I told you about the hundreds of WELL users who've pledged to buy the pioneering online community from its corporate owner Salon Media Group, now here's an update with a very interesting if somewhat ironic twist: Some of these same users have just formed The Well Group Inc., a California for-profit C corporation, with immediate goals being "to acquire ownership of The WELL; manage the transition; and establish a long-term plan for the ownership and management of The WELL." (If you have a WELL account, you can read about it here.) One of those ironies I mentioned: Now that the community supporters have a for-profit corporation, it might not be able to take the community's pledges. "We appreciate the many offers of donations, and will be factoring those into our long-term plan," the announcement explains, "though at this point we are still working with securities lawyers as to how, and if, we can accept them." However, there's also mention of having investors "who have provided what we hope is enough money to acquire The WELL," so that may be enough.
Beyond that, Earl Crabb, longtime host on The WELL who's now President and CEO of The Well Group Inc., is pretty mum on what comes next. If you're interested in contacting him (I imagine they're interested in more investment, partnership offers, etc.), e-mail him at (of course) esoft at well dot com.
By the way, you may want to read my Internet Revolution article on The WELL's downfall to its current state, "What Went Wrong With the WELL & Why It Matters", and how that might relate to another virtual community in a shaky place, "Will Second Life Go the Way of The WELL?"