Type of site
|former shock site|
Goatse.cx (/ / or //; "goat sex"), often referred to simply as "Goatse", was originally an Internet shock site. Its front page featured a picture, entitled hello.jpg, showing a naked man stretching his anus with both hands, to approximately the width of his fist. The inside of his rectum is also clearly visible. Below his anus, his penis and scrotum are visible, as well as a golden ring on the ring finger of his left hand. This site became a notorious surprise image and Internet meme, and was—and, through external hosting, still is—used regularly for bait-and-switch pranks, preventing hot-linking in a hostile manner, and defacing websites, in order to provoke extreme reactions. Even though the image from the site was taken down in 2004, its mirrored image is widespread throughout the Internet. The site has changed owners, and was set to be used to host email addresses which never materialized.
- "Receiver", the main index page, contained the titular hello.jpg image. The image, originally named gap3.jpg, originates from a set of 40 images called gap.zip, showing a man using dildos and butt plugs to stretch his anus. The 40 images including the main hello.jpg image were "located by the Stile Project" and were available from the "Contrib" section of the Goatse.cx website.
- "Giver", a photo-edited photograph of a man reclining on a boat with an anatomically impossible penis reaching up to his chest, suggesting that the man in the first image is stretching his anus to accommodate the giant penis.
- A Feedback page containing user emails.
- The "Contrib" page, a collection of homages and parodies of the Goatse images sent in by users.
The index page also contains a disclaimer about the content ("...if you are under the age of 18 or find this photograph offensive, please don't look at it. Thank you!") and a disclaimer warning about unofficial Goatse.cx merchandise, re-assuring that official Goatse.cx merchandise would be made available. Newer versions of the site had links to dolphinsex.org and urinalpoop.org, while older versions linked to biganal.com.
Domain suspension and sale of domain name
On January 14, 2004, the domain name goatse.cx was suspended by Christmas Island Internet Administration for Acceptable Use Policy violations in response to a complaint, but many mirrors of the site are still available, remaining on display on many other websites. A Christmas Island resident named Rhonda Clarke filed the complaint that resulted in the suspension of Goatse.cx's domain name.
In January 2007, the Christmas Island Internet Administration put the domain Goatse.cx back into the available domain pool. The domain was subsequently registered on January 16 through domain registrar Variomedia, and the registrant tried to auction the right to use the domain.
An early attempt to offer the domain for sale by SEOBidding placed the reserve at $120, which was not met.
The Goatse.cx domain name was reportedly sold at an auction on April 30, 2007 to an unknown bidder. According to SEOBidding.com, the first auction ended with fake bids so the auction was reactivated. This was again won by fake bidders, so in July SEOBidding.com announced that the website would be sold for $500,000 and that legal action would be pursued against the fake bidders. On November 25, 2007, and continuing as of June 2010, the site was still for sale, listed as: "goatse.cx Asking: $50200 minimum".
The October 21, 2009 edition of the Rick Latona "Daily Domains" newsletter advertised the Goatse.cx domain for sale at an asking price of $15,000, noting it as being a "famous site, [with] tons of backlinks".[not in citation given]
As of May 16, 2010, the site was once again active, containing an announcement stating:
"Goatse.cx 'Stinger' 2.0 Beta is coming
Only 24 days to go until Goatse Stinger 2.0 goes beta on May 9, 2010!"
The page showed a stylized representation of hello.jpg, which featured a pair of silver robotic hands 'stretching' a metallic, circular wall aperture in what appears to be a futuristic factory setting. Later in May, a new page was hosted at Goatse.cx, for the stated purpose of offering email service at the site, featuring a sketch with hands spreading wide a view onto a mailing envelope.
In July 2011, goatse.cx remained unchanged while www.goatse.cx began redirecting to a Web Hosting company.
As of November 2012[update], it was announced that the goatse.cx domain had been acquired by a new owner, who was advertising a forthcoming webmail service that use to give users access to goatse.cx email addresses.
Reception and parodies
Because many Internet users have been tricked into viewing the site or a mirror of the site at one time or another, it has become an Internet meme. On November 24, 2000, the Goatse "giver" and "receiver" images were posted to the official online Oprah Winfrey Message Boards in the Soul Stories board. Trystan T. Cotten and Kimberly Springer, authors of Stories of Oprah: the Oprahfication of American Culture, said that this "seemingly considerable male intrusion drove many of the women elsewhere, and the board was retired shortly afterwards". Slashdot altered its threaded discussion forum display software because "users made a sport out of tricking unsuspecting readers into visiting [Goatse.cx]". The Los Angeles Times Wikitorial was introduced on June 17, 2005, to be a publicly accessible method of directly responding to the paper's editorials; Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales had consulted on the project, and on its first day contributed a "forking" of the page to accommodate opposing opinions. Prior to the feature's introduction, L.A. Times editorial and opinion editor Michael Kinsley stated that "Wikitorials may be one of those things that within six months will be standard. It's the ultimate in reader participation". The wiki was closed two days later on June 19, 2005, because, The Guardian reported, "explicit images known as Goatses appeared on [it]".
"it's ... the spectacle of the thing, right? You really want to be there when the person is seeing it. To the extent that there's all these sites online of sort of people taking pictures of their friends and showing them Goatse..." [In photos online,] "It's like thousands and thousands of people looking really shocked or disgusted. It's really great."
The Goatse.cx image has been used by website authors to discourage other sites from hot-linking to them. By replacing the hot-linked image with an embarrassing image when hot-linking has been discovered, an unsubtle message is sent to the offending website's operators, visible to all who view the web page in question. In 2007, Wired.com hot-linked to another site in an article about the "sexiest geeks of 2007"; the site subsequently swapped the hot-linked image with one from Goatse.cx.
Following Hurricane Charley in August 2004, a photograph purporting to show "the hands of God" in the cloud formations in the aftermath of the disaster circulated via email. The image was eventually proven to be a parody, the clouds having been photo-manipulated to include hands, as in the hello.jpg image.
Disc images supposedly containing a leaked Mac OS X build, OSx86, which could run on standard "x86 architecture" computers, were distributed during 2005 on BitTorrent filesharing networks. But rather than load the expected Mac OS, the discs reportedly displayed the Goatse image when booted.
In The Long Tail (2008) Chris Anderson wrote that Goatse.cx is well-known only to a relatively small Internet-using "subcultural tribe" who reference it as a "shared context joke" or "secret membership code." Anderson cited a photo accompanying an "otherwise innocuous article" about Google in the June 2, 2005 The New York Times, in which Anil Dash wore a T-shirt emblazoned with stylized hands stretching out the word "Goatse".
In June 2007, a proposed sketch of the 2012 Summer Olympics logo appeared on the BBC News 24 broadcast and website as one of the 12 best viewer-submitted alternatives to the official logo. In it, two hands stretched the "0" wide in "2012", as the submitter wrote, "to reveal the Olympics". The sketch was later shown as part of a gallery of viewers logos on BBC London News and BBC News 24, and was subsequently removed from the website. The editor of the BBC News website acknowledged the mistake in his blog, saying his team "simply didn’t spot it".
In June 2010, a group of computer experts known as Goatse Security exposed a flaw in AT&T's security which allowed the e-mail addresses of iPad users to be revealed. A member of the group was interviewed by the media and discussed the group's name, among other things. The group uses a stylized cartoon of the cropped Goatse.cx image as their logo and has the motto "Gaping Holes Exposed".
The Register reported that Scottish TV News, while reporting on a hacking incident, unintentionally broadcast a link to Goatse images while showing the LulzSec Twitter feed on the victim site, which read, "For anyone that doesn't know what goatse is, check it out here, it's really eye-opening: [link]".
Goatse in US jurisprudence
On 20 September 2013, the US Government filed a response brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in the case United States v. Auernheimer, which involved the access of AT&T customers' email addresses by Goatse Security. The brief explains on page three that "The firm’s name is a reference to a notoriously obscene internet shock site" and includes a footnote which reads "For a more graphic description, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goatse." The fact that a brief filed in a U.S. federal appellate court linked to a page about Goatse, even if only a Wikipedia article, caused a stir on social media.
- Kirkpatrick, Stewart (June 9, 2004). "Lazy Guide to Net Culture: NSFW". The Scotsman. Retrieved June 15, 2010. Links to complaint.
- gap.zip Goatse.cx, circa 2002. Archived from the original December 7, 2002.
- "The Receiver" Goatse.cx 2004. Archived from the original January 9, 2004.
- "The Receiver" Goatse.cx 1999. Archived from the original October 12, 1999.
- "The Receiver" Goatse.cx 2000. Archived from the original December 2, 2000.
- Miller, Garth (January 12, 2004). "Notice Regarding AUP Complaint Version 1.1 (redacted)" (PDF). Christmas Island Internet Administration. Archived from the original on May 31, 2004.
- .cx – Christmas Island (.cx ccTLD) Acceptable Use Policy. Council of Country Code Administrators. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
- "Goatse.cx 2003". Archived from the original on June 23, 2003. Retrieved May 8, 2007.
- Variomedia AG – Domain-Registrierung, Webhosting, Reseller Official website. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
- Portail d'informations Ce site est en vente! (French) (Site content no longer present.)
- "SEOBidding goatse.cx Auction Listing". SEOBidding.com. April 2007. Archived from the original on April 10, 2007. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
- Brownlee, John (April 24, 2007). "Goatse.cx Now For Sale!". blogs.wired.com. Condé Nast Digital. Retrieved May 8, 2007.
- "SEOBidding goatse.cx Auction Listing". Archived from the original on July 13, 2007. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
- Rick Latona (October 21, 2009) Rick Latona website Daily Domains Newsletter; ricklatona.com. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
- "Goatse.cx Mail is coming. Get YourName(at)goatse.cx!". goatse.cx. Archived from the original on May 25, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- "Redirect". webfaction.com. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- Lee Hutchinson (November 19, 2012). "How goatse.cx went from shock site to webmail service". Ars Technica. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
- Johnson, Bob (December 2, 2004). "The Goatse Prank". zug.com. Media Shower Inc. Archived from the original on December 17, 2004. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
- Cotten, Trystan T.; Springer, Kimberly (2009). Stories of Oprah: the Oprahfication of American culture. University Press of Mississippi. pp. 59–60, 63. ISBN 978-1-60473-407-2.
- Snyder, Chris; Southwell, Michael (2005). Pro PHP Security. Apress. p. 274. ISBN 978-1-59059-508-4. Retrieved July 14, 2010.
- Glaister, Dan (June 22, 2005). "LA Times 'wikitorial' gives editors red faces." The Guardian. Retrieved September 17, 2010.
- Shepard, Alicia (June 13, 2005). "Upheaval on Los Angeles Times Editorial Pages". New York Times.
- Hwang, Tim (April 1, 2008). Rick-Rolling: An Action Primer for the Uninitiated (Transcript). Interview with Allison Stewart. The Bryant Park Project, NPR. New York, New York. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
- Powers, Shelley (2008). Painting the Web. O'Reilly Media. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-596-51509-6. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
- Arrington, Michael (July 9, 2008). "One Step Backward: Playboy Asks Which Female Blogger You'd Like To See Sans Clothing". TechCrunch.com. Washington Post. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
- Hocevar, Sam (February 12, 2010). "Tribute to Goatse.cx ) personal webpage.". zoy.org. Retrieved June 15, 2010..
- Mikkelson, Barbara and David P. (June 15, 2007). "The Hands of God". snopes.com; Snopes. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- Sample, III, C.K. (August 12, 2005). "Jumping on the bandwagon: OS X on x86! OMG!". TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
- Anderson, Chris (2008). The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. Hyperion. p. 182. ISBN 978-1-4013-0966-4. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
- Rosenbloom, Stephanie (June 2, 2005). "Loosing Google's Lock on the Past". New York Times. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
- As of 10 September 2010[update] the NYT archives index the article by keyword "goatse".
- Orlowski, Andrew (June 4, 2007). "No goat sex at the Olympics, rules BBC". Bootnotes. The Register. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
- "Goatse on BBC" (Video). CollegeHumor. June 6, 2007. Event occurs at 1:01. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
- "2012 Olympics logo sketch" (image). BBC. June 6, 2007. Retrieved February 23, 2009.
- Herrmann, Steve (June 5, 2007). "Shock tactics". BBC blogs. BBC. Retrieved February 23, 2009.
- Tate, Ryan (June 9, 2010). "Apple's Worst Security Breach: 114,000 iPad Owners Exposed". Gawker.com. Gawker Media. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
- Ante, Spencer and Worthen, Ben (June 11, 2010). "FBI Opens Probe of iPad Breach". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
- Mills, Elinor (June 10, 2010). "Hacker defends going public with AT&T's iPad data breach (Q&A)". CNET News. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
- Goatse Security website Home page logo. June 12, 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
- Hardigree, Matt (April 22, 2011). "Audi's hilarious unintentional Goatse billboard". Jalopnik.com. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- McGinley, Tara (April 22, 2011). "Audi's unintentional Goatse". Dangerous Minds.
- Oates, John (July 29, 2011). "Scottish telly news pumps goatse link – Och aye the NOOO". The Register.
- Response Brief for US v Auernheimer   retrieved on 30 September
- Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) review of US v Auernheimer  retrieved on 30 September
- Twitter conversation about brief's link to Goatse article  retrieved on 30 September
- Gawker page about brief's link to Goatse article  retrieved on 30 September