Faceball.org - Press Information

1. Site


2. Inventors

John Allspaw and Dunstan Orchard

3. Contact info

Email: yo@faceball.org

Cell: please email for phone numbers

4. Hi-res photos

Hi-res Faceball photos can be downloaded here (35MB zip).

5. Background

Faceball began back in March 2007, in the San Francisco offices of Flickr, a Yahoo! property.

Hundreds of inflatable pink and blue beach balls were purchased for use at Flickr's 3rd year anniversary party, and these soon joined the plethora of other toys (finger darts, frisbees, helicopters, rubber chickens, etc) in the Flickr office. [footnote A]

Beach Ball Wars soon ensued. [footnote B]

Because the balls are light, they are tricky to aim when using any kind of force. The ability to hit people from a distance thus became a much sought after skill.

John Allspaw and Dunstan Orchard happened to sit 10 feet apart from each other, and often engaged in competitions of close-range accuracy with these beach balls.

Competitions require ways to determine winners and losers, and to compare performances over time. And thus the rules of Faceball were born. [footnote C]

Competition between John and Dunstan soon spread to the whole office, and on April 6th, 2007 the first office tournament was played, with John Allspaw emerging victorious. [footnote D]

Other Flickr users (particularly Yahoo! employees in Europe) started to pick up on the game, and began playing themselves at meetups and in their offices.

This came to a head in June when Faceball was played on stage as part of the Yahoo! BBC Hack Day. [footnote E]

At the same event a Windows application was produced which inserted flying balls into normal photographs, thus producing "fake" pre-impact Faceball shots. [footnote F]

That same month Faceball was played at the Tate Britain, following a celebration of "24 Hours of Flickr" and Tate Britain's photography exhibition "How We Are" (whose photos came from Flickr members). [footnote G]

These events led John Allspaw and Dunstan Orchard to register faceball.org, as a central point for Faceball rules and information. [footnote H]

The site launched with a teaser video on the 13th of July, and then with full content on the 25th of July (the site currently contains explanatory text, an introductory video, and an instructional PDF and score card). As of September 2nd, 2007 the site had received over 146,000 unique visitors, and the videos over 132,416 plays. (Please contact us for more up-to-date figures if you require them.) [footnote I]

So far Faceball has been featured in broadcasts by ABC, CBS, and the9. It has also appeared on websites such as cbs.sportsline.com, wired.com, bravotv.com, spiegel.de, dailymail.co.uk, metro.co.uk, and in a mini-documentary on Yahoo!'s corporate blog. UK national paper The Daily Mail, and London's The Evening Standard have both printed articles on the sport. In August John spoke about the game on Indianapolis's news-talk station WIBC-AM, and on September 3rd we very nearly made it onto the BBC's flagship radio show, The Today Programme, (but it got cancelled at the last minute, which was a shame). [footnote J]

6. Footnote links

  1. Rubber Chicken Toss


    Dart Wars

  2. Ball Wars

  3. Early Faceball rules

  4. 1st Faceball Tournament

  5. Yahoo! BBC Hack Day

  6. Windows app

  7. Tate Britain

  8. Official Faceball site

  9. Contact Details

  10. Media mentions