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Out on the Web

AS A GRADUATE STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF Michigan, David Bohnett — founder of the GeoCities Web site, philanthropist and one of the latest in the string of supersize millionaires spawned by the Internet — found himself staffing a gay crisis phone line. “In those days,” he says, “that's what gay activism was: You worked on a crisis line.” Admitting to be gay often brought on feelings of unbearable isolation and even thoughts of suicide, he remembers.

“You could identify with that desperate voice on the other end who felt like he was all alone,” Bohnett, 43, remembers. “By listening,

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