Bomis

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Sylvia Saint in a Bomis t-shirt

Bomis was a dot-com company founded in 1996 by Jimmy Wales, Tim Shell and Michael Davis. Its primary business was the sale of advertising on the Bomis.com search portal, and to provide support for the free encyclopedia projects Nupedia and Wikipedia. The name was an acronym of Bitter Old Men in Suits. Bomis created and hosted web rings around search terms popular among male users. It included "Bomis Babes", which was a segment devoted to erotic images. Within this section the site featured the Bomis Babe Report which documented adult pictures. Bomis became successful after focusing on X-rated media.

Staff[edit]

Bomis staff in 2000
  • The company behind Nupedia, Bomis, Inc., has a great deal of experience designing and promoting high-traffic websites. We intend to put that experience (and the profit from that!) behind the Nupedia project to ensure it is a success.

About[edit]

  • Wales has also repeatedly revised the description of a search site he founded called Bomis, which included a section with adult photos called 'Bomis Babes.'
  • Wales admitted to changing references to Bomis Babes several times. But he said he was correcting an error, and disputed the characterization of Bomis Babes as soft porn.
  • Wales had become involved with the growing e-commerce boom. However, his first project, an 'erotic search engine' called Bomis, would be controversial.
    • Harry Henderson (2008). Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology. Facts on File. p. 500. ISBN 1438110030. 
  • Using the Bomis site, Wales and Larry Sanger then launched their first online encyclopedia, Nupedia.
    • Harry Henderson (2008). Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology. Facts on File. p. 500. ISBN 1438110030. 
  • Wales was criticized in 2005 for editing his own biography in Wikipedia, downplaying the pornographic nature of Bomis and minimizing Sanger's role as cofounder of Wikipedia.
    • Harry Henderson (2008). Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology. Facts on File. p. 500. ISBN 1438110030. 
  • Although Wales himself had made his personal fortune as a futures trader in Chicago in the 1990s, he wasn't the one funding Nupedia. This was done through one of Wales's less altruistic ventures, a Web portal called Bomis.com that featured, among other items, soft-core pornography.
    • Jeff Howe (2008). Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business. Crown Business. pp. 58-60. ISBN 0307449327. 
  • In the Wild-West style Internet economy of the mid-Nineties, Wales co-founded a Web directory called Bomis.
  • Described by The Atlantic magazine as 'The Playboy of the Internet,' Bomis provided the peer-to-peer technology to link together sites about Pamela Anderson and Anna Kournikova.
  • What Wales had learned as an adolescent playing video games, and relearned from his experience with Bomis, was the power of the network, the value of what has become known as 'distributed' technology.
  • Using some of the profits from an adult content site that he had helped start (Bomis), Wales launched Nupedia.
  • Before deciding what the company would really do, the men had to settle on a name. From working in the Chicago business world, Wales jokingly referred to them as 'bitter old men in suits.' The name stuck in the form of an acronym, BOMIS, although officially both men say the name stands for nothing.
    • Susan Meyer (2012). Jimmy Wales and Wikipedia. Rosen Pub Group. pp. 29-35, 56-58, 84-86. ISBN 978-1448869121. 
  • Up until late 2002, Wikipedia.com was still a for-profit business under the umbrella of Bomis.
    • Susan Meyer (2012). Jimmy Wales and Wikipedia. Rosen Pub Group. pp. 29-35, 56-58, 84-86. ISBN 978-1448869121. 
  • Despite the extreme success of Wikipedia, as a nonprofit it was no longer making money for Bomis, which was then forced to lay off most of its staff.
    • Susan Meyer (2012). Jimmy Wales and Wikipedia. Rosen Pub Group. pp. 29-35, 56-58, 84-86. ISBN 978-1448869121. 
  • Nupedia launched in March 2000 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. ... Wales's company Bomis, an Internet search portal and a vendor of online 'erotic images' (featuring the Bomis Babe Report), picked up the tab initially.
  • Wikipedia would have never gotten off the ground without the support of Wales and Bomis.
  • Until 2003, Bomis, in effect, owned Wikipedia, but in June of that year, all the assets were transferred to the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Jimmy Wales edited his own Wikipedia entry to remove references to Larry Sanger's role in cofounding the online encyclopedia and to Bomis Babes as presenting 'pornography.'
  • Originally all of Wikipedia was at the .com address. Bomis, the company owned by Wikipedia patron Jimbo Wales, hoped to make Wikipedia profitable, or at least cover the costs of operation, so it was at least theoretically a commercial operation. At one point, Jimbo was planning on placing unobtrusive advertisements on Wikipedia, but that plan has since been completely abandoned.
  • Jimbo Wales founded the Bomis search engine and Web site at the onset of the dot-com boom in 1996. Bomis helped people find 'erotic photography,' and earned money through advertising as well as subscription fees for premium content.
  • Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales underscores that Bomis, his dot-com search engine business, was not directly involved in pornography, pointing out that its content was R-rated rather than X-rated, like Maxim magazine rather than Playboy.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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