Friday, February 25, 2011

The End of FanHouse

Since 2006, I've been a part of a project at AOL called FanHouse. It started as a group of sports bloggers coming together under one roof. Yes, we got paid for our work, but it wasn't about making gobs of money or working a full-time job.

Started by Jamie Mottram, FanHouse slowly gained traction, and with traction came traffic. With traffic came growth.

The FanHouse of today is not something that any of us who were on the initial conference calls in August of 2006 can really identify with. It became a legitimate sports news site, one that broke stories, employed some big-name columnists and analysts, along with top-notch writers who could break news, and we also had Jay Mariotti.

Some of us stuck around. Others, like Mottram, moved on to bigger and better things. Jamie now runs Yahoo's highly successful blog network, and former FanHousers like MJD, Greg Wyshynski, and Shane Bacon work there.

Needless to say, it was a shock on Jan. 13, when AOL announced they were entering into a content arrangement with The Sporting News, an arrangement that would bring on the unofficial death of FanHouse.

Yes, FanHouse will continue on, but the brand is all that remains. The writers you've come to know from the site are generally no more. Many have found gigs, and will be ready on Tuesday to take their talents elsewhere.

I already moved back into my old Red Rock Radio office, and I'm not leaving it anytime soon.

The fact that so many of my colleagues and friends haven't yet found work is troubling. There are some great writers who are free agents -- sorry for the sports vernacular -- as of March 1. Many of them have nothing right now, so I consider myself very lucky.

In the end, it's sad for so many reasons, including the fact that AOL burned bridges with so many talented people over money they could have gotten elsewhere, and if they had done that, many jobs would have been preserved.

Farewell, FanHouse. It's been a hell of a ride.

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