Time Warner and Road Runner Attempting to Monetize by Hijacking DNS

Road Runner

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:

Time Warner Road Runner hijacking not found domains

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.

Road Runner Hijack

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.

CNN Fails to get IReport.com Live; Oilman Leaves Range, and Other News

There is a lot going on this week and it is only Monday, January 21st 2007. I thought I would catch you up on some of the interesting, totally unrelated things, not in any order of importance. I considered covering each of these items today, but

CNN Markets Domain Name but Fails to Turn It On
Yes, you’re reading that right. CNN bought iReport.com for $750,000 and according to sources they’re actually running commercials or telling people watching CNN to go to iReport.com. I haven’t personally seen CNN mention iReport.com. In any case, apparently the marketing department failed to tell the IT department to actually change the DNS and make the site live. OOPS! Take a look at the screen capture below:


So much for getting the iReport.com website live. Last time I tried, I had a domain name purchased and up and running with content within 15 minutes. At least you could redirect it with a 301 Permanent Redirect to CNN.com in the meantime… Sheesh! (Or, better yet, CNN should redirect it with a 301 Permanent Redirect here to the iReport exchange page.)

Oilman Todd Friesen Leaving Range Online Media
Todd Friesen has announced that he is leaving Range Online Media and going to Visible Technologies. That’s big news in the Search Marketing community.

11 Must Read Social Media Blogs
SEO 2.0 is out with a great post about 11 social media blogs that you need to read. What’s interesting is that I, too, am seeing that many blogs are now changing their focus.

Match.com spam

Match.com Goes Grey Hat
Courtesy of Mr. Wolf, Match.com has noticed that there’s a bunch of old-style text on the homepage of Match.com. Wow, that sure does bring back memories of SEO circa 1997.

Sphinn traffic
Watching Sphinn
Maybe it’s just me, but someone has too much time on their hands if you’re spending time watching Sphinn. Sure, it’s useful information to have, and I probably will use the data that they’ve outlined here. I, like the other SEOs, like Sphinn. I guess if you’re going to sphinn something then you ought to be doing it on Thursday.

Monday Marketing Foo for July 30, 2007

Every week I try to go through the blogosphere and see what everyone’s talking about. This week I thought I’d take a look at the SEO (search engine optimization) blogs.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but I recently turned off nofollow on this site. So, if you comment and it passes my “tests” to prove that you’re a human and I approve of your comment, and you wish to inclue a link to your site or a page on your site, then the “link” will count.

There have been reports recently, following anchor text link tests, that nofollow links still pass some link credit. But, ideally, it’s better to have a dofollow link than a nofollow link. Andy Beard, like me, is a strong supporter of dofollow on blogs. If you’re a blogger, then you need to check out Andy’s ultimate list of dofollow plugins.

Sphinn has launched. Some say that this Web 2.0 style site will replace Threadwatch. Perhaps it will, but for now you might want to check out my list of top social bookmarking sites.

Jill Whalen recently talked about the 10 types of bloggers. It’s an interesting read.

Daily Blog Tips recently published a list of top 25 seo blogs. I’m not surprised by the list–but I would have used other criteria. I’m not on the list, but this blog isn’t really a “SEO blog” by definition. My goal is to talk about more thing that matter to marketing professionals–like social media, search, and marketing online. I’ve got news for you: if you’re still focusing on “SEO” then you need to move on. More about that later.

On a related note, Search Engine Journal recently talked about top 150 marketing blogs.

And also related, you might want to check out Top Rank Blog’s list of search marketing blogs.

The other Andy talked about how social networking is not a popularity contest. In most cases, it’s not just a popularity contest, it’s the one who can write the best content and who has the ability to use technology to their advantage.

Related to the popularity contest issue, Michael has some great tips about what Rae said.

Monday Marketing Foo for July 23, 2007

Jeremy Liew, a venture capitalist with Lightspeed Partners, has a great post about usage numbers of social networks. Hat tip goes to Robert Scoble for mentioning it.

Matt Cutts recently spoke at WordCamp2007. If you’re interested, Stephanie Booth took notes. Matt Cutts talked about a few ideas for bloggers, including:

– make a PDF sign converter (what’s a PDF sign converter?)
– make a Lolcat builder
– make an iPhone app directory
– sell your moustache on eBay — linkbait! (yes, he actually mentioned our well-known friend, the black hatter!)
– make a free hugs campaign
– write some tutorials
– write some analysis
– hunt down all the wikipedia defaces
– do some liveblogging
– create controversy (like Dvorak!) — linkbait!
– mention Robert Scoble (did you see that I mentioned Robert Scoble here in this post? Wait–let me mention Robert Scoble again so maybe I’ll get some link love? LOL)
– make lists (13 reasons why something rulez or stinks)

In the WordCamp speech, Matt also mentions some additional tips, and mentions “SEO Title”, a WordPress plugin. Also, you might want to note that he mentions that Google doesn’t look at meta tags that much.

Jason Calacanis recently posted about Mahalo and the “Michael Vick Dog Fighting Video”. Who cares? I don’t.

Dave Naylor recently uncovered a Mahalo killer. I’ve checked it out, and yes, Aftervote could really be a Mahalo-killer.

Could someone PLEASE tell Greg that he needs to update his blog? It hasn’t been updated since Wednesday, April 4, 2007 @ 8:45 pm. And I thought Jensense hasn’t updated her blog in a while. Sheesh!

Mike Grehan just wrote in his Clickz column that he was in Los Angeles and noticed that the Google Universal Search results are different in the US than they are in the UK. What’s interesting is that he’s reportedly been seeing a commercial search result on the left side of the Google search results.

In related news, Kim Krause Berg is reporting that Clickz has relaunched.

Andy Beal is reporting that Google has invested in a high resolution camera company.

Tamar has a wishlist for Apple: give her an iPhone without the “phone” part. Tamar, couldn’t you just buy one off of ebay and not get it activated?

And, finally, Todd has found some great “Friday Finds”. Todd: what happened to the Friday finds last Friday?

Monday Marketing Foo

Want a free iPhone? Sign up to be a writer at Mahalo, Jason Calacanis’ new search engine. The first 100 part time guides who reach 100 search results get a free iPhone from Mahalo. You get paid $10 to $15 for each search result that you write.

Webmasterworld has launched a new review my site section. Here’s your chance to get reviewed by some of the best online marketers for free. You must be a Webmasterworld Supporter.

Sphinn has launched. Some are saying that it’s going to be the next Threadwatch. Was Sphinn the reason why Threadwatch was closed down? We may never know.

Someone should tell Michael Gray that he really doesn’t need to go 3g. Michael, you need to go get a free iPhone from Jason Calacanis.

At least someone is doing something right. We Build Pages is booked up for the rest of 2007: “Sorry, we are currently booked through 2007 for all of our SEO and link building services” is now being displayed on the WBP site. Someone go tell Jim that he’s still linking to Threadwatch. If you’re still linking there, shame on you–go remove your link, now, before you forget.

Lee has posted the TopRank Challenge Contest. Voting ends Friday July 20th at 5pm CST and the winner will be announced Monday morning, July 23rd. Winners will be awarded a bit of cash, some fame and a trip to an upcoming search marketing conference.

Does compete.com really live up to the hype Aaron’s giving it?

Dave says that search engine world is cloaking backlinks. The SEO Days site links to the pubcon site, but doesn’t link directly to search engine world…I have to admit that something strange appears to be going on.

Andy believes that 2007 is the year of the Domainer. Well, uh, yeah, if you aren’t into domains and you’re an online marketer then you really should start looking at domains.

Online Reputation Management is key nowadays…and you’d better make sure that you own your own name online. Todd has a great post about it.

Search Engine Journal recently talked about five ways to optimize for local search. If you haven’t started looking at local search then you need to do it.

Andy says that Facebook may be built on stolen code. Wow, that is one court case I’m going to be watching closely.

Jennifer Laycock recently talked about Corporate Blogging. “When it comes to corporate blogging, some companies have stumbled, some have soared and others are facing serious start-up challenges”, says Jennifer…she points out a few OOPS. Here’s another OOPS: the Kelsey Group needs to clean up their blog. Last time I checked, there were over 140+ comments on their last May 18th post. By the way, there’s no nofollow on those comment links.

If you haven’t read my recent post about protecting WordPress Plugins and you’re running WordPress, then I would go read it…I explain how to protect your WordPress plugins.

Aviva Directory has a great post about directories with the most backlinks. Very informative.

Scoreboard knows the score! Fark sends twice as much traffic as Netscape. That may be true, but from my experience, Netscape users click on ads more often. Which is a good thing.

Then, on the other hand, if you’re just into traffic then Andy can tell you where to get traffic to your site.

Topix Appoints Chris Tolles as CEO


Chris Tolles
Topix, a leading news community on the internet, is transitioning from a news aggregator to a news community and “top 20 news site”. As a part of this transition, Topix.net has appointed Chris Tolles as Chief Executive Officer.

Chris Tolles is a longtime marketing executive and a mamber of the founding team of Topix. He succeeds Rich Skrenta, who has led Topix as CEO since he founded topix five years ago. Chris Tolles has worked closely with Rich Skrenta to change Topix from a news aggregator into the largest news community on the internet today. Rich Skrenta has played a major role in laying out the new executive structure–primarily to capitalize on the next phase of growth of Topix. Skrenta will continue to serve on the Topix board and as an advisor to Topix.

Chris Tolles originally joined Topix in March of 2004, before the official launch of the website. He and Rich Skrenta have a long history of building companies and building large-scale projects inside big companies. Chris Tolles and Rich Skrenta were on the founding team of NewHoo, which was acquired by Netscape in 1998, and re-launched as the Open Directory Project at dmoz.org.

Chris Tolles has seventeen years of industry and entrepreneurial experience. Prior to joining Topix, he co-founded and was the Vice President of Marketing at Spoke Software, which is an enterprise social networking company. Chris Tolles was also a Director of Marketing at AOL/Netscape and served in a variety of sales and marketing roles at Sun Microsystems. He graduated from the University of California at San Diego with degrees in Computer Science and Economics.

Co-Inventor of Wireless Remote Control Dies

Robert Adler
Robert Adler, 1913-2007 — TV Remote Control Co-Inventor

I know this doesn’t have much to do with search engine marketing, but it definitely has something to do with television–and the wireless remote control is such an influence on my life (yes, I’m a couch potato sometimes), so I thought I’d pass on the news the the co-inventor of the wireless remote control has died, Robert Adler. He died of heart failure on Feb. 15 in Boise, Idaho. He was 93.

Here’s more from the Zenith press release today:

Best known as co-inventor of the wireless remote control for television, Dr. Robert Adler was responsible for a large number of significant scientific contributions to the electronics industry, including landmark inventions in the field of consumer products and in sophisticated specialized communications equipment.

A prolific inventor with a seemingly never-ending thirst for knowledge, his pioneering developments spanned from the Golden Age of Television into the High-Definition Era, earning him more than 180 U.S. patents. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published his most recent patent application, for advances in touch-screen technology, on Feb. 1.

Dr. Adler’s six-decade career with Zenith Electronics Corporation began in 1941 when he joined Zenith’s research division after receiving his Ph.D. degree in physics from the University of Vienna in 1937. He was named associate director in 1952, vice president in 1959, and vice president and director of research in 1963. He retired as research vice president in 1979, and served Zenith as a technical consultant until 1999, when Zenith merged with LG Electronics.

In the consumer electronics field, Dr. Adler has been widely recognized as the co-inventor (with fellow Zenith engineer Eugene Polley) of the wireless TV remote. Dr. Adler’s “Space Command” ultrasonic remote control for TV sets was introduced by Zenith in 1956. He received the 1958 Outstanding Technical Achievement Award of the Institute of Radio Engineers (now the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE) for his “original work on ultrasonic remote controls” for television. [Read more…]