Company to shut down NXD error redirect service.
OpenDNS announced this week that it is shutting down a service that was, in effect, a giant typosquatting operation.
Millions of people use OpenDNS as an alternative to their ISP’s DNS. The useful service needed a way to make money, and it found a very lucrative one: whenever someone would type in a non-existent domain name (NXD), OpenDNS would show them a search results page that also included Yahoo! ads.
Other ISPs also caught on and started showing these error resolution pages. That includes Verizon, Time Warner and other ISPs. I’ve always found it ironic that Verizon sues cybersquatters for typosquatting its brands when it essentially typosquats the entire web.
Now OpenDNS says it will no longer hijack the browser’s intended experience and show ads. The company gives a lengthy explanation, but I’ll summarize it like this: the company now makes money from its enterprise services, so it can get rid of something it always knew was a dirty way to make money for a company that prides itself on making the internet better.
It also sounds like browser changes were beginning to interfere with the gravy train. Type a search query in a browser these days and it’s intended to be a search — not direct navigation.
Still, OpenDNS said it made millions of dollars a year from the service. So it is a financial hit for the company.
Clearly the millions of dollars a year are no longer required to keep the lights on, and the bigger customer base and user data it will gain from dropping the ads outweighs the money lost.