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Type of site
|Owners||Simon Wright, Phil Sweeney|
|Created by||Simon Wright|
Whirlpool is an independent Australian website founded in 1998. Since then, it has grown significantly and has over 700,000 registered accounts. Primarily a discussion forum, some extra functionality such as Broadband Choice was included, although this functionality has been removed from the site.
Whirlpool began as a parody of the name of Telstra's BigPond cable Internet service. However, it soon expanded to cover Optus' Optus@Home (now known as OptusNet) cable internet service, ADSL-based services, and other forms of broadband ISPs in Australia as they became available.
On 11 September 2007, it was announced that 2Clix Software was commencing legal action against Whirlpool founder Simon Wright for posts made by users in the Whirlpool forums that 2Clix claimed were "false and malicious". 2Clix claimed it had lost approximately A$150,000 income per month between January and July 2007 and sued for this amount plus legal costs. Whirlpool users responded immediately by sending PayPal donations to assist with the site's legal costs, with some users claiming they had sent donations exceeding A$1,000. The co-founder of PIPE Networks personally pledged a donation of A$10,000 towards the cause.
On 19 September 2007, 2Clix solicitors stated that they had received instructions to discontinue the case. 2Clix entered voluntary liquidation in late 2007 and its director was subsequently declared bankrupt.
Broadband Choice allowed a user to find options available to them and to filter them by features such as price, speed and usage limits. In most cases, details about internet service providers (ISPs) and their plans were maintained by staff of each ISP, which were then editorially approved by Whirlpool. Forums for a few ISPs, such as Telstra, were maintained by Whirlpool.
Broadband Choice was retired on 29 June 2015 with the link now redirecting to a page outlining their reasons for closure.
The primary purpose of the forums is to provide a venue in which to discuss broadband and related areas (such as networking). Representatives from many Australian service providers, hardware vendors and merchants use Whirlpool as a strictly non-official support and communication channel.
Some features present on other message boards such as signatures, avatars and in-line images are not available. When threads and posts are deleted or moved, placeholders are left allowing users to see the alleged moderation that has taken place. This is different from other forum software, where deleted threads may simply disappear from view.
The forum also has very few off-topic areas (known as "lounges"), which are generally only available to long-standing or highly active members of the community.
Whirlpool has its own Wiki. It is an accumulation of information put together by forum users in "sticky threads" over time, with the hope of cutting down forum clutter while also allowing more collaborative content development. It includes information that is difficult to find aggregated into one place elsewhere, such as the Australian Exchange Guide (a guide to the locations of Australian telephone exchanges), a list of Australian computer shops and a list of Australian VoIP providers.
The people behind the site
Previously, Whirlpool existed with no revenue stream. Unlike many forums, Whirlpool had no banners nor paid advertising. However, in 2008, the owner began using Google AdSense in pages that result from Google searches, for users who are not logged in.
From 2011 up to 14 February 2017 Bandwidth and web hosting were donated by Bulletproof Networks, an Australian hosting company. Before 2011, the site was hosted by WebCentral under a similar arrangement.
In its first few years, Whirlpool was nominated for several awards:
- Best Technology Media Website, Sun Microsystems MediaConnect IT Journalism Awards
- Best Technology Title, Sun Microsystems MediaConnect IT Journalism Awards
- Winner, 2004 
- "Representative Code of Conduct". Whirlpool. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
- "Any Whirlpool page with the metrics sidebar". Whirlpool. 2016-04-05. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
- "Caught in the Whirlpool". The Age. 2003-07-22.
- "2Clix sues Whirlpool founder". Whirlpool. 2007-09-11.
- "Firm sues forum to silence critics". smh.com.au. 2007-09-12.
- "Whirlpool in a legal spin as founder gets sued". iTNews. 2007-09-12.
- "EFA condemns Whirlpool lawsuit". www.efa.org.au. 2007-09-12.
- "2Clix scores own goal with Whirlpool case". www.zdnet.com.au. 2007-09-13.
- "A Whirlpool of Legal Risk". Dilanchian Lawyers & Consultants. 2007-09-13.
- "2Clix sues Whirlpool founder (Part 2)". Whirlpool. 2007-09-12.
- "2Clix claims case withdrawal". Whirlpool. 2007-09-19.
- "EFA welcomes Whirlpool lawsuit back-down". www.efa.org.au. 2007-09-19.
- "2Clix backtracks on Whirlpool lawsuit". iTNews. 2007-09-19.
- "Christopher Dene Mills, director of 2Clix, declared bankrupt". The Australian. 2010-10-19.
- "Setting up broadband internet (archived) – Availability and choice". Australian Consumers' Association. February 2004. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- "Notable Identities". Whirlpool.
- "Normal User Titles and Private Lounge Access". Whirlpool. 2008-02-23.
- "WIKI FAQs and Guidelines". Whirlpool. 2006-04-26.
- Various. "Australian Exchange Guide". Whirlpool. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
- Various. "Australian PC Shops Guide". Whirlpool. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
- Various. "VOIP Providers". Whirlpool. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
- "New media hands power to the people". smh.com.au. 2005-10-17.
- "ISP threat to Whirlpool over posting". smh.com.au. 2005-08-09.
- "Forum Feedback – Advertisements". Whirlpool. 2008-10-04. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
- "Whirlpool.net.au migrates to Bulletproof Networks". http://whirlpool.net.au/news/. 2011-07-12.
- "Whirlpool Moderation Team". http://whirlpool.net.au/wiki. 2011-07-12.
- "Whirlpool takes top awards". Whirlpool. 2005-04-10.
- "Whirlpool wins again!". Whirlpool. 2006-04-30.