Several months ago, a colleague was showing me a website that belonged to a company that he had done business with.
So many months have passed, that I’ve completely forgotten the name of that company and so they are spared the ridicule of being named in association with what I have come to think of as the GGD Conspiracy.
What my colleague wanted to show me, at the time, was not the design or layout of the site. He wanted to show me the alt tags on some of their images.
They all referenced one site:
At first we took this to be a hack or virus infection of the site but viewing the site’s source we discovered that the URL was referenced only in certain images – in fact the targets of the images were still the legitimate targets.
So we took our investigation further and googled “girlgamesdonkey“.
Now obviously, we were prepared for the worst. We’re both ‘Net veterans (‘Neterans) who’ve been online since before Rule 34 was conceived.
Just break the name down a little… girl games donkey… to even the least jaded web crawler this must seem suspicious.
How surprised we were when the search list brought up an Ad site and an Analytics site (both referencing girlgamesdonkey) and a whole host of random websites that seemed to be afflicted with the same alt tag shenanigans.
The first two sites showed that http://www.girlgamesdonkey.com is simply an innocent website advertising online games for girls (bearing in mind that most girl gamers I know play the same games as boy gamers, I did find this a little on the misogynistic side but I won’t lose sleep over it). Furthermore, the site no longer exists, at the time of writing this post the URL is a dead link.
It became obvious that somewhere, out there on the web, there must be a set of tools that provide simple social network images – preloaded with this innocent and yet seemingly disturbing alt tag.
Is it a joke? A hoax spread by somebody working for a web hosting company or were girlgamesdonkey the first to use these images as links to share their page?
Either way, it seems that girlgamesdonkey has become a sign of lazy web design or at least a sign that the web designer doesn’t check their alt tags.
Maybe it is something a little more sinister.
Reading the rest of the analytics it is easy to imagine that the site was being used for spamming, dodgy seo or virus propagation.
Which might explain the proliferation of the url amongst random social network image alt tags.
So, keep your eyes peeled for signs of this elusive rotten Easter egg and let me know if you have any clues as to how this URL got to infest so many alt tags out there on the web.