is an Internet forum
based in Ireland
. It is considered one of the largest indigenous Irish websites online. As of 2008
the site has over 900,000 visitors a month, 135,000 registered accounts, 700,000 threads and more than 10 million posts. A wide variety of topics are discussed, mostly from (but not limited to) an Irish perspective.
, Dr. John "Cloud" Breslin created a single forum
under the name Cloud Boards
to enable discussion amongst Irish users of the id Software
, while employed as a researcher at the National University of Ireland, Galway. This forum was a response/expansion to the IGN quake.ie
forum, and utilized "Matt's WWWBoard" software. The site gained in popularity until the size of its threads exceeded the capacity of the software. Breslin came into contact with Tom Murphy, who had been administrating a Quake-related forum called Quakapalooza
, utilizing Murphy's ASP software. Cloud Boards then began using Ultimate Bulletin Board Software. Breslin proposed a more general (not just Quake-related) forum, dedicated to general Irish issues, in 1999
, and considered the name boards.ie
to be a more useful and desired domain.
In 2000, Cloud Boards was then rebranded for a more general audience. Limitations in what organizations could register prevented private individuals from registering vanity or custom domains. Breslin had previously been unsuccessful in registering the domain cloud.ie with the Irish domain registry. Murphy entered a bet with Breslin that he could successfully register a domain for a rebranded web forum. Murphy renamed his company Spin Solutions to Boards for a day, registered the paperwork with the Irish domain registrar for Boards.ie, and was granted the domain.
In 2003, boards.ie achieved one million posts to its forums.
In 2007, the boards.ie Ltd. company acquired the rights to boards.us and other domains from Breslin.
In 2008, boards.ie hired its first full-time developer.
For the 10th year anniversary of boards.ie the complete data set of its discussions with semantic markup (see SIOC) was published and a competition looking for interesting creations based on this data was launched.
The site is owned by five individuals, known as the administrators, or "admins", who delegate administrative and editorial control over the site to hundreds of unpaid moderators
. Daft.ie has recently purchased a minority stake in the forum. Each admin has a one-fifth stake in the rest of the boards.ie
parent company, Boards, Ltd. One stakeholder, Gerry Shanahan, holds the position of "Managing Director" and is paid full-time by the organization, from income generated by Google Adsense. There are over 1,000 forums, public and private.
A new forum can be proposed by anyone, but requires a certain amount of support from other members. Most users do not pay any usage fees, although subscription is offered with benefits such as free webspace.
The boards.ie site took its successful formula for web forums and created a number of sites aimed around other countries, including boards.us (United States), boards.jp (Japan), boards.com.cn (China), and boards.co.nz (New Zealand). Sites associated with classified advertising (adverts.ie) and social networking (social.ie) have been started as well.
For his contribution to Irish society, Tom Murphy was awarded a Net Visionary Award by the Irish Internet Association in 2004 in the "Social Contribution" category.
Dr. Breslin was awarded Net Visionary Awards by the Irish Internet Association in 2005 and 2006.
boards.ie was awarded a Zeddy in 2001. (The Zeddy Awards have since been discontinued.)