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Why does a web page show for a second, and then suddenly change to "Not Found"?

Recently I changed my ISP to PeoplePC and since have been unable to read my
HotMail. The login page launches and I can then see my emails, but then I get
sent to a PeoplePC page that says: “The web site you entered could not be
found” and then keeps opening this page:

http://peoplepc-help.com/?d=error_peoplepc&
q=http://ad.doubleclick.net/adi/error.peoplepc.dart
/error_overture_sky;sz=120×600;ptile=2;
ord=PLACE_RANDOM_EIGHTDIGIT_NUMBER_HERE?

I have no problem with HotMail on a my friends PC using PeoplePC so it has
to be some setting; I’m just unsure of which one to start trying.

I’ve seen this happen, and it’s very frustrating when it does.

What I can’t say is why it would happen that consistently, or that
consistently on only one machine.

But I do have an idea or two about what to try to get around it.

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The problem is simple. The page you are visiting, in your case the HotMail
page, has ads on it, and one of those ads references a web site that cannot be
found. The browser then switches your entire view to the “Not Found” message,
even though that ad was probably only a small portion of the page you actually
want to visit.

You can see the ad’s URL in that error message: http://ad.doubleclick.net/ –
one of the many advertising providers on the internet.

It’s frustrating. I’d happily view my page without the ad, but because the
ad fails, I can’t view the page. And I’m not even sure who to blame: the site
for having ads that don’t work, the ad vendor for not working, or the browser
for taking me to that “Not Found” page when what I really wanted was,
indeed found. Perhaps we could even blame the ISP (PeoplePC) if they’ve
installed custom software that gets in the way of retrieving websites or
somehow adds to the problem.

“The page you are visiting … has ads on it, and one of
those ads references a web site that cannot be found.”

It’s all moot anyway, since knowing which of those to blame doesn’t
help.

My first reaction would be to look into why certain websites might not
display on your computer. (The ad is, after all, just something from a website
– albeit a different website than the one you’re visiting.) This article:
I can’t access some websites
… why?
has one idea, and also has pointers to other articles that might
help.

And believe it or not, if you haven’t already rebooting might also help as
it clears certain caches that might have bad data.

If none of those work, another approach might be to try a different browser.
I believe that Firefox actually handles this situation better then IE and may
not hijack the entire window to display an error message relating only to a
portion of your page.

A final approach might be to install ad blocking software. Ad blockers work
by intercepting requests for ads and returning valid, but empty, responses. I
don’t have a specific recommendation for one, since I’ve never run any. Ads are
an important part of how free websites stay free.

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6 comments on “Why does a web page show for a second, and then suddenly change to "Not Found"?”

  1. I too have PeoplePC and it does that. Two things that may help are to refresh the page a couple of times or to disable your People pal Toolbar. Go to View — Toolbars — then uncheck the Peoplepal toolbar. Their pop up blocker will be disabled then but since then I don’t have the PeoplePC intrusion anymore.

    Reply
  2. Is that another Internet Explorer bug? Opera and Firefox handle this situation very well, and I have rarely, if ever, seen the symptoms described in the article above. What I want to know is if it is fixed in Internet Explorer 7. I have never seen this problem on my computer, and I have the BETA of Internet Explorer 7, but then I don’t know if I have ever seen it happen with Internet Explorer 6 either.

    Either way, it sounds very unlikely that Internet Explorer would prevent you from seeing a whole page when only a small portion is unavailable.

    Reply
  3. I have definitely seen it, but now that you mention it … not since I’ve switched to FireFox :-). Yes, I’d certainly call it a bug in the browser.

    Reply
  4. I recently subscribed to peoplepc. My modem connects but the page will not display. I have pinged with the modem to make sure it is working. I have uninstalled internet explorer and reinstalled updated version. I have installed foxfire…still – page will not display although it is connected. Peoplepc says it is a hardware problem not their software, but the hardware is working. The modem does connect, I just can’t get anything to display…please help!

    Reply
  5. I too had the problem with PeoplePC software hijacking my web browser and inserting ” http://peoplepc-help.com/?d=error_peoplepc&q= ” in front of whatever website I was trying to get into. After spending over an hour trying to get into Craigslist, I found a great solution. I canceled the service, disabled every .exe file in their software, and went back to using Juno.

    Reply
  6. I have run into the problem on several Dell laptops. On those systems there was a small bundled program called Address Error Redirector or something like that that caused the problem. After removing this program Internet Explorer would remain on the desired page and the problem ad page would only show an error in its own frame. Although I do not like IE, this appears to be more of a crap bundled app.

    Reply

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