John.com was a mysterious website which contained several stock images, which when clicked upon prompted the user for a password.
What We Do Know.
To this day, no one has ever figured out any of the passwords or the purpose for the site.
Its existence stumped internet users for years, and questions about it still remain today even now that the site no longer exists.
So what was John.com, and what was the purpose of it?
If you want to see the site yourself, the last proper snapshot of the site on the Wayback Machine dates to January 15, 2017.
When opened, you see 15 stock images in 5 categories: hats, shoes, tools, vehicles and animals.
Clicking any of these images takes you to a login page asking you to “Enter Access Code.”
In the site’s history, none of these access codes were ever discovered.
The theories about the site ran rampant. Was it an escort service?
A piracy server like Mortis.com? Or even worse, was it a child trafficking’s ring?
A Reddit user was able to dig up who owned the site: a man named John Little, who was the founder of an early internet service called Portal.
They discovered that the registration data for the site had been unchanged since at least the year 2000, meaning John owned the site for at least 12 years.
It is a high-level domain, meaning it is worth a large amount of money.
Another Redditor theorized that John snapped up the domain early on, hoping he could sell it at a later date, and put the pictures there as a placeholder or simply to mess with visitors.
Yet another Reddit user looked into the site’s coding and figured out that if the password had been cracked, the site would simply send an email, presumably to John himself for some unknown purpose.
Meanwhile, some users reported getting scam emails from addresses at john.com, but it’s possible these could have been spoofed.
Oddly, an email sent to [email protected] in 2016 was included in the WikiLeaks Podesta emails. It seems to be an automatic response, so perhaps it was sent in response to one of these scam emails.
According to a WhoIs search, John appears to no longer own the domain, and hasn’t since 2012.
Given the monetary worth of four-letter domain names, and especially considering how common a name John is, the domain was probably highly sought after and there’s a good chance he made a pretty penny off of selling it.
The odd thing is that despite the site transferring owners in 2012, it was still in the mysterious state with the stock images and password prompts up until 2017. Why the new owner would keep the site like this is completely unknown.
Here is the current WhoIs info on the domain registrar:
- Name:PERFECT PRIVACY, LLC
- Street:5335 Gate Parkway care of Network Solutions PO Box 459
- Postal Code:32256
- Email:[email protected]
The current registrar is hidden with a privacy shielding service, and the site currently does not work at all, so there is some mystery as to who currently owns the domain and whatever they plan to do with it is still unknown.
It is unlikely, however, that once in use again, the site will contain anything as mysterious and interesting as the previous iteration.
For older internet users who remember the mystery of the site fondly, it is a bit of a shame that it is gone. But it will always be remembered for its strange setup, intrigue, and silly collection of stock images.