Sausalito, CA — April 7, 1999 — The WELL (, the pioneering online discussion community known for its literate conversation and widespread influence, has been acquired by, publisher of the award-winning Salon Magazine (

The WELL will continue to operate as a distinct online community linked to, ushering in a new era on the acclaimed discussion site’s fourteenth birthday.

“How gratifying it is to join forces with Salon, and initiate the next chapter in the saga of The WELL,” said Gail Ann Williams, The WELL’s executive director. “The two companies complement each other superbly.”

The WELL, founded in April 1985 by Whole Earth Catalog publisher Stewart Brand and technologist Larry Brilliant, has been described as the world’s most influential online community.

Bruce Katz, who was the founder of Rockport Shoes, and who has been an active entrepreneur and investor in online endeavors for over 10 years, purchased The WELL in 1994, describing it as “a community of free minds.” Katz’s stewardship led The WELL’s adaptation to the Web. Now Katz is passing the torch to

“The WELL and Salon have a shared heritage of stimulating conversation,” said former WELL owner Bruce Katz. “The WELL, with its 200 plus hosted discussion areas is a great fit with Salon’s interest in enabling and developing online communities.”

The WELL today is a members-only gathering place dedicated to intelligent conversation. A unique and world-famous community of writers, technologists, thinkers and quirky pundits exchanges information and opinions on a variety of topics. The subject matter ranges from jazz to Java, from gardening to Generation X. Membership in The WELL, which includes unlimited participation in hundreds of conferences, with an optional WELL homepage and email account, costs $10 or $15 per month. has been widely recognized as one of the premiere content sites on the web covering news, technology, entertainment, books, parenting, sex, travel and health. has won most major Web awards including three straight Webby Awards (1997, 1998, 1999) along with Time Magazine’s “Web Site of the Year” in 1996, Entertainment Weekly’s “Best Web Site” for 1997 and 1998,’s sites average 1.2 million visitors and 13 million page views per month, and have attracted over 175 advertisers. is located at

Press Contact (April, 1999)

[media contact info now outdated]