IRC Network Woes
IRC is one of the primary methods for distributing scanlation, in 2005 almost all scanlation groups have their own IRC channel. Although in 2005 most groups can be found on IRCHighway, that was not always the case—several large migrations took place throughout the years that saw many groups jumping from IRC server to IRC server.
In the beginning, early scanlation groups like Mangascans, MangaProject and MangaScreener had their channel hosted on the network DALnet; following the established groups, new groups also created their own channel DALnet. The benefit of having the entire community located on one network meant that users could easily hop from channel to channel, as opposed to constantly switching servers to visit different group's channel. IRC became the main method used to distribute scanlation, and played a huge role in the early development of scanlation.
Unfortunately, the instability of DALnet caused many lag and connection problems and some groups switched to other networks like Aniverse and Wondernet. In 2003, due to DALnet's ban on file transfer, scanlation groups were forced to migrate to different networks. Most moved to mIRC-X (which was owned by the same owner of CJB.net).
A new period began that saw a majority of the scanlation groups located on mIRC-X. The IRC scene flourished. However, in 2003 Aniverse and mIRC-X were subjected to a series of DDoS (Distrubuted Denial of Service) attacks, forcing many groups (including many fansub groups) to move yet again. In 2004, mIRC-X was forced to shut down due to the sustained DDoS attack, and thus ended the era of mIRC-X.
Unlike the DAL.net exodus, groups went their separate ways after the fall of mIRC-X; some moved to Rizon, some moved to IRCtoo, some found a home on EnterTheGame and Wondernet. Most groups, however, slowly relocated to IRCHighway. By 2009, while some older channels can still be found on Rizon, a majority of the scanlation groups have moved to IRCHighway. The IRC scene once again flourished, and a large IRC-based communities like #lurk began forming.
In the early days, because #MangaProject and #ShoujoMagic were so big, when they moved to another server, many other groups followed suit to ensure that they are on the same network so visitors came to their channel as well. Hence why after mIRC-X went down and the "big two" moved to IRCHighway, everyone else moved to IRCHighway as well. About a month later ShoujoMagic decided to move to IRCtoo, but not many groups followed since everyone had just finished moving to IRCHighway. Since then most groups stayed on IRCHighway, and after a few years ShoujoMagic moved back to IRCHighway as well.