Author Topic: WeatherBug, Earth Networks, WeatherMallard, and WeatherQuack  (Read 133 times)

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Offline mallardnathan

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WeatherBug, Earth Networks, WeatherMallard, and WeatherQuack
« on: March 18, 2017, 11:29:38 PM »
There's been a bunch of random information circulating around lately concerning WeatherBug, Earth Networks, WeatherMallard, and WeatherQuack, so I wanted to take a few minutes on WxForum to clarify some of the news that's been going around so you all know exactly what's been going on. I appreciate the WxForum community immensely and have communicated WeatherBug-related stuff with you all in the past, so this is the place where I want to officially summarize and clarify all what's been circulating around in the news.

WeatherBug:

Late last year, WeatherBug's former parent company (Earth Networks) sold the WeatherBug brand to another company (xAd). xAd is now responsible for development of WeatherBug.com, WeatherBug's desktop and mobile apps, as well as most other consumer-facing services under the WeatherBug brand.

PR's concerning xAd's acquisition of the WeatherBug brand are on the websites of Earth Networks and xAd.

From what I have read about xAd's acquisition of the WeatherBug brand, it seems their main goal with the WeatherBug brand is to use location data for advertising sales. That's basically what I got out of reading the PR's concerning it.

Unfortunately, the WeatherBug Community that many WxForum users contributed to is being shut down in the transition process. xAd has no plans to keep the WeatherBug Community going, as they see no fit for it in their business model. I even suggested plans to them to improve the WeatherBug Community and to lower the overall cost of it, but they wish to proceed with shutting down the WeatherBug Community entirely instead of keeping it running.

I am no longer working for WeatherBug now that xAd owns the WeatherBug brand. I have never worked for xAd, and I am no longer representing WeatherBug nor have the authority to answer WeatherBug-related questions moving forward. I am no longer "Mr. WeatherBug" (it will be hard to get used to that). I will also not be involved in the shutting down process of the WeatherBug Community. xAd will be taking over the shutting down process entirely. I have already pulled all my content and groups from the WeatherBug Community, and I will be deleting my account on the WeatherBug Community this weekend so xAd can proceed with the shut down without me being involved.

I have also deleted the WeatherBug apps from my PC and phone since I no longer have any use to keep using them now that I am no longer working for WeatherBug.

Earth Networks:

WeatherBug's former parent company, Earth Networks, is still in business moving forward post-WeatherBug. Earth Networks still owns the weather station networks, lightning network, camera network, etc., that has powered the data to WeatherBug.

Earth Networks will still be the weather data provider backbone to "the new WeatherBug" moving forward. Earth Networks will simply no longer be in charge of development of WeatherBug's products and services. The new WeatherBug is now a data client of Earth Networks.

Earth Networks is also in the position to license weather data to other companies interested, and more information on the new products and services Earth Networks will be offering post-WeatherBug can be found on the Earth Networks website.

As of now, I will continue to be IT consulting for Earth Networks as I have in the past. I am still aboard at Earth Networks at the present moment.

In terms of PWS, PWS is still going at the moment and has not been shut down as of yet. WeatherBug's new owners (xAd) have no interest in operating the PWS network, although they would be interested in licensing the PWS data from Earth Networks to display in WeatherBug's products and services. The PWS network is currently being maintained by Earth Networks, and so far, I'm still "the PWS guy" and the person to talk to for PWS support. We have a PWS Graph page up at http://pws.ensb.us in which PWS operators can view (and graph) their PWS. Since the PWS Group on the WeatherBug Community had to be deleted to prepare for the WeatherBug Community shut down, a Twitter page is up @earthnetpws where any official PWS news related to Earth Networks will be moving forward. Since I don't monitor that Twitter account much, I recommend you email me for direct support.

I am discussing with our teams on how we want to best handle PWS moving forward post-WeatherBug. What we could do is press on with rolling the new PWS system and roll it under Earth Networks, then tie the PWS Graph and a news page into it, re-branding PWS totally under Earth Networks instead of WeatherBug. From there, we could allow companies such as WeatherBug and other companies to tap into the PWS data and display it and use it in their products and services (one university in Europe is interested in the PWS data for research purposes). We don't have any official plans set in stone yet on how we'll handle PWS moving forward, but once the post-WeatherBug transition is complete, we can then decide what we need to do.

In terms of WeatherBug Home, that feature is remaining part of Earth Networks (not moving over to xAd), and it is being re-branded Connected Savings. Future development of Connected Savings will be handled through Whisker Labs, a subsidiary of Earth Networks. More information concerning all of that is available at the Connected Savings and Whisker Labs websites.

Other apps and websites that license data from Earth Networks for those who are curious are: AllisonHouse, Baron Threat Net, Baron Critical Weather, RadarScope, and WDT Weather Radio. I am using a combination of those as my weather alerting apps moving forward.

WeatherMallard and WeatherQuack:

You might have also heard in the news my other IT company (Mallard) is launching a new weather services division called WeatherMallard, with a weather community website, WeatherQuack. WeatherQuack is a weather community I'll be "hatching" through WeatherMallard to serve as a replacement for the WeatherBug Community. There's still loyal bloggers and WeatherBug Community members who want a place to discuss the weather after the WeatherBug Community is shut down. WeatherQuack will serve as that replacement. I have no business model to monetize WeatherQuack. I will literally be donating the time, money, effort, and resources to give people a place to continue weather blogging/discussions post-WeatherBug, as I've been admining a weather community for years, and I care THAT much about the weather community to start my own when all else fails. I am really disappointed to see the WeatherBug Community go, and I am working over weekends right now to get WeatherQuack launched as soon as possible (it might be this summer before it "hatches", but I hope to launch it sooner).

All-in-all, I know WeatherQuack will be an upgrade from the older WeatherBug Community. It will be based on a rock-solid engine (WordPress/BuddyPress), it will be responsive and "just work" across computers, tablets, and phones, it will integrate with the WordPress apps, and I'm also taking the opportunity to eliminate all the "pain points" people endured with the older WeatherBug Community. I'll have a system status page complete with email and social media updates in case WeatherQuack experiences any system outages (and if the hosting provider is ever too unreliable, I'll pick up the instance and move it somewhere else which I can do without skipping a beat or losing any archives). My VP of Operations/COO will handle day-to-day admin duties on it, plus we'll have a support ticketing system in place for support requests. Since we won't have any major "red tape" to go through and have end-to-end control over the system, any features/changes members wish to see implemented can be implemented quickly.

WeatherQuack (and WeatherMallard as a company) will not be in competition with other major weather websites, and the goal is to provide a free public safety service to the weather community, not as a means to make money. Instead, I want to leverage my connections with the weather community to bring the weather community together, not compete with other major weather sites and services. More information about WeatherMallard and WeatherQuack are on the Mallard Computer website and their respective Facebook and Twitter pages.

Additionally, I have HIGH respect for WxForum and the WxForum community. I have no plans to compete head-to-head with WxForum by launching WeatherQuack. Instead, I would like to work with WxForum's moderators and heavily promote WxForum (free of charge) when WeatherQuack "hatches". WxForum is a fantastic website that I have been a joy to be a member of, and I want to help drive people to WxForum on WeatherQuack, not take away activity.

That is a rundown of what has been going on with the WeatherBug, Earth Networks, WeatherMallard, and WeatherQuack news you might have seen or read. I wanted to take a moment to clarify everything so the weather community in general knows where I am and what I am doing throughout these transitions and has absolute clarify of the future of all of this.