The big news of the day is that Tumblr (a popular free blogging site) now has it's own downtime pag (Tumbeast), similar to the Twitter Fail Whale, and the Plurk Creatures.
In August, we talked about making your 404 page work for you - this is the page visitors land on if they click on a broken link to your site. The downtime page however, is there to address DDOS attacks, over-loaded servers, or downtime due to maintenance or upgrades. It lets visitors know that they've reached the right place, and that the problem is not with their computer or their internet service provider (ISP).
On most websites, visitors just get a server a server error from their ISP. The downtime page however, seems to be a growing trend. Sites like Google's Gmail have been using them for a long time, as have the social networks.
Grooveshark has a funny one, and, perhaps the right idea - when caught in downtime blame it on the Chinese.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.