Not Your Typical 404

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It’s happened to the best of us — from the casual browser looking for car parts on eBay to the full-time, multi-tab launching power-user, it’s inevitable that you’ll stumble upon an error page (or four) while surfing the net.

Page moved, URL no longer exists or maybe a typo that took you to to a bad, bad place — it’s a fact of Internet life and an important part of a larger web infrastructure and user experience.

404 pages or Not Found error messages, according to Wikipedia, are as follows:

The 404 or Not Found error message is an HTTP standard response code indicating that the client was able to communicate with the server, but the server could not find what was requested. 404 errors should not be confused with “server not found” or similar errors, in which a connection to the destination server could not be made at all. A 404 error indicates that the requested resource may be available again in the future.

This is cool and all, but why are we talking about them? Well — to follow in the footsteps of twitter, and millions of other 404 page customizers, we want to give YOU the chance to own our 404! Read on.

Here’s what the Nonstop 404 page looks like now, along with a look at a bunch of other local and national 404 pages:

We know, it's lame

Now, you’ll notice some web administrators choose to redirect their 404 traffic back to a page that does exist, such as their home page, contact page or sign-up page, (porn sites do this with extreme effectiveness. It’s my job to study the net.) it’s not always the best idea to do so. Mashable, for example, redirects their 404 page to an interesting article about error handling. Largely because their audience may skew savvy and know how to utilize search to find an article they’re hunting for.

Part of why 404 pages exist in the first place is largely due to the fact that a page really did move, or is no longer available, and it’s the 404′s job to facilitate a venue for someone to find what they truly were looking for, or — there’s really cool stuff there!

This is where you come in — artists, illustrators, musicians, whatever, we want to showcase your talent! Much like Coldplay.com’s Exhibition Room, we want Nonstop’s 404 page to burst at the seams with great drawings, music, video and who knows what else might make it there.

If you’re interested and want your work to be seen, shoot me an e-mail and show us what you got! We’ll start as soon as I get a few entries and if your entry sticks, maybe we’ll have our very own 404ified version of twitter’s fail whale!?

While we’ll be displaying your work with credit and a link back, we’ll also build in some suggestions as to why someone who accidentally found our 404 can get to where they need to. We expect this to boost our error page views and convolute how a real 404 should work, but we’re willing to stick our necks out for you, so bring it on!

Web administrators/masters/architects/designers/monkeys/etc. — what’s your take on the 404? How do you handle your errors? Do you know of any cool 404 pages or sites out there doing it differently? Post it up in our comments, powered by Livefyre.

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