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July 12, 2003

Google's WMD bomb

Anthony Cox describes how his spoof error page turned into a 'Google bomb' for weapons of mass destruction

Thursday July 10, 2003
The Guardian

In early February, I was reading online a Guardian article about Hans Blix's problems obtaining cooperation in Iraq. Immediately after, I was confronted with the ubiquitous 404 error page, which usually tells the reader that a website is unavailable. With this serendipitous inspiration in mind, along with a text editor and some fiddling in a graphics package, I created a spoof 404 "weapons of mass destruction" error page. Saddam would have been proud; the page (see copy below) was deployed and operational well within 45 minutes. After favourable comments from friends, I posted it in the newsgroup uk.rec.humour. Within the next 24 hours, the website had had 150,000 hits and had propagated to 118 newsgroups. >>> full text

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