It's been a great year for us here at Balls.ie. Traffic is up about 1000% over the last 12 months. We owned the Euros and introduced a new form of entertainment to the Irish public: the GAA gif. But for a few minutes in mid-July, it seemed like it could all be in vain.
Following the Euros, many footballers took to the beaches of Spain and France in pursuit of sun and pleasure. Germany's Mario Götze was no different and was enjoying a holiday at some beach resort in Ibiza with his ladyfriend. At some stage during the holiday, a paparazzo photographed him at an inopportune moment - midembrace poolside with his GF with his mast rising, so to speak. We decided to publish these photos on Balls, and the traffic surge around the photos seemed to indicate they may be in the public interest.
A few days later, via email and post, we received correspondence from Moser Bezznberger, a Berlin lawfirm representing Götze and his agent, saying Balls had violated Götze's privacy according to the laws of Germany's highest civil court and faced a €10,000 fine if we did not cease and desist (that is to say, spike the story). They informed us that according to that same court, "showing celebrities on their vacation can never be in the interest of contemporary history."
10 grand would have knocked Balls right off the internet, so we had no choice but to spike the story. We assume other websites made the same decision as the photograph has all but disappeared from the internet.
We were sad to see the content go but it was random and almost inspiring to realise we were on the agenda of up-and-coming Bundesliga stars.
Which global footballers will we piss of in 2013? Time will tell, folks. Time will tell.