Mediacom is suddenly intercepting my Google queries and redirecting them to their own search page.
I use Mozilla Firefox to browse the Internet. The current version of the browser will automatically detect when you type an invalid domain into the navigation bar. Since it isn't a valid URL, they assume it was a search query and by default submit it to Google. They get the first result from the Google results and redirect you to that page. This is the equivalent of doing an "I'm Feeling Lucky" search on Google.
So for example, if I wanted to read the Wikipedia page about the moon, instead of typing the long URL for the page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon
I just type into my browser:
I know that with those two keywords there's a 99% probability that the first Google result will be the Wikipedia page for the moon.
Behind the scenes my browser takes the phrase "wiki moon" and passes it to this page on Google:http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=wiki+moon
For the past two to three years, this page has then take me to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon
In nine characters of typing, I got to the page that I wanted. Rather convenient, wouldn't you agree?
However, what happens now is incredibly annoying and I think quite rude. When Mediacom detects me going to this page:http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=wiki+moon
They send me to this page:http://assist.mediacomcable.com/mediacomassist/dnsassist/main/?domain=http%3A//www.google.com/search%3Fie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26sourceid%3Dnavclient%26gfns%3D1%26q%3Dwiki+moon
This page makes the claim "Domain not found". Are you seriously trying to tell me that the domain www.google.com
was not found? This is a ridiculous lie and just a a cheap trick to steal traffic and redirect it to your own search engine. Your search engine doesn't have the page I wanted as the first result, and doesn't redirect me to the first result as I wanted. You are stealing the functionality of my browsers and the functionality of the Google server and replacing it with a sub-par service. Do you honestly think your assisting me? Maybe if I really wanted to go to the domain wikimoon.com this service might be wanted, but no I did not want that, my browser was handling the redirection from "wiki moon" to google.com the way I wanted it to, and you stepped in and interrupted that process.
This page does interestingly enough have a preferences page, where you can supposedly opt out of this 'service'. However, when I choose to disable the Web Address Error Redirect Service, and then save my settings, returning to the page shows no setting for that service while the other two display "Disabled" in bold lettering. Apparently the preference system for this link hijacking is broken, because it still hijacks my links to Google.
I'm a tech savy Internet user, I took computer science in college and I develop web pages for a living, so don't try to lie to me and say this is a mistake. This service is actively identifying google search result pages that look like this:http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=
And hijacking them to assist.mediacomcable.com, I set that domain name to 127.0.0.1 in my hosts file so I wouldn't have to see it every time I typed a search in my navigation bar. And I can see the link redirection in the source code now.
turn off this feature please click this here</a>
This is a horrible business practice. An ISP should provide an Internet connection, they should not attempt to filter my traffic requests and change my destination to their own servers. You need to fix your preferences page so that it works correctly. And I highly recommend making the service opt-in rather than opt-out.
Fortunately, my knowledge has led me to a way to work around this problem. But it still doesn't remove my anger that a company would sink this low to fraud their customers by filtering their Internet connection and hijacking specific destinations.