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Time Warner Cable To Employ DNS Redirection
The 'butterfinger revenue stream' gets increasingly popular...
by Karl Bode 11:46AM Friday Nov 09 2007
A Time Warner Cable insider tells us that the company will be joining the growing list of ISPs who use DNS redirection services to generate additional revenue off of mistyped URLs. DNS redirection services send wayward surfers and their butterfingers to an ISP-run portal, instead of a traditional page not found error site. The ISP portal is complete with advertiser-funded referral links.
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Our users generally dislike the practice, as it tends to break the functionality of apps and tools that require a "clean" connection. Cox, Earthlink Charter and Verizon have all been quietly employing these DNS redirection services. Occasionally they'll offer users a "clean" DNS server. Most ISPs are allowing users to opt-out, though as this Charter user notes, the opt-out process is sometimes flaky:
Charter's way to "opt-out" is to put a cookie on your computer to redirect you to a fake page not found screen. In reality they are sending you to a copy of the IE page, which is amusing, because when in firefox or any other browser it still points you to that. This still defeats the purpose and is not true DNS, because it is still returning a response and pointing you to their fake page not found page.
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Time Warner Cable will be testing their service first in the Binghamton, NY market starting November 15. The larger central NY and Syracuse markets will be the test bed until next year, when additional markets will come online. Users will be able to opt-out of the service via a link at the bottom of the portal.

DNS redirection is all the rage. We've heard that the concept is also being tested by a number of other providers, including Insight Broadband. The service delivers a nice revenue stream, and the only people who really complain are the power users -- who can be marginalized during company meetings as a fringe statistic.

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