A shock site is a website that is intended to be offensive or disturbing to its viewers. They contain material of high shock value, generally of a pornographic, scatological, graphically violent, insulting, obscenely vulgar, profane, or otherwise provocative nature. Typically, the subject material of such sites deliberately degrades and debase a being or object. Some shock sites display a single picture, animation, video clip or small gallery, and are circulated via email or disguised in posts to discussion sites as a prank. Steven Jones distinguishes these sites from those that collect galleries of shocking content, such as Rotten.com, as the gallery sites must be searched for content.
Some shock sites have also gained their own subcultures and have become internet memes on their own. Goatse.cx featured a page devoted to fan-submitted artwork and tributes to the site's hello.jpg, and a parody of the image was unwittingly shown by a BBC newscast as an alternative for the then-recently unveiled logo for the 2012 Summer Olympics. A 2007 shock video known as 2 Girls 1 Cup also quickly became an Internet phenomenon, with videos of reactions, homages, and parodies widely posted on video sharing sites such as YouTube.
BestGore.com is famous for its extremely graphic content, such as photos and videos of murders, suicides and violent accidents. It is currently the most visited shock website in the world, with an estimated 15–20 million monthly visits. In July 2013, the website's creator, Slovakian-Canadian Mark Marek, was charged with one count of "corrupting morals", related to his posting of the video of the murder of Lin Jun on his website. He pled guilty and was given a six-month conditional sentence.
Goatse.cx was one of the best-known shock sites, featuring an image of a man stretching his anus with his hands. The site featured a page devoted to fan-submitted artwork and tributes to the site, and a parody of the image was also shown by a BBC newscast as an alternative for the then recently unveiled logo for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
The site was shut down in 2004; however, various mirror sites featuring the image still exist. In 2012, it was resurrected as an e-mail service.
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