Wikipedia was started with money from porn sites

Before he started creating Wikipedia, its founder Jimmy Wales ran a porn search engine and few porn sites. The money from his porn site Bomis was used as seed fund to create Wikipedia. (Source)

It was this porn money from the adult website Bomis that literally kept the internet servers of Wikipedia at Tampa Bay, up and running. The bandwidth for online operation and the server space needed to host Wikipedia was also donated by Bomis. (Source)

Considering that the year was 2001 (Wikipedia was founded on January 15, 2001), these infrastructure were pretty costly and without Bomis‘ help, it could have been impossible to launch Wikipedia.

In facts, for a few years after Wikipedia was formally established, Bomis kept on donating money to Wikipedia in the form of cheques which were hand-delivered by Jimmy Wales to the Wikipedia office. (Source)

Jimmy Wales posing with two adult models to promote his adult website Bomis, on the lines of Playboy magazine. Some of these promotional pictures were removed from Wikipedia pages but can still be found on the Wikimedia repository. (Source)

Jimmy Wales has tried his best to hide this murky past. It was reported that Jimmy Wales had edited his Wikipedia biography more than 18 times (source) to remove all references to the the adult website which was not only his source of sustenance but for a long time, Wikipedia’s as well. (Source)

In fact, three of the five members of the Wikipedia Board in 2004 were the original Bomis Founders.

The Wikipedia Board in 2004: Three members, including Jimmy Wales, are actually founders of Bomis, the porn site. Bomis was founded by Jimmy Wales, Tim Shell, and Michael Davis.
Photo by Gus Freedman - Wikimedia Foundation Inc.

So, what was Jimmy Wales serving his customers through Bomis? The website was an aggregator and host of pornographic pictures of nude and semi-nude women from the internet. The most popular sections of the website were Bomis Report and Bomis Babes Report which featured pictures of women and porn stars in the nude.

Porn star Silvia Saint posing as Bomis Babe. This is a cropped picture that the company used for its 404 error message for a long time as well. (Source)

The holding company run by Jimmy, Tim and Michael (the founders of Bomis) also maintained and operated two more porn sites – nekkid.com and nekkid.info. (Source)

There is scant information about how Jimmy and his friends hosted and operated these websites. These websites perhaps operated within its private membership and paid subscriber circles and Jimmy Wales hasn’t volunteered much information about them.

When Jimmy was confronted by Wired about his murky past of being a porn site host, he deflected the topic of the conversation in his trademark style. This was the conversation. (Source)

A screengrab of Jimmy’s conversation with Wired. (Source)

In fact, Jimmy Wales is so sensitive and cagey about his dark past that he had demanded an unconditional apology from a media outlet when they wrote, “Wikipedia’s creator, made his original fortune as a pornography trafficker”.

The publication issued a rejoinder to Jimmy Wales’ claim and never issued an apology despite Jimmy insisting on it several times, probably to ensure that it doesn’t make its way into Wikipedia. (Source)

However, Jimmy Wales’ dark past of using porn money to start Wikipedia seems like a dwarf in front of an explosive allegation that has hounded him for many years.

This is a more serious charge of promoting, aiding and abetting child pornography which was filed with the FBI by none other Larry Sanger through a letter. Larry is the co-founder of Wikipedia and was once a confidante of Jimmy. (Source)

Larry is no more with Wikipedia and has transformed into one of the strongest critics of the website for its ideological bias. (Source)

Soon after this, Jimmy Wales started deleting the images that Larry had flagged, to possibly avoid getting prosecuted by the FBI. (Source)

Instead of supporting the deletion of such harmful images, the Wikipedia editors reacted sharply and demanded that certain rights of Jimmy Wales be revoked. Jimmy apologised (source) but that did not seem to placate the Wikipedia editors.

After a few rounds of debate, discussion and voting, many of the super rights that Jimmy used to enjoy was taken away from him (source).

However, Jimmy Wales still sits on the Board of Wikipedia and is duly acknowledged as its founder.

Jimmy was never prosecuted by the FBI on child pornography and was strongly defended by the management team at Wikipedia.

Jimmy still denies that he was essentially a pornography distributor before he started Wikipedia.

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