I’ve got Time Warner Cable internet service, also known as Road Runner. Recently, they’ve replaced the standard HTTP 404 error page with a new Road Runner search page, searching off of keywords in the domain you tried. That’s annoying enough, but now I’m frequently getting their custom (ad-loaded) HTTP 404 page when I try to go to perfectly valid websites. (Check out the screenshot to the right)
I’m sure it’s an issue with their DNS server being flaky, which shouldn’t be happening in the first place. It just makes things that much more annoying when, instead of the site you want to go to, you get a bunch of ads thrown at you.
Of course, there’s also the fact that the first ad is the site I’m trying to go to. Is it possible that Time Warner is using this to extort ad revenue from big clients like Amazon? I know 90% of cable internet customers will just click on the ad link to get to the site they’re trying to go to and not question the whole thing. (I know several people still type full URLs into Google to go to a website)
[Update] Another example, we all know downloadsquad.com exists… so why did I get this page several times while trying to go to the site?
[Update 2] If you go to http://ww23.rr.com/prefs.php you can apparently disable this “service”. The link to that page is found in the very bottom-right of the error page. Of course, 99.5% of Time Warner’s users are never going to see that link, so Time Warner will be taking in extorted ad revenue as it redirects (and confuses) users as they try to go to perfectly valid URLs. Good game Time Warner.
Is there anyone in the telecom industry that isn’t inherently dishonest?