After originally launching a “Digg for sports,” Pete Vlastelica realized that in order to attract big league advertisers he was going to either need to bring them “closer to a purchase decision” or create a highly-engaging content experience. So after drawing up a new set of plays for the company, Pete and his team were able to land a $6 million round of financing from DFJ, Labrador and a roster of big name athletes.
Now Pete is rolling out a full-fledged content and ad network. Centered around their own anchor property, Yardbarker, the company has connected a network of over 400 independent bloggers and is creating an engaging experience for sports fans and a compelling bracket of properties for advertisers.
Yardbarker is also making some nice moves of its own. Big name athletes like Donovan McNabb, Baron Davis, and Dontrelle Willis are now blogging on the site and building their own audiences in concert with Yardbarker building its. On the distirubtion side, the company has just launched a deal with Fox Sports whereby the best stories from across the Yardbarker network will be syndicated to Fox – giving Yardbarker's lineup of minor league bloggers a shot at The Show that they wouldn’t of had otherwise.
In addition, Yardbarker is energizing its network with all
kinds of interconnected goodness. They’re
developing widgets (amongst other technologies) to keep users engaged throughout the network. They're also taking a network view of their metrics and reporting. All of which serves to keep users engaged and
advertisers excited. It also sounds like
they’re pulling together a solid line-up of big hitting ad sales folks.
Pete, we’ll be looking for you in the playoffs.