Comcast DNS Hijacking – Domain Helper Service Still Not Helpful

Back in August, I wrote about how Comcast’s Domain Helper Service Makes Lives Crappier. As a refresher, if you’re a Comcast user and you type a web address incorrectly into your browser’s address bar, your browser will be hijacked by Comcast, send you to a different URL, and place a bunch of ads on the page.

To me, this is not useful at all. It’s intrusive. Comcast makes more more money from me for providing a worse service. Our interests are not aligned.

As I mentioned last August, Comcast provides a way to opt-out of the service. But why should I have to opt-out of something I never opted into in the first place? To me, this is a case of Comcast changing the terms of our contract, for the worse, without my permission.

So, at the time, I asked a Comcast customer service rep to fix the problem they created. Amazingly, they claimed that they couldn’t, which made no technical sense. So, today, I gave it another shot. Sure enough, they were able to fix what they broke and reset my modem, remotely, in a couple of minutes.

So there are now two ways to solve the problem Comcast created. You can either waste your own time by using Comcast’s self-service opt-out system to remove yourself from their browser hijacking system. Or you can call them up to waste your time AND their time while they undo what they’ve done. Personally, I find the latter more satisfying. As a paying customer, I’m not particularly interested in cleaning up messes that they create.

One other thing: as a pathetically loyal Comcast user who suffers from a lack of local competition, I had this service imposed on me, thus changing my contract without my permission. If you’re a new Internet subscriber, you’ll have the “benefit” of having this intrusion turned on by default. You can still get Comcast to turn off DNS hijacking.

7 thoughts on “Comcast DNS Hijacking – Domain Helper Service Still Not Helpful”

  1. You can also use a different DNS server. Google provides fast, unfiltered, public DNS. The IP Addresses are very easy to remember, too: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4. OpenDNS is also a nice alternative if you’re a google hater.

    Side note:
    I am on Qwest so I do not have this problem. I refuse to do business with Comcast because they have a tendency to fundamentally break the internet by illegally sending RST packets to bittorrent users and by doing DNS stuff like this. Qwest’s speeds used to suck, but I can get up to 40mbps at my house if I want to pay for it. I don’t so I pay for 12, which works just fine.

  2. Hmmm, this explains to my how it was that I came to opt into the same feature on Frontier. Only on Frontier I get no opt out option, at least that I can find.

  3. Hey, here’s something funny: One of the Ads by Google between the post and the comments is for…. wait for it…. COMCAST! Talk about sending me mixed messages, Ed!

  4. I have this at home and hate it. But I’m too scared to opt out as I’m worried they’ll screw something up and I’ll be without internet for days and need hours of phone calls.

    Also the domain “helper” doesn’t help in the least. Countless times I’ve mistyped a web address by one letter, and the “helping” results should select the obvious correct domain. It’s rarely listed, with a full page of ads.

    If it were akin to Google’s “did you mean this?” correction it would be someone valuable, but calling it a “helper” is laughable

  5. I use Qwest but use ipHouse for my access (Mike Horwath’s post Winternet startup). I can’t get superfast internet through ipHouse thanks to Qwest’s monopolistic business practices, but I’d rather struggle along at 150 kbps than give any more money than necessary to a monopolist.

  6. Thanks for suggesting the Google DNS server, Justin and everyone else. Works perfectly just like before Comcast hijacks or even better.

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