A number of manga translation and scanlation projects existed well before 2000. However, most of these projects were individual efforts, and the little scanlation out there (commonly referred to as fanscan back then) were mostly unorganized and low in quality. Mangascans was originally a hentai and doujin site created by darkshard sometime around 1999. The site distributed hentai and doujinshi works on a free webhost that came with a lot of pop up ads, but in time gained its own share of following.
In 2000, darkshard, seeing that there were already many fansubs groups out there but no organized group dedicated to manga, decided to create a group that would be dedicated to scanning and translating manga, and so the first modern scanlation group was born.
Started around April 2000. This site was the founder and first of manga fansub group on the internet. Its been many years before this time, that I've always wondered why there were so many anime fansub groups but no manga fansub groups around, which was why I decided to set one up. We are the first manga group that started a manga series and completely finish the series. Starting with I''s, DNA^2, then finally Love Hina. Quality wasn't really a priority back then. In fact, the I''s Manga project finished in just 2 months. From MANGASCANS ashes many such fansub groups have grown. Most, now using our favourite manga editing font, wildword.
When the scanlation group was officially formed, the site was split into an adult section and a non-adult section. darkshard gathered translators, scanners and editors and coordinated all projects through email. In no time Mangascans grew to a 30 people group. Mangascans was the first of its kind to organize multiple people into working on the same project and scanlate a manga series from start to finish. The projects Mangascans worked on, I''s, DNA^2 and Love Hina, were distributed on isscans.cjb.net, dna2scans.cjb.net and lhscans.cjb.net respectively. Mangascans also continued to provide various doujin works and hentai doujins on its home page.
After Mangascans was formed, the group met in the IRC channel #mangascans on DAL.net, a meeting place for many like-minded individuals. Most translators and scanlators at the time had no IRC channel of their own, so the channel was a public channel where scanlators went to distribute their work. People gathered in #mangascans to talk about manga and obtain the latest releases from Mangascans and others.
Many people volunteered to help Mangascans, one of them was ZlleH. In no time ZlleH became an important staff and helped darkshard run Mangascans. As time went on, ZlleH felt that conversation between staff on scanlation projects interfered with general manga discussion in #mangascans, so together with Ichijo, the two formed a new channel at #MangaProject.
The new channel was intended to focus on project discussions between staff, and was only known to Mangascans members. After ZlleH released a new project from #MangaProject and subsequently created a website at mangaprojects.com and mangaproject.cjb.net, the group MangaProject, led by ZlleH and Ichijo, officially came into existence. Coincidentally, around this time Mangascans also finished scanlating Love Hina, and most of its staff, including darkshard, moved on to MangaProject, resulting in the demise of Mangascans.