Who ever said that fail pets always have to be intentional, semi-carefully designed creatures?

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The BBC website is currently down, and, not to be outdone by the rest of the Internet, they're trying their own interpretation of a "fail pet", a "fail clown":

I don't know about you, but I think that thing is kind of creepy. Aren't fail pets supposed to make you feel warm and fuzzy while you're waiting for the site to come back? This one screams "make it stop!"... strange.

Thanks for the hint, nigelb!

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I totally forgot blogging about this!

Remember how I curate a collection of fail pets across the Interwebs? Sean Rintel is a researcher at the University of Queensland in Australia and has put some thought into the UX implications of whimsical error messages, published in his article: The Evolution of Fail Pets: Strategic Whimsy and Brand Awareness in Error Messages in UX Magazine.

In his article, Rintel attributes me with coining the term "fail pet".

Attentive readers may also notice that Mozilla's strategy of (rightly) attributing Adobe Flash's crashes with Flash itself by putting a "sad brick" in place worked formidably: Rintel (just like most users, I am sure) assumes this message comes from Adobe, not Mozilla:

Thanks, Sean, for the mention, and I hope you all enjoy his article.

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Haven't posted new fail pets in a while! Perhaps because this one took so long to arrive.

This "fail snail" was released by its creator into the public domain and has since been happily frolicking coughing up HTML color codes on the Web. Though I haven't seen it used for an actual error page yet.

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Twitter's fail whale has a little friend, a fail robot. Not sure how the two relate to each other, but it seems the whale comes out when twitter struggles under the sheer load of tweets, while the fail robot denotes service errors not caused by load?

Now, evil tongues would claim that there's so much fail at Twitter that a single fail pet just doesn't do it justice... But, knowing how challenging it is to scale a service to millions of users, I wouldn't quite dare to say so -- and therefore, I welcome the poor injured robot to my fail pet collection. Quick! To the fail pet emergency room!

Thanks to jabba for taking a screenshot for me!

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In a recent comic, The Oatmeal asked tumblr to blame their service outages on an imaginary animal like twitter's Fail Whale and promptly came up with one, the Tumbeasts.

What's awesome is that Tumblr actually did end up using his artwork on their error page. This is what it looks like:

Mad props to the Oatmeal and Tumblr for this stellar addition to my fail pet collection!

And thanks to michaelk for pointing it out to me!

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Noah's Ark The fail pet collection is glad to welcome a new member! bit.ly, the URL shortening service used by default on twitter, hosts a family of pufferfish in their logo, and consequently, a really big one of them is also responsible for guarding their 404 page:

Let's hope all the sea creatures in my giant fail pet aquarium get along well...

Thanks for the link, dolske!

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As it turns out, Blizzard Entertainment's game service battle.net has a fail pet!

Well, "fail pet" might be the wrong word for this, but who expected battle.net to have a cutesy kitten on their error pages anyway. Instead, they have a fellow who somewhat looks like the alien cousin of Lennie from "Of Mice and Men".

"Oops", indeed!

Update: Deb says, it's a Murloc. Thanks!

Thanks for the screen shot, clouserw!

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Here's another addition to the happy family of fail pets from across the Internet: The online merchant Zappos is well-known for executing an ordinary shopping experience (for shoes) extraordinarily well on the Web. They have RSS feeds, Twitter and Facebook integration and -- of course -- a "fail pet":

I wonder if Dash the dog knows what the Zappos people all blame on him there?

By the way: Not to be outdone, I just replaced the picture on my own 404 page with a photo of my dog out of the recent dog content collection.

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I know, I know. Technically, it's only a fail pet if a web site uses a nice little creature on an error page announcing unplanned down-time of the service.

That makes this ASCII cow from Craigslist not really a fail pet, but I find it a nice enough idea to blog it anyway:

This little fellow shows up on the 404 error page (i.e., any page that does not exist on craigslist.org, such as this one). While it is just taken from a well-known UNIX command, I like it a lot because it goes very well with the simplicity of craigslist itself, which is intentionally so much different than all the shiny "Web 2.0" applications.

Thanks for the hint, Jabba!

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