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The Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link Sold To Its Members 36

New submitter nadaou sends this quote from the NY Times: "One of the earliest online communities, The WELL, has a new owner: its members. On Thursday evening, Salon Media Group, the previous owner of The WELL, said it had sold the community to the Well Group, a private investment group consisting of longtime members of the community, which was founded in 1985, long before the rise of the Web."
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The Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link Sold To Its Members

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  • Back to the roots (Score:4, Insightful)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Friday September 21, 2012 @12:09PM (#41412121) Homepage Journal

    Slashdot was more than a little influenced by WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link), and today's WELL web interface (there's also a telnet interface) looks more than a little like Slashdot did when it first started.

    I for one am proud of my address, and welcome our new wellpern overlords.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    All 2000 of them

    Does anything even still happen at The WELL?

  • by SJ2000 ( 1128057 ) on Friday September 21, 2012 @12:12PM (#41412149) Homepage
    Is someone giving us a less than subtle hint?
    • Don't be silly. There's money to be made. This site is a pre-sorted demographic pool for advertisement exploitation. *rolls eyes*
      • >> This site is a pre-sorted demographic pool for advertisement exploitation.

        What do basement-dwelling troglodytes buy anyhow?

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          What do basement-dwelling troglodytes buy anyhow?

          Anything found on its (now formerly) sister site [], plus servers, UPSes and pizza.

        • The essentials that enable their habitation of said basement. i.e. Cheetos, pizza, energy drinks, microwaves, refrigerators, delivery services, computer hardware, software, pacification gifts for mom, etc.
    • The purchase price was $20 million, IIRC; hope you know how to make it rain big time.
      • That was including SourceForge and FreeCode too. I bet Slashdot isn't worth much compared to SourceForge.

        To play imaginary maths- if Slashdot had 10,000 members, and the price was $5,000,000, then that'd be a $500 price tag per person. Still too much, but not crazily out of reach. How many active users do you think Slashdot has these days?

  • by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Friday September 21, 2012 @12:25PM (#41412287)
    In the UK we still have CIX which predates the well a little and hopefully has more than 2000 members but it's a shadow of it's former glory when it counted Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett amongst its regular users. []
    • Actually, CIX was just after the Well, it's precursor was pre Well. Apols.
    • I remember CIX being announced, with it being made clear in Personal Computer World et al that CIXs inspiration was Byte's BIX network. (Read on before responding it couldn't be because BIX was from 1985, and CIX 1983. CIX did NOT exist in 1983. I'll explain.)

      Some sources put CIX at two years older than BIX making the above look... odd. However, those sources kinda confuse the history. CIX was a replacement for an existing FidoNet BBS. The FidoNet BBS that CIX replaced dated to 1983. The replacement, wit

    • It is, however, gaining members and activity again.

      After a long period of gentle stagnation, it was acquired a year ago by an internet company with a long experience of Cix and its community, and is now enjoying something of a revival. We're all fairly optimistic about its future again!

      (I'm gidds@cix, and spend more time there than here or anywhere else. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for interesting, intelligent, wide-ranging discussion.)

      • by gidds ( 56397 )
        P.S. I meant to say: I hope the WELL's new ownership brings them similar reason for optimism!
  • I had a Well account back when it was on a VAX/750 and you paid by the hour. But it's been a long time since the Well mattered.

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Friday September 21, 2012 @02:06PM (#41413463) Homepage Journal

    Wired, May 1997 - The Epic Saga of The Well []

    McClure shared an office with someone from the Whole Earth Software Catalog. His computer, a Compaq, sat on a piece of white plywood board; he cadged a stenographer's chair from the Whole Earth office. It was high tech in the middle of funk, and funk wasn't the ideal setting in which to launch a cutting-edge enterprise. The building had no insulation to speak of, and the roof leaked. In the summer the office was an inferno, and in the winter the temperature indoors dipped into the 50s. The computer room, a modified closet, was just big enough for the disk drive and CPU cabinets. A window-mounted air conditioner -- the largest unit Sears sold -- cooled the VAX.

  • ... sane conversations..... Who'd thought? Oh wait... Do I get paid to think?

  • Like how much the sale was for, and how many paying members are there?

Matter cannot be created or destroyed, nor can it be returned without a receipt.