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Optimum Online offering DNS hijacking “service”

October 3rd, 2008 · 4 Comments

Remember, it’s — spell it correctly, or Optimum Online will assume you wanted targeted ads and useless search results, not this hilarious blog. That’s right, Optimum Online now offers DNS hijacking at no extra charge!

Lots of other people are pissed – and rightly so. Network Solutions (Verisign) tried to do this a few years back, but had to scrap those plans because everyone was up in arms about it. So what makes Optimum Online think they can get away with it? Greed, ignorance, and apathy – if customers don’t make a fuss, and they make more money, they’re happy. Don’t let them get away with this. Call Optimum Online and complain – ramble on even – and offer them no way to satisfy you besides stopping this service. “But you can opt-out!” they will cheerily point out – no one opted in to begin with (we still recommend you opt-out anyway to make it official).

Let’s explore the features of the new “DNS Assistance Service” that they’re “offering” us.

If you misspell or mistype a web address, dead-end “no such name” errors can occur. However, the DNS servers used by Optimum Online are designed to eliminate dead-end “no such name” error pages you can encounter as you surf the web. By displaying the preceding search results page, users know that the web site they’ve attempted to navigate to does not exist, and are presented with suggested sites they may have been seeking.

Users “know” that the site they’re visiting doesn’t exist? Actually, they might have known, but instead, Optimum Online has hijacked the non-existent address and “suggests sites” you might be interested in through targeted ads. Let’s see how effective the DNS service is.

So, you want to check out, but you’re real drunk, and you type in “”:

Hmm… those sites didn’t seem very relevant. In fact, they seemed completely irrelevant. “Did you mean: INed Attention?” Yes I did! That’s exactly what I’d typed. What kind of suggestion is that? Maybe I should have typed “”:

That wasn’t very helpful either! They even didn’t suggest a single thing that time. But thanks for the targeted ads, Cablevision! Ok, maybe I’m being unfair. Let’s pretend wasn’t resolving by DNS for some reason. What would happen then?

Geez, it only took typing in the name of the site I was looking for to find the site I was looking for buried under three totally unrelated ads. This is some neat service! For bonus points, the #2 search result is the horror story about Cablevision failing hard at disaster recovery.

Screw Optimum Online, I’m switching to Verizon iOS. Not that I think iOS is so great, heck, I’ve never tried it, so I can’t recommend it. But still, I should check out…

Whoa! The first result was actually for Verizon FiOS! That actually was what I was looking for. But it’s awful nice of Cablevision to make Verizon pay for the ad-clicks… And the “search results” once again have literally nothing to do with Verizon FiOS.

Seriously guys: call and complain if this bothers you at all.  They should and must know better than this. Just call: (877) 393-4448 and let them know how you feel!

Tags: Complaint Department · Computers

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ITguy // Dec 24, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    But even more fun, is when business customers on Optimum Online try to VPN into their company network; this DNS hijacking can break VALID requests to internal resources. In these cases, only direct IP addresses will work.

    Gee, thanks!

  • 2 JB // Jan 6, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    As a tech support monkey, this is becoming a very irritating “helpful” practice. Qwest recently did the same thing, quietly of course, so VPN users had no idea what was happening. brings up Optimum’s hijack page, luckily they’ve got the opt-out link hidden behind the About button.

  • 3 FranciscoNET // Jan 19, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Hey, you can always use OpenDNS DNS settings on network properties > Your Network Interface Card on your computer, or you can set it globally on your router by setting your custom domain name servers (DNS) as:
    you will then be using a DNS server totally outside optimum online.

    You can even use Google’s Public DNS, their DNS is: and
    and it is Google’s DNS the ones I am currently using at my computers.

    [Editor’s reply: While this may be useful for some users, keep in mind, you’re essentially disclosing your entire web history to Google by using their DNS servers. Also, I removed your link as it is against our terms.]

  • 4 NotHappyWithOptimum // Apr 15, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    I have tried to opt out of this DNS hijacking by Optimum. Their opt out link and/or disable link does NOT work. This really is frustrating because I am a web designer and I NEED to know what the website error pages are in order to troubleshoot site problems.

    [Editor’s reply: As of June 11, 2013, I noticed Optimum is now even inserting CSS overlays for home users. No opt-out available that I’ve seen. You think it’s frustrating not seeing DNS errors? Imagine how frustrating it will be for you when Optimum is injecting their own HTML and CSS into your pages!]

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