On Tuesday, internet provider Comcast announced it would be rolling out its "Domain Helper" nationally, having trialled it before and reported great market success. The "Domain Helper" is aimed at assisting users who have mistyped website addresses by redirecting them to an "easy-to-use page with suggestions and links."
Thats how Comcast have described their latest service anyway. But what Comcast describe as a "Domain Helper" has been referred to as DNS hijacking by others. Like many ISPs, Comcast now redirects their customers to a search page, but what they didnt mention in their blog post were the adverts that are on the page too, leading some customers to be less than happy with the new service.
Whilst it is possible for customers to opt-out, many have suffered delays in having the service removed. Furthermore, many customers were unhappy that they were not asked to sign up to the service, and instead had it added without their permission. Whilst Comcast claims to have sent emails to all its customers explaining about the service and what it does, some customers claimed they never received these emails.
Comcast have created a website so that their users can opt-out, but it is only accessible by users of the network.
DNS redirection isnt new, many other ISPs, including Bell, Verizon and Orange do the same, and OpenDNS have even utilized it to block malware sites. However, it appears that the issue customers are having is the fact that the service was an opt-out service, as opposed to an opt-in one.