But that irony may have a darker, deeper layer: Mother Jones has uncovered that Jim Watkins, the owner of 8chan and its successor site, 8kun, controls a company that hosted scores of domains whose names suggest they are connected to child pornography.
While Mother Jones did not visit the domains because of strict laws related to viewing child sex abuse material, internet registration and hosting data suggest at a minimum that Watkins profited from domains with names explicitly related to pedophilia—the very thing that QAnon followers say that they’re motivated to end. The domains’ names include terms such as “preteen,” “schoolgirl,” and “child” alongside graphic terms for genitalia and words like “rape” and “love.” It’s unclear what, if anything, is currently being served at the domains. However, an analysis of metadata collected years ago from one by archive.org shows dozens of filenames and links containing highly suggestive terms, including “xxxpreteen,” “children,” and sexual references to girls aged 12 to 15.
Some of the domains date back to the late 1990s and may no longer be active, while others currently resolve to IP addresses controlled by Watkins’ company, N.T. Technology, according to records compiled by Farsight Security, a cybersecurity company that archives historical routing data detailing relationships among domain names, IP addresses, name servers, and other digital assets.
One domain created in 1998 and hosted by N.T. Technology, which bills itself as “a powerhouse in the internet world, [s]upporting some of the largest sites on Earth,” lists Watkins as its administrator and names a separate holding company he owns, Is It Wet Yet Inc., as the administration organization. According to historical domain and web archive records, the domain has, over the years, been associated with dozens of subdomains—more specific and focused offshoots of the main domain—whose names combine terms like “preteen,” “kidnap,” and “rape.” They include a comprehensive system of subdomains referencing age ranges as young as 10. When asked about the specific domain, Watkins said “I have really no idea about” it.
Beyond owning the company that hosted them, Watkins said he has no direct link to any of the domains, despite his companies’ email and his name showing up on registrations for several of them. “There’s probably 30 or 40,000 domain names associated with my name. Very few of them I have had anything to do with,” he said. Watkins speculated that he “would have been arrested long ago,” if he were involved in distributing child porn.