Bill Hartzer

Time Warner and Road Runner Attempting to Monetize by Hijacking DNS

Here we go again. Third Pipe predicted it and now it’s happening. Time Warner, using their Road Runner internet service, is attempting to monetize typo domain names and domain names that are not found when their users are type a domain that doesn’t resolve.

If you are a Road Runner customer, Road Runner is attempting to make money by presenting you with a page full of advertisements if you land on a domain name that does not exist or cannot be displayed. See the screen capture below:

Many companies in the past have gotten a lot of heat from customers (and non-customers) by attempting to make money every time one of their customers types in a bad domain name or goes to a web page that cannot be found. In many cases, there was such a publich backlash about these horrible (unethical?) business practices that the companies ended up stopping what they were doing.

A while back Embarq was caught attempting to monetize these typos by redirecting their users to their own default search portal. Here is an other example of what Road Runner is doing and the type of page that is displayed. You can see this example for yourself by going here or even here.

If you are not familiar with this practice, let me explain: If you are using a web browser and type in a domain name in the address field that does not exist, an error page (from the web browser you’re using) should come up. Your internet provider should not ‘automatically’ be displaying a page of advertisements. Every time you click one of the links that’s displayed on the error page, your internet provider makes money from you. After all, you’re paying them for internet access, right? Why pay them twice?

If the fact that your Internet provider is attempting to make money from you, then there are a few things that you can do. You can complain to your ISP, you can blog about it if you have a blog and make it public, or you can switch your DNS default. It is possible to configure your computer and your own router so that this doesn’t happen.

Domain Name Wire originally reported this and we’re continuing to see it happen with all sorts of typo domains.

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