By Cory Doctorow at 3:44 pm Fri, Jun 29, 2012
Deeply saddened by the turn ov events on this situation it could have been so different had they chosen to listen to the forces that were allied with them and not decided to walk down the street to enter a new paradigm that nobody could make sense of, right?
Sad to hear this. My 15 years or so on the WeLL shaped my mind and soul in a million ways big and small. Nowhere else have I come close to feeling the same sense of endless possibility that an online community can have.
We miss you too, Cory.
Bummed. I just had a lovely afternoon dancing with a fellow deadhead I met on the WELL 25 years ago, and reconnected with another who I had met even two years earlier than that.
Were you at UCSC for the Grateful Dead archive opening? Lots of familiar faces there.
No surprise. Every year 24/7 Wall Street nominates 10 brands that will disappear in a years time and Salon has been named for the 2013 list. So it is trying to sell an acquisition it made that now has no value. Salon Media Group, in a financial filing, listed a subscriber base of about 2600 for the WELL, subscriptions which start at $100.
Who would buy it? Salon previously tried to sell the WELL but withdrew in 2006 with no credible buyers. I doubt prospects have improved.
Exactly, and then it doesn’t get much squickier than this email today:
With its roots going all the way back to the mid-1980’s, The WELL was a true pioneer of the digital age: one of the earliest virtual communities and a forerunner of today’s ubiquitous social networks.
However, as part of the company’s review of its strategic objectives, we have determined that The WELL no longer aligns with our business plans and accordingly we are exploring transferring The WELL to new management.
The WELL has played a central role in the origin of countless creative endeavors and cultural movements and it’s safe to say there will never be another online community quite like it. Many of you have been active in The WELL since these early days and have played major roles in keeping the community active and engaging. We deeply admire and appreciate that engagement, and will keep you informed as this process develops.
CEO, Salon Media Group
Salon couldn’t sell ice to Tahitians. If they lose Glenn Greenwald it’s tits-up for them.
if the 2600 is paying subscribers that’s over a quarter million dollars a year to run what appears to be essentially a discussion board (disclaimer: not a well user, just looked briefly…) that’s worth something.
Yeah, it’s basically keeping the lights on and the backups rotated for a virtualized Solaris box in someone’s cloud.
Cory, I understand folks are working hard to come up with the money to keep the lights on for the conference system, if not keeping the domain name. I live in rural Pennsylvania. Being on the Well literally saved my life. I was not destined to go onto bigger and better things like many of the luminaries who passed through over the years. When I came out, it was the folks on The Well that showed me that it is fine to be gay, this back when other role models were scarce. The technical conversations with other programmers and sysadmins, the political arguments, the — shall I say it “friends” I have made there have helped me to become much more successful than a high-school dropout should be. The denizens there lived with me as my kid grew into adulthood. I lived with them through years of posts that had real names on them, history, and a very real reality that there was another person on the other side of the screen. Best 20 bucks a month I have ever spent. For some of us, it is still the glory days.
So, do I get it right that the WELL is attractive because of its highly qualified user base? So the business model is basically charging people to be part of a club of other smart people, a club that wouldn’t exist in the first place without the smart people who are paying members? Sounds like easy earned money.
I kept a WeLL address for 15 years. Heck, I still cherish my WeLL/Grateful Dead “Press Space to Continue” t-shirt. It will be a sad day to see the WeLL go down for the last time.
Can’t they just migrate to another forum?
Let’s buy the WELL, we should start a kickstarter project an revive it!
I left after the first buyer fired all the support people who helped me get on the new net.
According to the article, Salon fired all the staff. It’s flying on its own right now…
I was so glad to be shut of The WELL after I left. So many a-holes, so much time wasted. It’s long past time for it to die.
I learned to ignore idiots on the WELL. But I regret the time wasted very much.
I’m sorry for those few who were hounded to their death on the WELL by nasty little people.
So I’ll raise a toast to the end of the WELL because it is so long past its time.
Kevin Mitnick seems to be doing well these days. I think he should buy it as the ultimate irony/insult, especially since they refused him membership a few years back!
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