"It's a bit of a culture shock, but it's also a really good move," Masters says. The company will keep its local seven-person office in Kerrytown; its bigger San Francisco office will become a Weather Channel regional headquarters.
No sale price was released, but Masters says the WU tripled its staff in the last three years, to fifty-seven employees. That forced the four co-owners to spend more of their time on management, and less "doing their thing." Handing off administration will give Masters more time to devote to his blog, an incisive analysis of how current weather events, like the recent heat wave, tie into global climate change.
The merger means the Weather Channel now owns both of the Internet's most-visited weather sites. Ranked by daily visitors, Masters says, the Weather Channel's weather.com usually ranks about thirtieth globally, wunderground.com around seventieth--higher during hurricane season and other natural disasters. While wunderground.com will remain independent after the merger, some of its most popular features will migrate to weather.com--making official a longtime pattern of the larger company adopting WU's innovations. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," says Masters. "And in that sense they were constantly flattering us."