MORE TRAFFIC
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Congratulations for this success story.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
I sure hope and pray that there aren't too many negative changes. Its been quite some time since I associated TWC with anything positive. :/
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Wow. Congrats Dr. M and Company. Downside is a lot more traffic on this blog in the future......Yuck.
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Congratulations to all of the founders on the sale of the organization. I hope that the synergy is great, and not what I fear. Nonetheless, congrats again on the sale.
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Good luck in this new venture. Should allow some good weather analysis & data for everybody to share
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Bummer.
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Congratulations!! I've been a fan of both companies since the start and am very excited to see what will come of this announcement :) I'm most happy about this statement though:

"The Weather Channel is committed to keeping the Weather Underground brand and the web site in its current form."

:) :)
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Quoting dakine2004:
Wow - the way folks on here 'dog' The Weather Channel = should be interesting....
Moderators.
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Congratulations Dr.
Best of luck.
You're going to need a good financial advisor I imagine.
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i sure as heck hope this is good news Dr. M.. i've not witnessed anything good come out of the TWCC yet.. i'm not really all that excited, and don't see much room for improvement, as you and your constituents have done an OUTSTANDING JOB in my humble opinion..
i suspect the general opinion of this to be negative.. prove us wrong Doc!!
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The "Weather" Channel absolutely blows. Sad day indeed.
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OZ is streaming live from Co and showing tragic damage of houses with other media members


Link
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Thank you for the new blog Dr M
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Wow - the way folks on here 'dog' The Weather Channel = should be interesting....
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Sellouts
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It's all about the money, right!!!???!!!
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"Weather Channel, which has an audience about three times as large as wunderground's."

Gulp. Doc, does that mean we will have people comenting from TWC website? will we havee new members?

Maybe you will get featured on TV for your analysis!
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Well, I think TWC is being upgraded by WU joining with it, not the other way around. TWC is in the business for ratings, not a quality weather forecast. I'm glad WU will have more resources to accomplish its goals, but I fear a big change coming to this awesome blog.
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Oh my…

Hope WU doesn't turn out like some of my (formerly) favorite apps after Microsoft bought them out...
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Thank you Dr Masters for announcing the great news.
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NNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
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o.O

All I ask as a loyal user is that the focus remains on current weather. Not hype, not shows, and not talking heads. But current weather.
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Slowly rebuilding
I feel it in me
Growing in numbers
Growing in peace

People they come together
People they fall apart
No one can stop us now
'Cause we are all made of stars
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Well, the Weather Channel has gone to hell in a hand basket, how long before WU takes a dive??????
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Congrats guys!
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WOAH

dont know if im happy or sad about this
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Ah, the beginning...thanks Jeff
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Thank-you.
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.