I'm Goatse'ing MySpace

published Jan 12, 2007, last modified Dec 03, 2020

Find out how thousands of people are seeing the quintessential (and literal) gaping asshole on their Web pages, thanks to me.

After reading ASCII by Jason Scott: Freedom, Justice and a Disturbingly Gaping Ass, I truly laughed my ass off.

It never occurred to me that my own site might be a victim of the "liberal hotlinkers" too.

But that's exactly what was happening. A lot of MySpace profiles were using my images to build clip art and spruce up their sites.

As(s) of now, it's over. Every hotlinker will get a pretty nice image of a gaping asshole, widely known around the Intarwob as the famous Goatse man (if you value your life experiences, you won't click on this link).

In more detail: normal and direct access to the images is completely unfettered. But all hotlinkers will receive the picture of the gaping asshole. That's the very least they deserve, considering that they're using this site's resources for free, all the while slowing it down.

Enough is enough. Hotlinkers: start peeking into the asshole!

Okay, I'm curious. Can I see an example?

Well... yes, but it's up to you, so consider yourself forewarned. Here's an example MySpacer that has been using my uploaded images without permission. Scroll to the profile comments section (or, even easier, look for the you started the war sentence), and you'll see it.

Not that I really wish you'd see it. After all, photoshopping "Stop hotlinking from my site" on the image was painful enough for me.

How I did it -- and how you can replicate it too!

It's rather simple. If you're running Apache as your Web server, all you have to do is place the following code on your Apache configuration file, or (if you're using that) your favorite .htaccess file:

    # To stop image hotlinking
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/wp-content/uploads
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://rudd-o.com/
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://images.google.com/
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
    RewriteRule \.(jpe?g|gif|png|mp3|flac)$ wp-content/stop-hotlinking-asshole.jpg [L]

As you can see, it's rather simple. The first RewriteCond sentence matches any request against my uploads folder. The second, third, fourth and fifth ones ensure that the two mentioned sites (plus anyone who doesn't come with a referrer), gets through. The RewriteRule at the end just instructs Apache to redirect any image (and audio) request to the famous stop-hotlinking-asshole.jpg with the gaping... OK, you already know what.

Obviously, to make this work, you need to have the Rewrite module loaded into your Apache setup. That's not a tricky proposal, because it's on by default.

The conclusions

All in all: both my site and Google can make fair use of my images. I'm happy with the result. You should try it too. Peek through your Web site access logs and check for abnormal referrers that don't have hyperlinks to your site, and you'll find out if you're being abused too. Remember: the gaping asshole is the quickest of remedies for that situation.

Update: Oh, great! The first hotlinker has responded, via e-mail, to this action.

A few days after this incident, most of the hotlinkers got the message, and they changed their pages. I replaced the Goatse man with a simple image that states the hotlinking in text.