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FanChatter Strikes Gold With Online Conversations

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(credit: CBS) Amelia Santaniello
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Half the fun of big-time awards shows, like the Golden Globes, is commenting on them. It seems like everyone wants to talk about the best dresses, the craziest personalities and everything else that shows up on the red carpet.

On Sunday night, a Twin Cities company struck its own kind of gold, hosting the online conversation for a key entertainment website.

Marty Wetherall is home this week, spending time with his newborn daughter and nurturing his other baby — his website.

“A ton of people were using it last night,” said the CEO of FanChatter.com. “The conversation that was streaming through there, from both the E! correspondents and the general public on the social web, was amazing.”

FanChatter hit it big Sunday night, hosting the computer conversation on EOnline.com. When people commented on host Ricky Gervais, the best dresses or worst speeches, they were logged into his box. But the business actually started years ago.

“It actually launched on NBA Draft night 2007,” he said. “I was actually at the draft in New York and I was texting into the site about all the things that I’d seen.”

Originally created as a way to connect sports fans online, FanChatter added photo sharing for the Twins, Timberwolves, Gophers and other teams, both online and on the scoreboard. But the Golden Globes was the big break.

“It’s just a matter of people finding out that this thing exists,” said Wetherall. “So to be on the EOnline homepage with all the visitors that they get, especially on Golden Globes night, was far and away the most important thing about this.” 

FanChatter lets websites host one-stop shopping for their Facebook and Twitter conversations. And the fact that “The Social Network” was a big part of Sunday night’s conversation is not lost on Wetherall.

“Yeah, I found it pretty interesting that I was enabling people to use Facebook to talk about the Golden Globes on a night when the Golden Globes were celebrating Facebook,” he said.

The Timberwolves said their FanChatter box is one of the most popular parts of their website. Wetherall said E! has already expressed interest in using them more in the future.

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