Here's The Well's "State of the World 2021"

Originally published at:

Holy Cow. The Well still exists?

[edit] I see from their website that they no longer provide dial-up internet access, but I also see that their pricing structure does not seem to reflect that…


I’m not only shocked that The WELL still exists, but that anybody gives them any relevance.

And, holy shit, those prices …

When I was a teenager and would spend my days and nights on BBSes, The WELL was one of those places that was gated off because I couldn’t afford/justify their fees. Now I just can’t be bothered to care.


It wasn’t just the fees, you had to connect. Unless you lived nearby, you’d have to make long distance calls, or use a system that packetized you locally (I can’t remember the name) and which cost separately.

I knew I’d be good online, but the cost kept me offline. Some of the magazines that had space on an online service would annoy me so much, they’d dedicate space to what was going online, but never details.

I still have the program from the 1984 Seva benefiit somewhere (Grateful Dead and a reformed The Band) and it even acknowledges Larry Brilliant or the networking firm that he started (and which caused The Well).

Katie Hafner had a book about the Well, but I never got around to buying it.

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The WELL was a local call for me so I could have participated but the pay to play format drove me away. I don’t feel like I missed a whole lot. There were so many excellent (and free) BBSes in the SF Bay Area I was never wanting for good message boards or live chats.

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