Parked Domain Girl

Parked Domain Girl

Updated Mar 02, 2020 at 10:21PM EST by mammon.

Added Mar 01, 2020 at 11:18AM EST by mammon.

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Parked Domain Girl, Dead/Expired Domain Girl or eNom Girl refers to a stock photo of a girl with a backpack that has achieved viral status after being used as placeholder image for ads plastered on multiple squatted/parked domains from 2005(?) to 2012.


On August 6, 2005, Dustin Steller uploaded a photo of her sister, Hannah Steller, to IStockPhoto [1][2]. Demand Media Inc[3] bought the license for the stock photo and used the image as a placeholder for the empty "squatted/parked" websites[4], placed alongside link ads. The goal of the websites is to earn ad revenues from accidental clicks and misspelled URL.

Welcome to All Right E video Right Lou Holtz About Human Right Legal Right Music Production Right on Magazine Civil Right E Record Company E Liberty Law SEARCH INSURANCE | CREDIT CARDS EDUCATION ONLINE | HOTEL RESERVATION | DATING ONLINE | DEBT CONSOLIDATION


The stock image attained viral status as it was being shown whenever you visit an incorrect URL or expired domain. In August 25, 2008, the now-defunct posted the article "The Most Infamous Girl in the History of the Internet"[5] trying to search for the identity of the girl in the stock photo, in which the most notable response in the comments was from Dustin Steller itself, confirming the identity of the girl.

The stock image continued its use on parked domains until 2012, when Enom, Inc., the domain registrar under Demand Media that manages the websites, decided to retire the backpack girl from future usage[6].

“We decided that the blonde image no longer represents a true depiction of what eNom stands for,” said company representative, Bob Smith.
“America is a nation of co-existing minorities, and the fastest growing one is the Hispanic community,“added Smith.

Notable Images

"The Most Infamous Girl in the History of the Internet" / "Attractive Student" / "Parked Domain Girl" by Parker Ito[7]

An artist that goes by the name "Parker Ito" started a project in 2010 in which he commissioned Chinese company to reproduce the photo in oil. He then manipulates the oil reproduction, then proceed to commission for the modified painting to be reproduced in oil again. After the second pass of modification, the resulting image is then circulated in the internet and Parker Ito asked for others to "do the same [to modify the image]". The project spawned parodies of the photo ranging from normal painting to surrealism art.


Parker Ito asked, a Chinese company which makes oil paintings on-demand, to create a series of paintings based on a single image which would be broadly familiar to Internet users--a stock photo depicting a smiling, blonde female wearing a backpack which (amongst its other usages) a “parked domain” company called Demand Media employs to catch the eye of Web surfers who accidentally click to the sites it owns.

The resulting work–The Most Infamous Girl in the History of the Internet–exists as both these made-to-order paintings as well as a heavily re-blogged Web meme.

In regard to the paintings, they might be considered in relation to Warhol’s Marilyn series of silkscreened paintings.

Both Marilyn Monroe and “the parked domain girl” are icons of emptiness.

Monroe was a blank slate for sexual desire, the parked domain girl is a symbol of sites without content.

Furthermore, both painting series automate the painting proces which, then, further amplifies the sense of an emptying-out of content.

And, finally, in both cases the artists are each interested in depicting the process of their own making as much as they’re interested in depicting the icon being processed.

For example, one views Warhol’s rough usage of the silkscreen technology as much as a legible image of Monroe, and one views the hands of the different painters Ito employs to create the painted images as much as a single painting of the parked domain girl.

However, at this level–the level of a process being depicted--Ito’s series takes a departure from Warhol’s own that allows it to exist as an intriguing version on pop art rather than an imitation of it.

What fascinated Warhol was the way that “real life” stars like Monroe developed a life of their own in the sphere of reproducible images.

Ito, though, picks up on the fact that an icon like the “parked domain girl” is not even based on a “real life” star--she’s an icon who short-circuits the previous paradigm of stardom.

In the wake of the Internet, pop culture is something consumed and lived amongst; there is no need for pop to reference a real world as the real world is to a great extent pop.

A model posed for the photograph, yes, but that model is anonymous; the parked domain girl’s identity is entirely native to the sphere of pop representation on the Web.

By hiring a company to create hand-made oil paintings of the parked domain girl, Ito brings her into the realm of “real life” for the first time.

His work is thus meaningful not for depicting the automated painting of a “real” icon, but for depicting the outsourced hand-painting of a “fake” icon and, in so doing, bringing Warhol’s joke full circle.

Tags: china, icon, internet, marilyn, outsourcing, painting, parked domain, parked domain girl, parker ito, pop, the most infamous girl in the history of the internet, warhol


The original page from Parker Ito's website[8] is still accessible today but all the image from the gallery is now removed for unconfirmed reasons and is now replaced with a screenshot containing Dustin Steller's email to Parker Ito regarding the parody images of his sister on the website and how "he only got 60 cent royalty for the image". Most image is now lost and some of the surviving images can be accessed through WayBack Machine[9].

External References

[1] IStockPhoto – Original Upload / Posted on 08-06-2005

[2] IStockPhoto – Latest reupload / Posted on 07-13-2013

[3] Wikipedia – Leaf Group

[4] Wikipedia – Cybersquatting

[5] YouSuckAtWebsite (defunct) – The Most Infamous Girl in the History of the Internet / Posted on 08-25-2008

[6] DomainGang – Enom retires blonde “backpack girl” student photo

[7] AQNB – The Most Infamous Girl in the History of the Internet / Posted on 04-03-2011

[8] Parker Ito

[9] Archive copy of Parker Ito's gallery

[10] Text referenced from the Wayback machine

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