Bianca's is shutting down.
April 27, 2001 12:41 PM   Subscribe

Bianca's is shutting down. One of the oldest community sites on the web is going away. It's been kept alive for so long through the hard work, passion, and sheer enthusiasm of the founders and volunteers who cared about the site. You Burning Man participants take heart though, Bianca's will most likely still continue on as a theme camp.

Bianca loves you.
posted by captaincursor (10 comments total)

Wow. Bianca's is an institution. I never managed to get myself into the spirit of things at Bianca's, but it will be missed.
posted by lia at 12:48 PM on April 27, 2001

[start Twilight Zone theme] In recent weeks, for some reason, I've been meaning to check in on Bianca's, and see if it was still around, but I never remember when I'm near my machine. Bianca's was one of the first places I ever remember visiting online. I'm not sure I "got it" back then, but I remember how new and different an online community was. I haven't been there in years, which sucks because now I feel responsible for its demise... Oh, this cursed Catholic guilt!
posted by jpoulos at 1:01 PM on April 27, 2001

sigh. i remember Bianca's from my own wide-eyed newbie days, too. i have nothing to add to the discussion other than that this news makes me very sad.
posted by Sapphireblue at 1:04 PM on April 27, 2001

I chime in with a "me too" too--both the boy-that-was-a-long-time-ago and the never-really-got-it parts. I even had a class analyze Bianca's jargon page back in, musta been 1995? But who hung out there? And why?
posted by rodii at 1:13 PM on April 27, 2001

A lot of people hung out there. Hence why it's going under. For years Dave Thau and Freeform were able to keep the site going in the employee closet at Hotwired. But I think that bandwidth costs finally caught up with them (and Nerve which owns Bianca now) and the plug had to be pulled. It was not due to anyone's avoiding it over Catholic guilt.

Dave and Form never intended for it to be a sexually oriented site (so they claim :-P). The original name "Bianca's Smut Shack" was chosen because they though "Smut Shack" sounded funny. They were frankly surprised by what the users did when they showed up. In later years they were able to shift the focus a bit, note the change of name to simply Bianca's.

I never hung out at the Shack myself, I know most of this due to working with Thau and Freeform. But it never seemed to be that hard to "get it". It was a friendly place to hang out and talk, and if you wanted to talk about sex HEY! so did a lot of people.

I have a feeling one day someone will be posting a similar epitaph about Metafilter.
posted by captaincursor at 1:45 PM on April 27, 2001

The thing I never got about Bianca's was pretty much the same think I never got about all of the various web-based chatrooms. Mind you, by the time I visited my first web-based chatroom (which, actually, was most likely a Bianca's Smut Shack room) I'd already been spoiled by IRC.

It'll be sad to see Bianca's go. Not because I was hit the pages more than 10 times, but like everyone says, it's an institution.
posted by cCranium at 1:51 PM on April 27, 2001

Somebody must be going there, if they've got a $9000/mo bandwidth bill.
posted by aaron at 1:53 PM on April 27, 2001

I first visited Bianca's very shortly after it opened -- maybe even due to that infamous "first weblog" at NCSA. I watched from the sidelines; I was already heavily involved in a BBS/picospan community and newsgroups, and I found a web-board interface in those days clumsy and slow. It always amazed me how devoted people were to the community, though. Lotta people met mates there.
posted by dhartung at 2:23 PM on April 27, 2001

Bianca's was like that little shop on the corner. (Except with the smut. Unless your shop on the corner has smut.) You never went inside, but felt glad that it was around. Snif.
posted by holgate at 4:01 PM on April 27, 2001

The more I know, the more I know I don't know. I was piddling around in local BBSs when Bianca's was like a cruise liner calling "All aboard," and until now I don't think I've ever even heard about her. I know about the Well, but to me the Well's always been that "shop around the corner." Good to know it's there, but I've never gone inside. Well actually The Well's more like a country club to me than a corner store, what with membership dues and all.

This is humbling. Would like to have been a part of Bianca's history, rather than just salute her passing. She is not the first to fall, and I doubt she'll be the last. She's touched many hearts though and brought many people together. In the end isn't that what we're using the Internet for? To connect people? She did her job admirably. If ever a book is writ chronicling the history of the Internet from start to finish, I pray she'll get at least a chapter. I for one would like to read it.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:12 AM on April 28, 2001

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