Monday, July 21, 2008

Rogers is now Hijacking invalid DNS requests

Firefox has a great feature for finding web pages. It tries to load whatever you type in the URL bar, then if that doesn't work, it passes off what you typed to Google, and clicks the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button. This lets me type "apple" to get http://www.apple.com/, or "costco canada" to get http://www.costco.ca/ , etc. Great! I haven't used bookmarks for years.

So this morning I discover that Rogers has decided to over-ride this feature and piss me off to no end.

When Firefox tries to load something you typed in the URL box, like "apple", it gets a DNS error that says, in effect, there is no site called "apple", which is technically true, because it would have to be at least apple.com to be valid. Rogers has decided to hijack this behaviour by re-directing your browser to their own search page, instead of displaying the error. Of course, their search page is full of ads, which they are paid to run.

Imagine that the next time you dialed a wrong number, instead of getting an automated message that informed you the number didn't exist, you were instead sent to a telemarketer who tried to sell you lawn-care service. Now imagine that your phone used to automatically fix up wrong numbers for you, but now it can't any more because your phone company is hijacking all your wrong numbers. That's basically what Rogers is doing.

I've been mad at Rogers before, and even took steps last summer to make leaving Rogers really easy. (I stopped using my Rogers email address, and switched everything over to an email address on one of my own domains.) So, my first instinct this morning was to leave Rogers and switch to Bell Sympatico.

Then I thought about it for a minute, and decided that instead of doing that, I would just stop paying my Rogers internet bill.

How do you like me now, Rogers?

2 comments:

lunac said...

They aren't only hijacking invalid DNS requests, but also valid URLs.

Try
http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q=anysearchterm&src=IE-Address using Rogers DNS and you'll see it lands on search.rogers .com. (Note, it doesn't seem to always happen, seems random to me.)

If IE-Address is removed from the URL it goes through to Live.com as expected. Without Rogers new "Feature" either will work as expected.

That is full out URL hijacking.

mvanlamz said...

Thanks, Lunac. You're right. This is even worse than it seemed at first.