What's going on with this Earthlink redirect default, and how ticked off should I be?
I want to stress up front I have solved the core problem by disabling the default opt-in following the links
found at this page. But I'd like to know what was really going on with the situation I describe below, and whether it should make me mad enough to go to the trouble of jettisoning Earthlink as my ISP that my Comcast-provided internet comes through (I have no idea what would be involved or what my alternatives would be).
I've known for a long time because of some free "test your internet connection functionality" thing I ran years back that Earthlink pulled this sort of scuzzy trick where it would "redirect" some bad URL entries into an Earthlink-branded, revenue generating search page. It didn't seem quite a big enough deal to bother with sorting out though.
Recently though I started noticing it seemed like I was getting this page more often than usual, sometimes for links I knew had been up a few days or weeks ago. I started checking these sites via downforeveryone
and in a lot of cases it was telling me the sites were up. This finally spurred me to go through that page above and follow its instructions to opt out and lo and behold, pages Earthlink was telling me a minute ago couldn't be connected to are up.
First question, how is this happening? I'm no internet expert but I can probably understand a fairly technical explanation. How is it that my previous configuration couldn't connect to these pages but by changing the DNS address my OS uses they are again available?
Second question, now that this is sorted, are there still compelling reasons to go to the trouble to removed earthlink from the equation? Are the general principles issues sufficient (I realize this is subjective but if you have particular perspective on it I'll listen to it). When I connected the internet Comcast gave me options and I selected one without much thought. As I recall it had no impact on the overall price. I never use the email or personal page Earthlink gives me. On the other hand they have been basically transparent and unobtrusive but this business makes me wonder if they have been screwing me more than I noticed. I do recall a short while ago I had an internet outage of half a day or so and the Comcast line was basically this is an Earthlink problem, it will be sorted out as soon as possible, and no we don't want to talk to you any more about it.