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Danbooru (site domain: danbooru.donmai.us or donmai.us) is an online imageboard and tag-based image archive using a non-hierarchical semantic structure in which users are able to post content and search for images they want to see through tags and ratings. Since the original site’s launch in 2005, numerous Danbooru-style imageboards specializing in a specific subject have emerged online.
According to the offical Danbooru Facebook page, the site launched on May 25th, 2005. The earliest archived snapshot of the site was taken on February 15th, 2006, boasting 23,871 images uploaded at the time. Danbooru reached its 100,000th upload on January 19th, 2007, followed by the milestone of one million uploads on September 20th, 2011. As of March 2013, the site hosts more than 1.37 million images. Since many of these images are considered Not Safe For Work, the family-friendly alternative Safebooru launched in 2010.
On March 2nd, 2007, Danbooru was taken offline by the administrator and the source code was made available for programmers looking to create their own imageboards, as well as a database dump for curious fans. Though the exact reason for the closure never came to light, speculations as to why the site was shut down began to surface via affiliate communities such as the HongFire message board and the Anime/Otaku blog. In a 4chan BBS thread, moot mentioned that he offered to provide hosting for the site, but the owner was not interested. The site returned later in 2007 with little fanfare.
Danbooru and other image boorus it inspired make use of a tagging system that enables users to sort images into categories (shown below) as they’re uploaded to the site. The main focus of these categories is to divide images by basic factors including what fandom they’re from, which characters are involved or the artist’s name. However, many taggers will add more specific details present in the images such as clothing types or facial expressions. Another common feature of image boorus is the users’ ability to create custom image pools, similar to those on the photo sharing site Flickr, where people can curate images surrounding a specific theme that goes beyond the images’ tags.
The tagging system also allows sorting of content based on whether they’re safe for work, questionable or explicit. The rating is commonly decided by the inclusion of erotica or intercourse, but can also be decided through subjects such as gore. Certain image boorus specialize only in a certain rating, in which the rating system is properly adjusted to match the site’s function.
Danbooru’s source code was freely available directly on the website and later, was shared on on GitHub. Websites built on this code became known as “Image Boorus”, commonly specializing in specific subject matter or content ratings. The earliest spinoffs began launching in 2007, surging after the original Danbooru was taken down in March of that year. On March 6th, 2007, Box.shisnet.org launched, attempting to archive all the Booru-style boards. This site later evolved into the Overbooru, which breaks down boorus based on theme, language and adult content.
The largest of these boorus, Gelbooru (shown below), launched in May 2007. It hosts anime-related content, similar to Danbooru, but specializes more in explicit content and hentai. Totalling more than 1.6 million images as of March 2013, it’s archive is approximately 300,000 images larger than Danbooru. Other well-known boorus that specialize in adult-content include Rule34.XXX, Paheal and FurryBooru’s e621.
Outside of explicit content boorus, Konachan is another spinoff of Danbooru that specializes in wallpapers. Other notable image boorus are commonly dedicated to fandoms including Touhou’s Touhou Radio (shown below, left) the Furry fandom’s e926, Bronies’ Derpibooru (formerly Ponibooru, shown below, center), Homestuck‘s MSPAbooru (shown below, right) and Katawa Shoujo’s The Mishimmie.
In 2009, The Imageboard Search Project launched, allowing users to search tags across multiple image boards. As of March 2013, the search engine has more than 5 million images from 32 sites available in their index. The Booru Project launched in 2010 as a way for new programmers to easily create their own image board. As of March 2013, the site hosts more than 1900 boorus, and the largest of these hosts more than 1.1 million images. In June 2012, a TV Tropes page was created to highlight some of the larger booru sites.
Danbooru has an Alexa global rank of 7,777, with a rank of 1,242 in Japan and 6,384 in the US. Danbooru also has a Quantcast rank of 15,893. According to Quantcast’s demographics, the user base is 59% male and 41% female with the majority being under the age of 24.
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