If you've ever visited a Web site but went to a page that doesn't exist, you have probably found yourself stuck on a page that says something like "The page you are looking for doesn't exist" if the site didn't automatically redirect you to the main page. Visiting a page that doesn't exist on a Web site leads to errors, the most common of which is a "404 Page Not Found" response.
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Over the years, enterprising programmers have taken advantage of 404 pages by automatically redirecting visitors to useful and sometimes wildly creative pages. Not surprisingly, a lot of people visit incorrect pages on Web sites leaving that error page ripe for creativity. Now, a group has decided to put these error pages to use locating missing children.
NotFound.org, a initiative of missing- and abused-children nonprofit organizations, has tasked Web site owners with using 404 pages as a place for information about missing children. The virtual milk cartons show a photo of the child and information about him or her along with the headline, "Page not found. Neither is..." and the name of the child.
It's a pretty inventive way to distribute information about missing kids and something a lot of people will see. Several companies have already agreed to begin providing the custom error pages for their Web sites.
Frankly, this is the kind of thing sites like Facebook, Twitter and the like should adopt. It provides an invaluable service and the amount of traffic they get daily potentially leads to thousands of visitors every day seeing missing children they might never have known existed. It's a good use of otherwise unused space on a Web site.