Venturebeat.com just wrote a post about A study released today by a UC Berkeley project called Netalyzr, which revealed that some Internet users on some ISPs, who search for a word or term are being redirect the user to websites rather than to a page or search results about the keyword in question.
“The Berkeley project, called Netalyzr, was created to measure DNS behavior. However, over the past few months, the Netalyzr team noticed some unexplained and unexpected redirections across at least 12 ISPs in the United States.”
“The affected ISPs use services provided by a company called Paxfire to monetize certain web search requests. Paxfire’s main line of business is DNS-error traffic monetization, i.e., the practice of presenting advertisements and search results to users who mistyped a website’s address in their browser.”
“In addition, some ISPs employ an optional, unadvertised Paxfire feature that redirects the entire stream of affected customers’ web search requests to Bing, Google and Yahoo via HTTP proxies operated by Paxfire.”
“The research team found that around 170 specific, brand-related keywords would trigger interference by the HTTP proxies, causing users to be redirected to affiliate marketing landing pages. “In the process, the ISPs and Paxfire presumably earn commission payments for the redirected flows,” the researchers wrote.”
“Some of the ISPs involved are, according to data presented by multiple organizations involved in the investigation, Cavalier, Cincinnati Bell, Cogent, DirecPC, Frontier, Fuse, Hughes, IBBS, Insight Broadband, Megapath, Paetec, RCN, Wide Open West and XO Communication.”
“While it’s likely that ISPs had at least some knowledge of at least some of the DNS redirection, if not search traffic redirection, it’s less likely that the brands themselves were involved in the scheme.”