Comcast Internet service has rolled out their “Domain Helper” service which hijacks failed domain lookups. Other services have tried this and gotten hit with some pretty loud internet backlash both for financial [advertising] and net neutrality issues [having control over how to directing users from the error, funneling users to partners].
Dear Comcast Customer,
At Comcast, we’re constantly looking to deliver a better high-speed
Internet and online search experience. That’s why we’re introducing
Domain Helper to help you find the sites you want when you mistype a
Web site address in your Web browser.
In its initial form the service seems rather benign – no outright banner advertising to speak of – but does promote its services and partners pretty hard [TV service, McAffee, Yahoo! Search Results, etc]. Here are the two styles of results I’ve seen so far.
Error with suggestion and Yahoo! search results- ‘yahooc.om’
Error without suggestion – ‘www.yahoooooooc.om’
You can opt out if you’d like to bypass this service. A short form requiring email address and your modem’s MAC address can be found at https://dns-opt-out.comcast.net/ — something I’ll probably do as soon as bother to look up the address of my cable modem.
Update 8/6/2009: Here’s an official blog post from Comcast Voices with quite a bit of user comments and backlash expressed.