The development of the Internet has led to the emergence of new digital genres, also known as cybergenres or web genres. The existing research into diverse web pages has revealed that the new medium not only generated changes in traditional genres (reproduced or adapted) but also created a number of novel genres. The creation, development and nature of spontaneous genres are connected with the evolution of the web since they have no counterparts in traditional media. The present study deals with one of them: it concentrates on the genre analysis of a small set of 35 web pages representing the 404 error message genre, which are automatically generated to indicate that a server cannot find the page requested by a web user who follows a dead or broken link. The paper presents the origins of the genre in question, its structure, content and communicative purposes. The research has been carried out by means of the methodology of genre analysis proposed by John Swales (1990). Four moves that express the communicative purposes of 404 error have been identified and the commonest rhetoric choices have been analyzed. Additionally, the paper presents a selection of unusual, ingenious or funny 404 error pages
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