The purpose of this project was to determine the reactions of the internet public to lack of information.
The domain eon8.com was chosen, as it is short, easily remembered, and eon9 was already registered.
It was originally posted on www.msfn.org, but was promptly removed as 'spam'. It was enough time for it to be copied to other forums throughout December 2005.
We were amazed to discover that the site was instantly linked with terrorism, simply for the fact that it seems mysterious. Evil was the number one first impression people had of the site, in spite of the fact that there are no threats on the site. The only thing Eon 8 says is "We don't want you here". Nothing else.
Other less disappointing opinions were social experimentation (which was correct), James Bond movie viral marketing, and promotions for video games.
For many people, being faced with a countdown timer was an instant reason to try to shut down or hack the site. This is a worrying reaction, that if someone doesn't understand something they must destroy it. As a result, the servers have been hit quite hard these last few days, but luckily 99% of the 'hackers' could easily be described as 'l4me n00bs'.
Another worrying example of paranoia was how quickly people would jump to conclusions, such as telephoning the registered owner of a dog seen in a photograph on a server that hosts a page that links to eon8.
The folks at Unfiction.com were the most resourceful and inventive, they successfully managed to decrypt several of the 'codes' on the site, forcing them to be re-encrypted using more secure methods.
What about eon5.com?
Nothing to do with us. Pure coincidence, but worked in our favor.
What about the 8th eon being the end of the world?
We picked Eon 8 because Eon 9 was already taken. We didn't know about the significance of this. Eon is a cool sounding word!
Why July 1st?
We didn't know how long it would take to get the word out using our subtle promotion methods. We allowed over 6 months.
What do the codes on the site mean?
They're mostly randomly generated integers encrypted with md5, but with certain letters removed and replaced. The Logs page is simply based on the current timestamp, encrypted and modified. You can't decrypt them, they really are random numbers.
What is the Deployment Map?
They're dots placed over major cities and several random locations, it was done mostly from memory. The random gif filename is an added touch to force a slight delay on loading, which looks more impressive in Internet Explorer, but not as much in Firefox.
What's the password?
There isn't one. If you did somehow manage to get in, you'd see an empty folder with a single text file that says "This is a decoy folder. Please connect to the internal secure network".
Can I see your website statistics?
Yes, click here.
Are you anything to do with Scientology?
Did you see anything talking about a Free Personality Test or Xenu? Use your brain.
Who are you, really?
The most I can tell you is I am a 23 year old web designer from Florida named Mike. I can't narrow it down anymore than that. When I say 'we', I really mean 'me'.
People take things too seriously and panic over the most trivial things. But at the same time there are many people out there who think things through without jumping to conclusions. You can't let pointless speculation rule your lives and force you to live in fear.
Thanks to everyone who kept things interesting, especially to the folks at unfiction. Sorry there is no ARG for you to play, but at least you had fun while it lasted.
Click here for one Final Message from Eon 8 [[linked to an mp3: http://www.eon8.com/eon21b.mp3.. Monty Python "Look on the bright side of life" clip :D ]]
Happy birthday, mtcaptain. From 'ls224' (aka x21b). Yes that really was me in the #eon-8 channel
[[image of... fireman holding cat? o.O NEDM?]]
There's a few factors worth pointing out, however. First, the background of the site was black... would it have invoked the same paranoid ("It's a terrorist! ...abet, a stupid one, but yeah...") response with a white background? Or any other color? And I think the image of the world contributed to the terrorist fear too.