It was recently reported that Comcast would be hijacking DNS error pages. Instead of returning a website not found error for typos Comcast will return a search page with ads. When I first heard about this I could understand why a company would want to do this (money) and while I didn’t like it I didn’t get mad. Just a company trying to maximize the bucks. I was even encouraged because it seemed like Comcast was taking a smart approach as opposed to other ISPs that do this.
Then I got the e-mail from Comcast announcing the change and that sent me over the edge and reminded me why I hate dealing with Comcast. Like a politician they need to make it sound like they do everything only to benefit the consumer, and money is never a factor.
Instead of just owning up to the reason for doing it and saying the pages would be laden with advertising which would generate income for Comcast they promoted it as a customer service oriented enhancement. I’d have been unperturbed if it was a smaller lie like “In an effort to keep your costs down we’re serving ads when you make a typo.”
But no, they start off by telling me it’s to help me, the first line:
At Comcast, we’re constantly looking to deliver a better high-speed
Internet and online search experience.
No where do they mention it’s an advertising page. And to rub it in they promote their opt-out page as easy. It sounds easy, all you have to do is use their table to figure out which is the mac address and then type it into a form. OK, it’s not difficult and readers of this blog could easily do it. So even though their providing true opt-out by tying it to hardware and your IP address and for everyone in the house, they still had to put a speed bump in.
My problem is Comcast had a extremely easy and secure way to let customers opt-out. They already have my cable modem mac address and have associated it to my account. I have to call with the new mac address should I change my modem. All they had to do was put a opt-out option on my account page that requires a logon. If they really had their customers in mind they wouldn’t have required me to write down a small 12 digit number, enter it into a form and wait for two emails.
This is why while I use Comcast I only use their wire. I don’t use their homepage, I don’t use their email and I don’t use their DNS. Even though I don’t use Comcast DNS I went through the opt-out procedure to avoid being counted as one of those customers happily using the “enhancement”.
By the way, Comcast promised to deliver a bandwidth meter by January 2009, anyone seen it? Another example of their customer focus. Impose a cap, promise a way to monitor usage to make sure you stay under the cap, then fail to deliver even 7 months later. Sure, I’m well under but I have to use the tomato router to track it. Even my cell phone company lets me see my minutes used.
What really burns me is my only alternative is a slow DSL connection from AT&T. A company with worse customer service than Comcast. End of rant.