404’s Quick History and Why You Get Them


Littered among several of this week’s (and last week’s) “likes” and “follow” list were accounts where I backlinked into 404 pages. In fact, I found one person with a link to an About page where there was no website. Another person had a blog of the exact same name on three other websites according to Google (two redirected to 404, the other existed under a different author!).

So, what exactly is a “404” code?

Links that lead nowhere are considered ‘dead links’ or ‘broken links’. They are marked as HTTP status code 404; otherwise known  as ‘error 404’, ‘HTTP 404’, or ‘404 code’ on the target pages. What you are promised or led to believe will be at the end of something you click turns out to not be there.

But why call these errors 404 codes?

Back in 2007, Arun Vishnu posted on his Bugs of a Debugger blog a short but entertaining history of where “404” came from. ( Franck Dernoncourt, Research Scientist at Adobe Research re-posted it on Quora in 2012

Basically, in the 1980′s a group of scientists at CERN (Switzerland) began working on a project that eventually evolved into the World Wide Web (Engraziel, Merci, Grazi, Danke!) In an office on the fourth floor (room 404), they placed the World Wide Web’s central database. Any request for a file was routed to that office and faulty requests were answered with a standard message: ‘Room 404: file not found’ — which is still used today even after the manual process became automated.

What causes these faulty files?

According to the 1&1Digital Guide website:

  • The URL or its content (such as files or images) was either deleted or moved (without adjusting any internal links accordingly)
  • The URL was written incorrectly (during the creation process or a redesign), linked incorrectly, or typed into the browser incorrectly
  • The server responsible for the website is not running or the connection is broken
  • The requested domain name can’t be converted to an IP by the domain name system (DNS)
  • The entered domain name doesn’t exist (anymore)

What can you do if you come across a 404? 1&1 Digital Guide suggests: Reload the page; Check the URL; Go back through the directory levels; Use the website’s search function; Use a search engine; Delete the browser cache and cookies; Contact the website.

The other option I would suggest is that it may be a marketing scam where there is no content, just a bait and switch to get you to a page where you might click an affiliate link by curiosity or error. In that case take the 404 as a sign of sloppy website maintenance by people who don’t care enough about you to check their pages. I appreciate all you new “likes” and “followers,” but if you aren’t real bloggers, don’t bother.

(Your thoughts are ALWAYS welcome. Turn this into a conversation either here or on my Twitter account @amssvs}


Social Media Slice for Monday, July 9, 2018


In today’s issue, we look at work arounds for negative reviews, as well as the variations of “opt in” and “not opt out” in Dark Pattern Design. SLICE is a M-F news digest targeted to assist Social Media Managers and Small Business Owners doing their own marketing.



Reviews can significantly affect your client’s revenue flow. Trying to remove biased negative ones from review sites like Yelp are a tough sell as evidenced by an unsuccessful court case where an “aggrieved law firm tried to force it to remove negative posts.” If a law firm lost its case, what can you do? More


Hopefully none of your clients have been engaging in Dark Pattern Design. If so, take note that consumers are beginning to fight back against deceptive practices. More




Plain text websites not needing hosting (nor a SMM to create them) are in the news. As this TechRepublic article explains they “are portable and private, existing only as a URL, and could be an inexpensive option for SMB website creation.” More


Sweatlag is here. Bound to happen. A jet lag recovery workout. Created by Delta Airlines and Equinox. Four workout videos are available on Delta’s YouTube Channel. More

And… if you are looking for a timely marketing promotion for your small business: July is National Independent Retailer Month and today is National Sugar Cookie Day. 

Reporter’s Notebook: So You Want To Write? Here’s Your Chance!


Why do you have a blog? To hear yourself talk? To share an idea? Chronicle history as it marches on? Or build a rep as a go-to person for a product or service? Ever thought “if only I could get my words & ideas read by a vast audience, I know I would appeal to them?”

Well, I found an interesting blog, piloted by an even more interesting guy. But it’s neither him nor a blog of his that is cause for discussion or merits your attention this time. It’s the fact that he is essentially giving his 28,000-follower blog over to a Guest Authors project for an entire year. Think Jay Leno or David Letterman letting Hollywood march in guest hosts every night.

Write-in @ Mozart's 1

(Photo credit: stetted)

That is an interesting theme for a blog.

HarsH ReaLiTy is the blog title, An Opinionated Man is what the author calls himself (he prefers a degree of anonymity) and I am quite sure he would bristle at that comparison to late night talk show hosts. He is prolific; my cell phone constantly jingles from his daily— sometimes two or three times a day— blog entries.

My theme has always been about the expression of opinions,” OM tells me. And if you’ve clicked the link to his website you will see he is outspoken on topics both general and very personal.

In this regard, this program flows well with my blog as a whole and my audience also now gets to fully interact with this expression. Many people find themselves hindered in honestly putting their thoughts out there, I am not handicapped in such a way. For that reason I am allowing people to channel that type of energy through my blog if that is their desire,” he further explained.

The focus for contributing bloggers should be working on their writing, displaying their writing, and getting a taste for responding to comments and perhaps even defending their own convictions.“

Guest authors must be 18 years of age and are allowed “limited” access to the HarsH ReaLiTy website and are able to create article posts for this blog. The articles that you submit can be open topic, but they must be written articles or poetry at this time. For a full list of rules & requirements go to the website.

But let’s be clear about this, he is not doing this for views.

I have over 500,000 views in less than a year that I got from my own hard work. This is an effort not only to give back, but also to help people to learn how to self-promote their work, writing, and themselves.”

Response thus far has been quite strong; he has a full year’s worth of people already interested. OM is currently scheduling groups of three Guest Authors every two weeks for this coming year. That will be the format for now.

And in the end what does he hope readers and authors get out of turning his blog over to others?

He says “Readers will get views and a chance to see work by people that they might not normally read. The writers that participate will be able to ‘tastefully’ promote their site and work. They will also get the experience of getting feedback from my audience. Depending on the article, the writing style, and the blogger, they have the potential of reaching all 28,000 followers. That is up to them.”

While he currently has sufficient Guest Authors for all slots next year, there is always the possibility of a few people dropping out. Therefore OM is still taking applications. I suggest you read his website or contact him at aopinionatedman@gmail.com.