Full Form of IMDB – As a subsidiary of the giant, Amazon

Full Form of IMDB:

Internet Movie Database

IMDB Full Form is Internet Movie Database. In the entertainment industry, reviews become important in determining the audience base. Earlier, newspapers and magazines would be the only sources of reviews that people would often read to decide on their choices. With time and rise of the internet, many online forums have emerged that provide a wide range of reviews to online users.

One such forum is the Internet Movie Database, which is also known as by its famously used abbreviation IMDb. In this article, we shall deal with various aspects of this online forum This Internet Movie Database, which will be hereinafter referred to as by its abbreviation IMDb. However, before that, we shall have a brief introduction to this topic.

Introduction to IMDb

The IMDb is basically an online forum of database on movies, televisions series, and video games. The online database will include production, staff, biographies, plot summaries, cast, reviews, trivia, etc. It is generally known as a rating website and is used most commonly for this purpose.

Full Form of IMDB - As a subsidiary of the giant, Amazon
Full Form of IMDB – As a subsidiary of the giant, Amazon

However, there is more to it than as a mere rating website. Actors and other staff members can post their own photos and resumes for promotion for a yearly fee. Survey reports that users from the United States of America can view about 6000 movies and television series from forums such as Sony, CBS, and others.

The online forum was officially launched in the year 1990. Col Needham, who was then a professional computer programmer, is the man behind the development of the forum, which as a company was incorporated in the United Kingdom. The company was incorporated as Internet Movie Database Ltd. in the year 1996. The revenue is accrued from areas relating to advertisements, partnerships, and licensing. In the year 1998, the online forum became a subsidiary of the online marketing giant Amazon.com, which started leveraging IMDb as an advertisement portal for the sale of their videotapes and DVDs.

The website allows optional registration to its users. On registration, the users can add and edit posts on the website. All the data that is inputted by the users on the website goes through a check before making live. Despite this, the forum has been occasionally prone to various errors and misuse, which have been acknowledged as well. Users are welcomed to rate any film, television series and video games on the scale of 1 to 10 and the total ratings are converted into a weighted mean rating. This weighted mean rating is presented next to the title, with filters ingrained to avoid ballot-stuffing.

There are discussion forums conducted on the website to foster discourse on various aspects of movies, series, and video games. IMDb is one of the highest ranked websites in the world, with being listed in Top 49 list of Alexa. As of the month January 2016, there are about 3.6 million titles and 7 million celebrities in its database. It hosts about 65 million users as registered users. The introduction segment of the topic gives a holistic view on some of the most commonly used websites in the world. 25 years has passed since its inception and this websites is only growing more popular.

In the forthcoming segments, more segments will be dealt with that will explore some important facts about the website. We shall begin with the history that lead to the foundation of the website, which though saw a rather slow start has now become one of the most credible and popular rating forum as far as entertainment productions are concerned. The segment on history shall be followed by other segments, which shall explore other facts about the same.

History behind the foundation and progress of the IMDb

The idea about IMDb started with a Usenet post by Col Needham, who was both a professional computer programmer and movie fan. The post was titled “Those Eyes” that has information about actresses with lovely eyes. Attracted by this idea, people with similar interests that came up with different lists on different topics. Col eventually started Male Actors List whereas Dave Knight started a Directors List. These lists were meant to provide information on persons alive. However, subsequently many lists surfaced that enumerated retired or dead celebrities in various genres. The goal was to make lists as inclusive as possible.

By the year 1990, the forum would include more than 10,000 films and television programs. Col Needham posted a compilation of Unix Shell scripts that could search many of the lists mentioned above and this compilation eventually went on become IMDb. Earlier, it was known by a different name—rec.arts.movies movie database however, in the year 1993, it became an independent website operated by Col Needham himself and his personal followers. In order to expand the reach and content of the website, other websites were invited to pool in data, which could be verified on discretion. This activity worked immensely and helped the forum increase its content. With the increase in volume of information, many other sections and lists were added. Many production staff members and independent filmmakers were added.

The website started allowing advertisements on the website, particularly with the purpose of managing the operations of the site. Most of the primary staff came from the growing computer programming industry and training schools, with not much knowledge in visual media. In the year 1998 however, the website was unable to attract sufficient financial resources that compelled Needham to sell off his company to Amazon.com. He nonetheless added a condition to the whole agreement that secured the operations of IMDb with him and his small group of workers.

IMDB As a website

There are certain things one must know about the website. A few of them would be dealt with under this head. The website offers properly integrated ratings with several lists. Alan Jay created a centralized email interface, which functioned as a mail for query. Later, the website moved to still nascent World Wide Web (abbreviated as WWW) under a new name Cardiff Internet Movie Database. The database on the website was stored on the servers of Cardiff University’s department of computer science situated in Wales.

The original author of the web interface was Rob Hartill. Eventually, in the year 1994 the email interface was, revamped and this allowed the users to post new lists and edit existing ones without the need to send an email to the interface. For a few years, the database on the online forum was operated through a network of mirrors with donated bandwidth. The site is perl-based. The website has been immensely filtered in China however, it can still be accessed with the help of proxy servers or Virtual Private Network.

As a subsidiary of the giant, Amazon

Due to lack of funding, the founder had to force himself to sell off the company to the giant Amazon though certain reservations were appended to the whole agreement. In the year 1998, the founder and CEO of the Amazon.com Jeff Bezos and Col Needham entered into an agreement where IMDb will function as a subsidiary of Amazon.com though the operations shall be overseen by the latter and his small group of workers. This agreement helped IMDb to pay salaries to its workers; most of them became full-time workers.

In the year 2002, IMDb launched a subscription facility called IMDbPro that was targeted at professionals engaged in entertainment industry. The launch happened in Sundance Film Festival. The subscription service, if availed, would give access to details of production offices, companies and box offices. In the, year 2003, IMDb came up with another attractive feature where users who have been top 100 contributors of data on the forum would be identified and offered free access to IMDb Pro facilities for the following year. In the year 2006, 150 contributors were identified and in the year 2010, 250 were identified.

In the year 2008, a breakthrough development happened with the launch of the first ever foreign language version of the website. The website was German and it was named as IMDb.de. In the same year, IMDb had acquired Withoutabox as well as Box Office Mojo. Thus, as a subsidiary of Amazon.com, the website shot to even greater fame. This helped not only the reputation and goodwill of the company but also the workers, who were earlier working without stable payments. The whole agreement turned out to be a bliss to IMDb.

Television series and characters

Described as the biggest change to have been made in IMDb, Full Episode Support was launched in the year 2008. The feature went online and allowed users to post characters’ details of every episode in a television programme. This change brought a huge increase in the database of the website, as the number of titles has increased to 755000 from 48500. No wonder, it was the biggest change in the model of the database. The feature has brought to light those characters, who often play cameo or minor roles in the the series but remain uncited because of the unavailability of a feature like Full Episode Support.

Data Provided by subjects

Under this head, we shall talk one of the most exciting features of IMDb, which is Resume Identification Service that was introduced in the year 2006. Under this feature, IMDb allows actors, actresses, and other crew members to publish their own resume as well as photos of themselves. This could be done by payment of a yearly fee. Till the year 2010, the basic charge for opening an account with a photograph was $39.95, which was eventually increased to $54.95. As of the year 2012, the Resume Identification Service has become a part of the IMDbPro Subscription service and is therefore, no longer a distinct subscription service.

The Resume Identification Service is an excellent feature primarily because it will provide greater insights into the experience and achievements of the celebrities, who are only known by their face value or industry value. This service can immensely help the freshers to promote themselves to the world, which might eventually help them grab more projects. No wonder the world of IMDb is so star studded. Now let us move to other segment, which pertains to certain legal issues involving IMDb.

Copyright, error and vandalism issues

The whole matter of copyright works in this manner: The content donated is the copyright of the users, who donated it but the compilation of the data is the copyright of the IMDb with absolute right to make changes in the posts. For example, a plot summary can be edited on verification conducted by other contributors without having the need to add co-author. Unlike websites such as Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap, the content on IMDb is assessed by a section manager of IMDb. The manipulation of the content is controlled by none but IMDb. This has resulted in imputation of blame upon IMDb for adding untrue information at its own discretion.

There have been many errors reported in the working of IMDb and therefore, the Java Movie Database (abbreviated as JMDB) is developing an IMDb_Error.log file that shall enumerate all the errors on IMDb while assessing plain text files of IMDb. There exists a wiki alternative to IMDb, which is known as Open Media Database. In this data can be pooled in by users but is licensed by GFDL and CC-by. Thus, even IMDb is prone to technical irregularities and vandalism issues.

Data format

It must be noted that IMDb does not facilitate an API for the purpose of automated queries. Nonetheless, much of the data on IMDB can be easily downloaded in the form of compressed plain text files whereas the information can be easily extracted with the help of command-line interface tools. Additionally, there is also Graphical User Interface (abbreviated as GUI), which is based on Java. This application facilitates processing of compressed plain text files and searching of information. This application also provides support to different languages however, the content on movies and related data is in English.

Then, there is a Python package, which is known as IMDb PY that processes compressed plain text files into different SQL databases, thus allowing easier data mining. Now the website offers titles in not only English but also other languages such as Danish, Hungarian, Polish, Italian, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Finnish, German, and Romanian. In the year 2010, the website started allowing users from the United Kingdom and the United States of America to choose between display of original titles or release titles in the UK and the USA. The service in multiple languages has attracted users from across the non-English speaking countries.

Calculation of Rankings

The users are free to rate from 1 to 10, which are ultimately filtered into weighted mean. This is done to avoid ballot filtering as well. However, this system of calculation of overall ratings is considered flawed by many critics.

The following formula is used to calculate the weighted rating:

IMDB Full Form

Where, the variable w indicates weighted rating; R indicates an average for the movie or whatever category as a number from 0 to 10; v indicates the number of votes received for a movie on the website; m indicates minimum votes required to be 250 movies (which is presently 25000); C indicates the average votes across the entire report (which is presently 7.0). In this whole equation, W is equivalent to a Bayesian Posterior Mean.

While IMDb comes up with top 250 lists, it also produces list of bottom 100 features that is based on a similar process. The forum also organizes message boards, which are also known as the Soapbox that began operating in the year 1999. It allows users to engage in discussions on various subjects of the lists. The availability of these message boards makes the website more user-friendly and interactive. Now that we have discussed about various technicalities involved in IMDb, we shall move to the last segment for our discussion, which is the litigation history of the website.


Since the company is engaged in something such as rating and posts relating to movies, televisions series, and video games, litigation history is natural to be a part of its journey. Thus, IMDb is no such exception. It has been engaged in litigation on various issues involved. In the year 2011, IMBd faced a lawsuit by an anonymous actress for a sum amounting more than US$ 1 million because IMDb revealed her age (which was 40 at that time). The title of the case was Hoang v. Amazon.com.

In this the actress claimed that revelation of her age by the website has caused her loss of employment opportunities and therefore, she should be compensated. The lawsuit was dismissed on all other grounds but maintained that there was a breach of contract. The case is now under appeal. In the year 2011, Rovi Corporation filed a lawsuit against IMDb and Amazon.com in the case of United Video Properties Inc., et al v. Amazon.com over listings of programs. The case went in favor of the IMDb and Amazon.com though as of the year 2014, the case is on appeal.

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