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EarthLink Criticized for Redirecting Nonexistent Domains

Internet service provider EarthLink is drawing fire from customers after launching a test program in which it redirects nonexistent domains to a company-provided error page containing suggestions, a search box and advertisements. ...EarthLink responded in a company blog posting on the issue, saying it was listening to the feedback and was working to resolve any problems. However, it does not intend to disable the DNS redirection.

Read full story: BetaNews

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Re: EarthLink Criticized for Redirecting Nonexistent Domains John Berryhill  –  Sep 07, 2006 4:34 PM PDT

This is perfectly fine, so long as Earthlink doesn't send any of the profits from non-existent *.cm names to anyone in Cameroon.

Alternatively, if I understand some of the other comments, it is unobjectionable as long as they use some of the money to support projects in Cameroon which, I guess, get a majority vote on CircleID.

The minute that an Earthlink user types in NeimanMarcus.cm, it will break the Seventh Seal, and rabid lawyers will be unleashed on every corner of the internet.

Re: EarthLink Criticized for Redirecting Nonexistent Domains The Famous Brett Watson  –  Sep 07, 2006 8:55 PM PDT

What I find interesting is the shift towards Site Finder shenanigans being acceptable on balance — where appropriate profit motive exists. Apparently the powers-that-be at EarthLink have realised that they, as an ISP, are actually in a better position than a DNS registry to monkey around with DNS query results for fun and profit. After all, the vast majority of EarthLink (and other ISP) users will be accepting whatever DNS configuration their ISP offers them as part of DHCP or PPP negotiation, and this is a situation where downstream is the advantageous position.

When Site Finder was unleashed on an unsuspecting public, the immediate reaction was along the lines of, "hey, Verisign, cut it out!" Were it to happen again today, however, I suspect there would be an entirely different reaction. Many ISPs would take the EarthLink approach and say, "we have decided to launch a similar service of our own." The ISPs, being in the advantageous downstream position, would win.

Profit motive being what it is, the registries and ISPs might get into a tug-o-war, competing for end user eyeballs and the associated revenue, with DNS infrastructure taking the role of the rope. The escalating technical abuses likely to follow in such a situation would reduce many engineers to tears.

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