The President’s Day blizzard that blanketed the Northeast drove millions of storm watchers to WeatherBug, a desktop software application that streams live neighborhood weather conditions, severe-weather warnings, emergency alerts and forecasts to more than 18 million PC users' desktops.
WeatherBug recorded 36 million page views in the Feb. 16-17 period, when the blizzard dumped 1 to 2 feet of snow on Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, said AWS Convergence Technologies, Gaithersburg, MD, which owns and operates the product.
“Our live weather coverage and local camera views helped drive more than 100,000 new customers to sign up for our service during Sunday and Monday alone,” said Andy Jedynak, senior vice president and general manager of WeatherBug.
WeatherBug is available in a $20 version, with more than 75,000 subscribers, or a free ad-supported model. Both models provide temperature, barometer readings, wind speed and automatic weather alerts, all keyed to a specific ZIP code. The free software has become the most popular stand-alone Internet software for weather data, according to Nielsen//NetRatings and comScore Media Metrix.
Last month, AWS unveiled an online advertising model that lets users change their ad sponsor at will. Consumers can choose from a list of advertisers in 11 categories including home, shopping, health, finance, travel, computing and education. When a new advertiser is selected, WeatherBug's appearance changes to display the advertiser's messages wrapped around the weather content.
While most weather reports work off the National Weather Service, AWS operates more than 6,000 stations of its own, which it says allows it to provide more accurate forecasts specific to a given locale or microclimate.