web ring


Bomis is a dot-com company founded in 1996. Its primary business is the sale of advertising on the Bomis.com 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 Bomis.com site, Bomis creates and hosts web rings around popular search terms. The rings are currently categorized broadly as "Babe", "Entertainment", "Sports", "Adult", "Science fiction", and "Other". 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.

Bomis ran a website called Bomis Premium at premium.bomis.com until 2005, offering customers access to premium 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 nekkid.info, a free repository of selected erotic photographs, and continues to host The Babe Engine, "a precision babe search engine", which indexes photos ranging from glamour photography to pornography.

In addition to its pornography and search properties, Bomis has provided hosting to websites supporting Objectivist and other libertarian political views, including the "Freedom's Nest", 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. Wales started Nupedia in 2000, and Larry Sanger was hired to manage and edit that project. A year into the development of Nupedia, a wiki was set up as a way to solicit new drafts for Nupedia; named Wikipedia. While originally intended as a 'feeder' project for Nupedia, Wikipedia — with its much lower barriers to contribution — 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 and popularity of Wikipedia rose, a general reluctance to display advertising on the site — together with a desire 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, and all intellectual property and domain name assets were transferred or donated to this non-profit organization. Existing server hardware was not transferred. Larry Sanger had left the project by this time, but Jimmy Wales retains a key role on the board of the Foundation, along with users elected from the Wikimedia community. The Foundation now funds the operation of Wikipedia (and its sister projects) primarily through donations from readers. Bomis CEO Tim Shell was the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation until December 2006, when he was replaced by Jan-Bart de Vreede.


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