Users of modern web browsers are getting used to not having to type in an entire URL to get to the page they want—most new browsers fill in the shorthand, so you can type in “Torontoist,” for example, and don’t have to worry about the .com suffix. Unless you’re on Rogers, that is.
Beginning yesterday (for us), Rogers users started getting a browser hijack for any failed DNS requests, which are usually due to mistyped, nonexistent URLs, but can also include URLs that now often get auto-corrected by the browser. No longer are you directed to your browser’s “not found” page or the .com default, but to Rogers’ own Yahoo!-sourced search page filled with mountains of advertising. In fact, the actual URL suggestions it spits back don’t even start until almost halfway down the page in order to make way for banner ads, sponsored search results, and “News & Entertainment” links to Rogers properties like Chatelaine and Maclean’s.
The company bills this, uh, “feature” as a “service designed to enhance your web surfing experience by eliminating many of the error pages you encounter as you surf.” Aww, that’s sweet, you guys! Users can turn off this obnoxious redirect by finding the option buried in the “Learn More About This Page” link at the very bottom of the results page, but it’s cookie-based, so if you clear or disable browser cookies, you’re back to business as usual.
This isn’t the first time we’ve criticized Rogers for browser hijacking or for exhibiting explicit contempt for its customers, but it’s extra egregious when an ISP uses the habits and typos of its patrons to send them straight to a pile of unsolicited advertising.
What, did you think the company evaporated their last shred of any goodwill following their iPhone pricing debacle? Pshaw! At the very least, enjoy the picnic.
Image by Marc Lostracco. Firefox Windows screencap by Torontoist reader Brent.