Future US Buys BallHype
Jason and Erin Gurney, the husband and wife team who started BallHype (and ShowHype, which is also part of this deal), will continue to work on the site, as will Tom Ziller and Howie Pun. They say the site won't change much, except that they're ready to make some money on it.
"Our traffic had reached the point where it was substantial enough to prove the value of our model--but we weren't monetizing well, and didn't have enough resources to take advantage of some of the opportunities we saw," said Jason Gurney, who started BallHype with Erin last year. "We're joining a great team, they're a terrific company to work for, and they're strong where we're weak--like monetizing traffic and penetrating other markets."
The genius of BallHype is the simple way it separates the wheat from the chaff in the sports blogosphere: users submit their favorite blog posts and then other users either vote those submissions up or down. At any given moment, a sports fan who checks BallHype will find a selection of links to the posts that sports blog readers are most interested in.
Tyson Daugherty, Future's head of Internet development, said what attracted the company to BallHype is both the opportunity to work with the Gurneys and the technology that makes the complex process of aggregating thousands of sports blogs look simple to the user.
"We first discovered BallHype in December of last year, and the method of aggregation -- combining the engine, the user and editorial tuning -- was very appealing to us," said Daugherty, whose company has about 200 employees in San Francisco and New York. "It looked like what they were doing was successful as an organically grown property."
Of course, plenty of organically grown web sites cease to grow organically when they go from the founders' labor of love to the latest acquisition of a bigger company. Both parties in this deal say that won't happen.
"The focus of BallHype remains unchanged," Jason Gurney said. "We're going to continue doing our best to present the top sports stories for sports fans, while building tools and traffic for sports bloggers. The good thing is that we'll have a larger staff to build new features and support the site."
Daugherty said Future US, which focuses mainly on magazines and web sites devoted to video games, action sports, music and technology, wants BallHype to keep doing what made it successful.
"Not much will change," Daugherty said. "We're going to run BallHype as it has been running and listening to the community to see what additional features and functionality they want ... We don't want to mess with what's already been proven successful."