Electric Minds, a leading US online magazine, is danger of closing down after having lost the backing of its main investor Softbank.
The news has many in the online community questioning the financial viability of online magazines. Founder Howard Reingold, who coined the term "virtual community", said that unless further funding is secured soon, the service will close down.
Softbank, which has software and publishing interests worldwide, invested $1 million in the site to bring about its launch last October. The company decided not to make further funding available because levels of traffic were not satisfactory.
Electric Minds laid off 10 staff in April and has since been running with only two staff, working without pay.
Electric Minds has developed a strong following since it teamed with IBM to host discussions on the Kasparov vs Deep Blue (IBM computer) chess contest. It received 1.5 million hits in the first week of the match.
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