The other day I typed a URL into FireFox, my favorite Internet browser, and I mistyped. Instead of seeing the usual “address not found” display there was a strange message from my Internet service provider, Qwest.
Qwest has launched a new service Qwest Web.Help
Qwest Web.Help will help you quickly find a destination website that meets your needs.
When Qwest.net and Qwest MSN customers mistype a URL (e.g. www.qwest.cmo) in a browser address bar or type a search term using Internet Explorer in the browser’s address bar, Web.Help will aid them in quickly finding their intended destination. You may avoid seeing this notice a second time by clicking on the button below.
Otherwise, you will see this notice at least twice before the service is launched for you. The Qwest Web.Help search page may impact applications that rely on an error message being returned and override similar browser-based search result pages.
Qwest will force this service on people unless they opt out? Why would Qwest do such an obnoxious thing? Money. Qwest is going to make money from this operation. If you look in the FAQ for Web.Help Qwest explains that they’ll help you by providing a list of links. Supposedly one of the links might be the site that you were trying to see. The list is comprised of regular search engine links and sponsored links. In other words, Qwest is going to be paid for some of the items on the list.
I’m not against making money. I’m not against Internet advertising. I’m against companies trying to make a buck and pretending that they’re giving me a “service”. If this really were a service with value people would want it. People would sign up to get it. That’s not what’s happening here becasue this isn’t really a service.
I also find Qwest’s methodology just plain rude. I have to take my time to opt out of this thing that I didn’t ask for and don’t want? That’s not an attitude that I appreciate.
The good news is that the “opt out” process was fairly easy. (The link is in the FAQ if any one needs it.) I did need to restart my computer for it to take effect but I’m back to my good ol’ “address not found” display.