Internet Movie Database – Wikipedia: An interesting few paragraphs on the history of the IMDb.
The database started out in 1990 as a collection of shell scripts created by Col Needham which could be used to search the FAQs posted to the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.movies.
In 1993, a centralized e-mail interface for querying the database was created, and in 1994 this interface was extended to allow the submission of information as well. The database then moved to a Web-based interface, which initially ran on a network of mirrors with donated bandwidth. In 1996, the project was incorporated in the United Kingdom to form Internet Movie Database Ltd., and banner ads were added to the web site.
In April 1998, the company was bought by Amazon.com, the current owner; however, a number of the original creators, including Needham, remained as site managers.
How many great things in the world started as shell scripts somewhere? It’s a hacker’s world.