If you use Shaw Residential or Business Internet and enter in a wrong web address and you will now see Shaw generated search page. This tactic has long been used by rogue toolbars and malware to redirect erroneous Internet traffic. Even Google and bigger name companies have tried it – usually with a backlash from consumers. Unfortunately, Shaw’s search algorithms are rather poor and it wouldn’t surprise me if they are selling adspace on these pages. It is unfortunate that an ISP would resort to these tactics under the guise that they are assisting people when in reality they are making money on it (at least if not directly they are more than likely tracking what is clicked and selling this information). ISP’s need to remain neutral in the web as they can access more information about you than Facebook or Google. Shaw states that this policy was started April 5, 2011 but the first I have seen was today and I regularly see DNS errors in the process of managing several hundred domain names.
“When a non-existent web address is typed into a browser, a built-in error message is displayed. This service is designed to help guide you to a useful search page that has a list of recommended sites that come close to matching the original web address that did not exist.”
This is a slippery slope, who is to say that they won’t take over 404 errors next, or perhaps add a footer to all sites you visit. I am at least satisfied that you can opt-out of this feature but wish companies wouldn’t do this in the first place.