Bomis: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bomis, Inc.
Type Private
Founded 1996
Headquarters St. Petersburg, Florida, United States
Key people Jimmy Wales
Tim Shell
Michael Davis
Revenue N/A
Employees 10
Alexa rank ~60,000
Type of site Internet portal
Advertising space
Registration no
Available in English
Launched 1996
Current status active
Silvia Saint in a Bomis T-Shirt

Bomis (pronounced /ˈbɒmɨs/ to rhyme with "promise")[1] is a dot-com company founded in 1996. Its primary business is the sale of advertising on the search portal. It was founded by Jimmy Wales and Tim Shell, and provided support for the free encyclopedia projects Nupedia and Wikipedia. As of 2006, Tim Shell is the CEO of Bomis.

On the site, Bomis creates and hosts web rings around search terms popular among male users. The rings are currently categorized broadly as "Babe", "Entertainment", "Sports", "Adult", "Science fiction", and "Other".[2] The "Adult", "Babe", and "Entertainment" categories are the most frequently updated and the most popular. In addition, Bomis hosts a copy of the Open Directory Project search directory. Revenue from search-related pages is generated from advertising and affiliate marketing.


Hosted content

Bomis ran a website called Bomis Premium at until 2005, offering customers access to premium, X-rated[3] pornographic content.

Until mid-2005, Bomis also featured the Bomis Babe Report, a free blog, publishing news and reviews about celebrities, models, and the adult entertainment industry. The Babe Report prominently linked to Bomis Premium and frequently posted updates about new models joining Bomis. Bomis has also operated, a free repository of selected erotic photographs,[4] and continues to host The Babe Engine, "a precision babe search engine", which indexes photos ranging from glamour photography to pornography.[5]

In addition, Bomis has provided hosting to websites supporting Objectivist and other libertarian political views, including the "Freedom's Nest",[6] a database of books and quotes, and "We the Living", a large objectivist community website which is now defunct.

Role in the creation of Nupedia and Wikipedia

Bomis is best known for having supported the creation of the free-content online encyclopedia projects Nupedia and Wikipedia. Bomis hosted Nupedia in 2000, and Larry Sanger was hired to manage and edit that project. A year into the development of Nupedia, Bomis decided the project was too expensive, and a so called "wiki" was set up as a way to solicit low-cost new drafts for Nupedia.

Wiki as a word, as a concept, and as a software technology for websites that allows multiple users to edit and update a text or program quickly and easily, was an invention of and created and developed by Ward Cunningham in 1994. The new online-encyclopedia on base of Ward's wiki-technology, was named Wikipedia and it looked exactly the same as Cunningham's websites. While originally intended as a "feeder" project for Nupedia, Wikipedia—with its much lower barriers to contribution, and its much lower costs for Bomis—rapidly outgrew its parent in size and attention.

For a while, Bomis provided web servers and bandwidth for these projects, paid Sanger in his role as project editor-in-chief (until he left the projects in 2002), and owned key items such as the associated domain names. However, as the costs of Wikipedia rose with its popularity, Bomis' revenues declined as result of the dot-com-crash, a general reluctance to display advertising on the site—together with a desire from the Wikipedia community to reflect the spirit of openness and neutrality central to Wikipedia—suggested an alternative ownership model.

The Wikimedia Foundation was formally announced on June 20, 2003. All intellectual property and domain name assets were transferred or donated over to the foundation because it was registered as a non-profit organization, but the server hardware was not transferred [7]. Bomis CEO Tim Shell became the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees. Larry Sanger had left the project by this time, but Jimmy Wales retains a role on the board of the Foundation, along with users elected from the Wikimedia community. In December 2006 Tim Shell is replaced by Jan-Bart de Vreede. The Foundation now funds the operation of Wikipedia (and its sister projects) primarily through donations from readers.


  1. ^ Bomis FAQ
  2. ^ "Bomis What's New". Retrieved July 14 2008.  
  3. ^ Susan Kuchinskas, iMedia Connection, Jimmy Wales: Why the recession will not kill digital media, March 26, 2009.
  4. ^ See domain name registration information and archived copies
  5. ^ The site is advertised on; as of March 2006, it resolved to the same IP address as, and it uses as its nameservers.
  6. ^ "Freedom's Nest website". Retrieved March 16 2006.  
  7. ^ "Wikipedia-l - Announcing Wikimedia Foundation". Retrieved 2007-04-07.  

External links and sources

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