An additional revenue stream thanks to your butterfingers...
Over the last few years most ISPs have implemented DNS redirection services, which deliver customers to an ad-laden search portal instead of a 404 when they mistype URLs. The services have been traditional despised by 'Net purists who rely on a clean net connection, particularly early on when ISPs weren't offering a functional opt-out option
. While ISPs enjoy painting the services as ultra-helpful consumer-centered affairs, their primary purpose is to deliver a new revenue stream to ISPs driven by your crappy typing skills.
Over at the Comcast blog
, the carrier says they're joining the fun, launching a new "domain helper service" as a trial in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Comcast says the service is designed to "get where they want to go online even faster and easier than before." Luckily for those who don't like this stuff, they'll offer an opt-out ability:
We also understand that sometimes customers want to surf their own way, without the assistance of services like Domain Helper, so we offer an easy way to opt-out right on the Domain Helper search page. This is a feature we feel is a best practice and is a key part of a white paper we submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force, an open international community of experts concerned with the evolution, architecture and operation of the Internet, for comment and review.
Those users who switched to OpenDNS long ago during Comcast DNS outages shouldn't notice a thing, and Comcast won't prevent third-party DNS use. Apparently aware that this is a touchy subject among some more technical users (you'll recall DSLExtreme was forced to back off such a service after complaints
), a Comcast representative has stopped by our forums
to talk about the service in a little more detail, noting which customers are opted in or out by default.
The rep also notes that when Comcast looked around at other implementations of DNS redirection services, they saw a lot of inconsistencies in how they were implemented and the user opt-out process (no kidding). To that end, Comcast says they've filed this IETF draft
to help solidify best practices for the implementation of DNS redirection services. It seems like only yesterday Earthlink was deriding the dislike of such services as the folly of "ISP geeks