Howard Rheingold, founder and former chief executive of online community Electric Minds
, today said he signed a deal to produce and host an online conference under the aegis of his former company.
E-Minds' domain name and intellectual property were acquired by Durand Communications in July for an undisclosed amount after the start-up company ran out of money. At that time, both Durand CEO Andre Durand and Rheingold made it clear that the founder would still play an active role in E-Minds but offered no specifics.
That role now includes creating the Host University, an online community aimed at recruiting and training hosts for Durand's virtual community service.
Durand is responsible for providing the backbone technology to the community.
Rheingold's expertise and experience in hosting an online community will be combined with Durand's conferencing technology to provide tricks and techniques to would-be chat-room hosts.
Rheingold likened a well-trained online host to a party host: "They invite people, they introduce people, they keep conversations moving, and if there's trouble, they deal with it."
The announcement of Rheingold's expanded role at Durand comes at a time when the future of collaborations between E-Minds and Durand is still under negotiation.
"Durand, in cooperation with the E-Minds community, is defining the level of integrated participation between the two and the financial model between the two," Andre Durand said.