The 35 Year History of Masscot Internet
How an idea became one of the oldest and longest running website design and web hosting businesses in the world. It is right here on Cape Cod.
When John McDonald first discovered computers in 1984, he had no idea that it would lead him to become the founder of one of the longest running website design and web hosting companies in the world, Masscot Internet. It all started when he visited a Radio Shack store in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and noticed the store manager demonstrating something called a computer.
It Started With a Computer
Intrigued, John started watching and eventually bought his own computer, a Tandy 2000 and a little later a modem. This opened up a whole new world to him. He became connected in ways he never imagined and soon learned everything he could about the internet, bulletin board services, news groups, online forums, and eventually something called CompuServe where he first discovered email.
Then a Cell Phone
In 1987, John got his first cellphone. It was a GE Bag Phone, from his employer who wanted to be able to reach him quickly whenever needed. It was half the size of a car battery, weighed almost as much, at least seemed that way, was difficult to use when it even worked, and the battery was used up quickly.
In 1988, John received a job offer back in his home area on Cape Cod and decided to take it, despite the substantial pay cut. Upon his arrival he quickly realized that there was no cell service on Cape Cod and hardly anyone had computers yet. All the technology he had come to rely on had not even reached Cape Cod yet. It was like he was back in time.
Started as a Second Job
To fill the pay gap, John decided it was a suitable time to start selling computers and developing some ideas he had about connecting companies online. He hoped to help bring the Cape’s technology up to the level he enjoyed in Florida. He received his business license as Masscot Information Services in the fall of 1988. He wanted to start a local CompuServe type service.
CompuServe Became a Customer
John soon made a deal with CompuServe to scan photos for their Entertainment forum. In a few days, a package of 200 8”x10” celebrity photos arrived for him to start scanning along with packages of floppy discs to record them on for mailing back. The Internet was too slow back then to send online and CompuServe became one of Masscot’s very first customers.
Bulletin Board Services – BBS
John also got appointed as an assistant SYSOP (Systems Operator) of a new local BBS called Hyperlight that gave him the practical experience of providing the kinds of services he had planned to do for himself. And so, it went for the first 5 years.
Website Design on World Wide Web?
In 1993, John stumbled upon an article on CompuServe about something called the World Wide Web. He realized that this was exactly what he had planned to do locally on Cape Cod five years before, except this World Wide Web thing was much, much bigger.
He started exploring and learned how to make home pages and made his first home page. Before long, orders for web site designs started coming as fast as he could build them. John was hosting his websites on a hosting company in Ohio. He realized that he was spending a lot more money hosting his sites on someone else’s servers than if he got his own server.
Web Hosting too
In 1996, John saw an ad showing a beautiful young woman on a beach with a laptop and a big smile on her face, and a caption which said “Become a web host, and you can work from anywhere.” The idea looked awful good! He answered the ad, signed a contract to lease a server in Baltimore and started becoming his own webhosting called Masscot.com.
For a while, Masscot was a website design and development company, an ISP called Masscot.net, and a hosting company and he started registering domain names. This all happened in the first ten years in business.
In 2000, a DY high school student named Nick Zuev started helping out and he never left. He is still here today and is in charge of custom programming and development.
In 2006, Serhiy Hryva, who at the time was also a DY High school student, joined John and Nick and kept on working to help pay for his college tuition and after graduation he stayed on too. Serhiy has designed almost every website built by Masscot website for many years.
Today, John, Nick, and Serhiy are partners in running Masscot Internet. John spends most of his time in sales, support, and SEO but still helps with some of the web design and development work with Serhiy and does most of the copywriting.
Through hard work and determination, John McDonald built Masscot Internet from the ground up, and it continues to thrive today. It is a testament to the power of entrepreneurship and the endless possibilities of the internet.