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The Biographicon
Slogan all the people of the world
Type of site web directory
Owner self-owned
Created by Daniel Terhorst, Ethan Herdrick
Launched March 1, 2008

The Biographicon is an online directory of biographies. The site also shows connections between individuals covered, and explains the circumstances under which they met. It is based on a wiki model of writing – anyone may edit or amend biographical entities.[1]

The origin of the site was at the Startup School on October 15, 2005, where computer programmer Ethan Herdrick was exposed to Paul Graham, founder of venture capitalist firm Y Combinator. On March 1, 2008, Herdrick and business partner Daniel Terhorst launched the Biographicon with a small amount of seed funding and advice from Y Combinator. Herdrick serves as the company's Chief Executive Officer, while Terhorst is Chief Technology Officer.[2]

The Wired Campus has labelled the Biographicon "Wikipedia for non-notables"[3] in reference to the fact that unlike the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the Biographicon does not have a notability threshold for inclusion, operating under the tagline "all the people of the world". Writing for The Independent, Rhodri Marsden comments that on the Biographicon, "anyone can put up details about themselves without fear of being nominated for deletion", though he observes that as the site operates using wiki software, "there's always the chance that someone will log in and alter your entry to include the time you cried on a school trip because someone stole your sandwiches."[1] Ars Technica describes it as "a potential "who's who" of world history."[4] Michael Arrington of TechCrunch notes that at least for the time being, anyone can edit any page of the Biographicon, and that the directory will have to overcome the initial problem of making writing biographies for the site attractive enough to give it traction with a broad user base.[2]

On August 3, 2008, a notice on the Website's blog announced that it would be shutting down permanently on August 21, 2008, due to a lack of use. The full text of the notice:

We regretfully report that we will be shutting the site down permanently on August 21, owing to insufficient user interest in the site. We thank everyone who has supported us, particularly our users. If you would like to get a copy of your biography after August 21, please email us at[5]

As of August 26, 2008, however, the Biographicon will continue to operate while a buyer of the site and software can be found.[6]


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