I am sure you’ve heard about the hypocrisy of companies like Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner, and other Internet Service Providers who display an error page laden with pay per click links when a user types in a domain name that doesn’t exist. It really irks me when ISPs monetize typo domain names – even for trademarked terms, especially when some of them file UDRPs and lawsuits against companies who monetize their marks.
I was so annoyed by this practice that I opted out of the Road Runner service, so when I typo a domain name that doesn’t exist, I am suppose to be taken to an error page that says “Server Not Found.” See screenshot below of a page that doesn’t exist to see the generic error page I generally receive in Firefox (I get a similar error page with Safari, too).
When I enter a domain name without the .com in my browser, Safari automatically enters the .com for me, and I am taken to that site if it exists or an error page similar to the one above if there is no website. With Firefox, if I enter a domain name without the .com it takes me to the website I intended, or if the page doesn’t exist, it takes me to a Google search results page. If I enter a typo domain name and there is no website, I am taken to a page that looks like the one above. I am never suppose to be taken to a Road Runner error page since I opted out of their service.
This morning, I wanted to check out television listings to see what football games would be on TV this afternoon. I was a bit lazy, so instead of entering TVListings.com, I simply entered “TVListings” into my browser, assuming I would be taken to TVListings.com, a website owned by the Tribune Company, since Safari is suppose to add the .com for me (same thing happens in Firefox which generally takes me to the closest website). To my surprise, I was taken to a Road Runner landing page (see screenshot below and click for larger image).
Since I have opted out of the error page service, I don’t see how it’s okay for Road Runner to take me to their landing page instead of taking me to the page I intended to visit. I know Time Warner offers cable service, which I also have, so that’s probably their motivation for doing this. However, I don’t think this is right for them to take me to a page I didn’t intend to visit. They shouldn’t have one policy for some domain names and a different policy when they have a competing website.