With all the talk about cash for clunkers program, Comcast just released a product that will give it “Cash For Typos.”
According to PcWorld.com, Comcast will direct all non resolving page requests that formerly went to a “sorry this page cannot be found” type page, to a Yahoo landing page.
Comcast calls the Program “Domain Helper”.
We call it Cash For Typo’s
Domain Helper, the only thing its going to help is Comcast, to some cash for typos.
We know that this the vast majority of the traffic is going to be meant for trademarked domains.
Which means that overnight, Comcast is going to become one of the world’s largest Cybersquatters.
Of course many ISP’s have been doing the same thing for years.
Many of these same ISP, like Verizon, which will vigorously prosecute “cybersquatters” for infringing on their properties, but think nothing over serving up a landing page for a typo of a trademark, full of ads and stick the money in their pocket.
Of course this is an indefensible policy, hypocrisy at its worst.
Comcast would without a doubt sue, or bring a WIPO action if someone registered Comcastt.com (they own this one) if it served up ads for Comcast.
How can Comcast justify making money off of someone typing in “gooogle.com” into a browser and getting a landing page of relevant results?
ISP’s shouldn’t be allowed to do what a domainer can’t.
I haven’t seen an exception for ISP’s in any trademark law I’ve ever read.
Class action lawyers, where are you on this one?
The loophole that they can use is technically there is no domain name associated with the typo. I guess we can call it “gray hat domaining.” It is the same logic that Kevin Ham used to monitize .CM domains since no domain is actually registered.
It’s still making money off of trademark traffic.
It fine if they do it with generic domain typo’s.
Just because some class action lawfirm hasn’t gone after them for this conduct doesn’t mean its legal.
I think I figured out the system. If you are an insider (in the domain industry, or a Domainer) then you can’t do anything like this. But if you are an outsider then anything goes. CADNA members (TM interests), big corporations, etc… can do as they please online.
I posted a nutty comment about this on DNW last night. I think if for some crazy reason domainers just threw in the towel and left the space, the big corps and TM interests would step in and take our place in a heartbeat, doing exactly what we do, but nobody would give them crap about it, and even if somebody did nobody would care.
think you’re right on
Exactly! What hypocrites. I hate that my errors get directed to Verizon’s ‘Domain Helper’. I went to the trouble of registering an account and changing my DNS settings so that I could try “OpenDns.com” But that was even MORE frustrating because they turned out not to be Open at all and also stole my error traffic to their ‘Domain Helper’. I wish there were an Open (as in Open software) DNS option.
The newset version of Firefox on my Verizon network has been doing something really strange lately. It was the case previously that if I typed “keyword” into my Address Bar, I would automatically be directed to keyword.com. Lately I’ve noticed that I’m being directed to what I assume is the most popular tld for that keyword, so it might be keyword.com but it might be keyword.net or keyword.org . Wow! So long type-in traffic?
JohnH: Why should it go to .com ? Wouldn’t it be more logical to send it to the most popular TLD / ccTLD for this keyword ?
What’s the difference between the ISPs and Mircosoft, Google or Baidu ? If you have windows installed and use explorer, you get redirected to live.com or possibly now to bing.com, when you enter a keyword into the URL. If you have Google toolbar installed you end up at a google search page…
Some ISPs offer an optout solution for their customers (cokkie based), if they operate NX catches.
DC: I like my browser to display a “Sorry the page could not be found.” error message when I mistype a url into my address bar. The error stays in the address bar, I simple have to correct my mistake. But now Verizon Hijacks my error to THEIR url with a page of ads I don’t want anything to do with. In other words, my ISP has forced me to look at their ads and costs me the time it takes to clear their url and reload mine.
But sure! Maybe a keyword entered into an address bar should go to the most popular TLD. I guess my point is, who decides? And what gives them the right? Because you know, if left up to them I would never see a page outside of the ‘trusted family of Verizon websites’ ever again. (Windows computers only to pages with Microsoft ads. Google searches result in only pages with Google ads. Page rank gamed through algorithm which considers ISP’s ‘cut’. etc. etc.)
IMO We really need a truly Open (as in software) DNS system where the individual can control how their browser behaves.
Chris Luksha says
Instead of complaining – only b/c it does nothing to comcast and only serves to frustrate you more – go and opt out… https://dns-opt-out.comcast.net/
How cool is that. When I first contacted Verizon Online IT they didn’t know what I was talking about. Thanks to the last comment I now have the correct terminology and was able to find the Verizon opt out link. Worked like a charm. I have my “Server Not Found” message back! Here’s the url http://www.verizon.net/central/vzc.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=vzc_help_contentDisplay&linkflag=guestsso_fios_primary_east_undecided_consumer&case=dns_assist
PS The Comcast link in the above comment doesn’t seem to be resolving. I did a quick look around and perhaps Comcast are no longer allowing you a DIY opt out method.
“How do I turn off the Domain Helper service? Click on the Disable this error service link found at the top of the page …we will ask you for your email address and your cable modem MAC address…” http://customer.comcast.com/Pages/FAQViewer.aspx?Guid=e02580db-8813-43a3-9642-b66d8cfceb1a