Published: 12:24, 06 August 2008
With the Beijing Olympics finally here, 16-year-old James Wildish is dreaming of playing his part in the 2012 London games.
As a talented runner, he hopes one day it will be him standing on the winner’s rostrum.
In the meantime, there’s the small matter of earning internet millions.
James only invented his Boogami online search engine to pay off his parents’ mortgage.
Now the Paddock Wood youngster could become a millionaire and threaten the worldwide dominance of Google and Yahoo!
James, a Year 12 student at Hugh Christie Technology College, Tonbridge, has been a whizz with computers from an early age.
He was so worried that the rising cost of everything, especially the mortgage, was putting a strain on the family’s finances, that he looked for a way of using his computer skills to pay off the bills.
In his search, he stumbled on an idea that promises to take the web world by storm. He noticed that a young American entrepreneur Alex Tew had made a million dollars by selling online pixel advertising but James felt his website did not encourage users to pay frequent visits.
The solution, he believed, was to link a pixel grid to a search engine. After many months of hard work, he created Boogami.com, a name dreamt up with Paul Herbert, the boss of French-based Where on Earth which is helping James with IT, PR and marketing.
“That name fell out of the air because it’s short, modern and quite new,” he said.
James has already sold advertising worth £40,000 at £1 a pixel and Boogami is being recommended by many internet users.
Modest James says he did not set out to become a celebrity or a millionaire. He just wanted to make Boogami well known.
“The intention was to pay off mum and dad’s mortgage,” he said. “I’m not really fussed if I don’t get anything out of it for me.”
He can always turn to his athletics. As a talented member of Tonbridge Athletics Club, he has already run the 400m in 51.9secs and hopes to come into the reckoning for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
James lives with dad David, 63, mum Deborah, 47, and sister Rebecca, 12. Mr Wildish said they were very proud of James and joked that they might eventually become his lodgers. “But there’s a lot of hard work and a long way to go before we get to that point,” he said.
Speaking from Bordeaux, France, Mr Herbert said: “James is a very clever boy. This could become serious competition for Google and Yahoo! because the search engine works and it’s got a good story behind it. Somebody like James only comes along once every 20 years.”