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Earthlink Offers Alternate DNS Without "Dead DNS" 136

Joshua Flory writes, "In response to the story about Earthlink and their version of 'Site Finder', I learned today that Earthlink has provided alternate DNS servers that will remain outside of their 'dead DNS' service. However, this is a completely unsupported service, which begs the question, WHY? Everyone can gain access to public DNS servers, or create their own. The point is that people wanted DNS servers supported by EL that do not include this dead DNS service." Sounds like it's time for Earthlink users to check out they make it easy to turn off the bad-URL behavior.
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Earthlink Offers Alternate DNS Without "Dead DNS"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 18, 2006 @12:39PM (#16131013)
    MUDRAGISTAN (Reuters) - Islamic Clerics announced today that due to the incapacity of the islamic mind to understand the difference between an opinion and a quotation, henceforth all use of the BLOCKQUOTE tag in HTML shall be met with unyielding and divine retribution.

    The BLOCKQUOTE tag, as introduced with the HTML 2.0 specification in 1994, has been used on websites throughout the world to signify that the text contained within is a quotation from an external source. However, due to an inability for islamics to grow the fuck up and understand basic communicative syntax, they now believe it is their holy right to murder anyone they want to just because one person quoted someone else within context.

    This antithesis of freedom is a common theme running throughout all islamic interaction with civilised society. Rampaging islamic mobs worldwide have burned effigies of Dave Raggett, creator of HTML, alongside effigies of President Bush and Pope Benedict XVI. Police measures are now in place to put everyone who ever had a Myspace page or Geocities account into hiding.

    Inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, was unavailable for comment. Which is probably just as well as we don't want to get bombed by the raghead fuckwits just for quoting him.

  • umm (Score:3, Funny)

    by Foo2rama ( 755806 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @12:40PM (#16131018) Homepage Journal
    Who uses earthlink anymore anyway...
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by liquidpele ( 663430 )
      That's what I was wondering... I didn't even know they did DSL...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Sprint uses Earthlink. I have Sprint DSL and it comes with Earthlink's services (which I never use).
    • by dwiget ( 947248 )
      Umm, me.

      I have been an Earthlink customer for over ten years now, been on DSL with them for seven.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I use earthlink, ever since they bought netcom back in the 90s.

      I'm basically happy with it. I get 1.5/256k aDSL for $40, which is pretty pricey but it has flaked out for a total of 1 hour in 4 years. I've learned to avoid calling support, even for billing problems, unless it's worth wasting an hour and getting upset about. That's just never gone well.

      Someday I'm going to migrate to a non-ISP-issued email account for good and just hop from cheapest to cheapest.

      I miss my netcom shell account, I miss my
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by caluml ( 551744 )
        Buy your own domain, and point the MX records wherever you like. Get a VPS somewhere?
        Or just open a Gmail account.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Puggs ( 562473 )
          Or get your own domain, and point that at gmail ;-)
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Yeah, that's not the problem. I'm registered at hundreds if not thousands of sites with my earthlink address. All my friends know my earthlink address. I'm really dreading getting everything changed. My best idea so far is to send a mass email advising of the change, and pick through my 5,000 messages looking for anywhere I've registered and change it. Wait a month and see what still comes to my earthlink address, fixing those. Wait another month, hopefully volume has dropped off. Repeat until I go a
          • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
            Same here... been with ELN 10 years, and in addition to the entrenched email (which remains attractive if only because ELN's is damnear 100% reliable) I've also got websites there that get over 50k hits a year, mainly from referral links; can you imagine tracking down all those??! yeah, I could put my domains anywhere, but what about all the referrers pointing to URLs that predate my domain names? some referrers don't have a functional update method, either.

            As to the broken DNS thing, IST
      • by Guppy06 ( 410832 )
        "my only addiction is to the email address."

        Solution [].
        • Hm, maybe I should read the earthlink newsletter once in a while.

          Do you know if/how I quit earthlink and register my current email address as a free account? I don't want to play roulette, it is a high-demand username.
          • I believe they have 1.95 service where you keep email only. Get your own domain, start forwarding your earthlink email. Keep the earthlink email for a year and then shut it off.
          • by Guppy06 ( 410832 )
            I just got a response from tech support and apparently they cancel the email account when you cancel the service, so you'd still be "playing roulette" in the time it takes you to sign up for the free account.

            The other solution [] is about $10/mo.
            • Thanks for the information. I'm going to start the process of moving away. I don't think the $10/mo solution is good for me since the alternatives aren't $10/mo cheaper.

              If I trusted them to cancel my email immediately and have it available again immediately it wouldn't be much risk. I don't trust them, though, all my chats/emails/calls to support have given me a headache.
      • by ako ( 30717 )
        Noticing your slashdot handle, i couldn't resist:

        May i offer you an email-account in my domain, like ?


        imap/ssl, smtp/tls, webmail and basic spamfilter available. A shell-account is negotiable. Get my email address from whois or the webpage above.
      • by stienman ( 51024 )
        it has flaked out for a total of 1 hour in 4 years

        Thank you for bringing this disparity to our attention. We strive to ensure that all our users receive an identical experience with our service, and will work toward making your service just as reliable and useful as everyone else finds it to be.

        Thank you for using Earthlink!

        • Did I mention that I've had to contact support 3 times and each time made me vow to cancel my service? (Fortunately I am very lazy and tend to procrastinate)

          Each of these support experiences was more english-impaired, dysfunctional, time-consuming and hellish than the last. My latest (and, once again, allegedly last) support issue involved 3 phone calls, 5 chats, 2 emails, and over 3 hours of time spread over 2 weeks to correct a very simple billing issue.

          Earthlink has screwed me extra on support becaus
    • In the part of Manhattan where I live, they are the only alternative to Time Warner for cable modem service. They are a bit cheaper than TW. Unfortunately TW still does all of the "last mile" stuff. I have to go through TW for the installation, billing, equipment, etc. Basically I am just paying for the Earthlink bandwidth. I assume part of my monthly fee goes to TW.
    • Re:umm (Score:5, Informative)

      by theodicey ( 662941 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:58PM (#16131772)
      I do, as an alternative to supporting AT&T's illegal wiretapping and internet traffic monitoring.

      They cost about $2 more a month for DSL + phone + long distance. The cost difference isn't really their fault, the FCC allowed AT&T and the phone monopolies to charge whatever they wanted for line access. But they make it up in other ways, like with 500 minutes of free long distance

      Also, Earthlink's DSL service (provided by Covad) is faster than AT&T's was.
    • I have a co-worker who saved $5 / mo. by switching his TimeWarner Road Runner account over to Earthlink. In return he was given a faster line speed on the same network (Until Time Warner increased theirs to match) and isn't charged an extra $10/mo. for not being a Time Warner Cable subscriber.

      They're the only company in my area that will lease me a Time Warner line for less than what TW would charge me themselves, and I feel good by not cutting those bastards a check.
    • by 2gravey ( 959785 )
      I do because they are the only provider of broadband in my neighborhood. Even Qwest, who owns my phoneline, claims they can't give me DSL. How Earthlink does it (on that same phone line) is a mystery to me. Anyway the speed is decent, the price is good, and I only have to battle customer service for randomly changing my rate every few months or so.
    • Years ago I tried to get Earthlink DSL service. I called and was told DSL was available at my house. My account is set up and the Earthlink person tells me they'd send me a package and then arrange for installation. Time passes and I don't receive the package. More time passes and I phone: I'm told that DSL is not available in my neighbourhood and so the package and my account was cancelled.

      When I ask if perhaps Earthlink could have contacted me to tell me this a couple weeks earlier, the person on the phon
  • ... because storing dead niggers ain't my fucking business!
    • Mods, that's a Pulp Fiction quote... this is not a GNAA troll.

      Thanks, I'll never be able to read about DNS without thinking of that scene now... maybe you are a troll? You've definitely seen the movie too many times. :)

  • I tried going the OpenDNS route. It broke the anti-spam blacklist rules I had in my Postfix config (which of course is entirely DNS-based). Using any other public DNS server it works fine.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aladrin ( 926209 )
      I have Earthlink, sad as it is. I chose it when I got cable because I had them for Sprint DSL and their news servers were very good for free. Then they changed them and they suck now. I'd change to roadrunner, but every change I make is a 2 week interruption in service no matter what change I make, so I refuse to change anything.

      I almost made that mistake of using OpenDNS as well. I used Level 3's servers instead.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pixr99 ( 560799 )
      FYI, a few weeks back, David Ulevitch blogged that this is no longer a problem [].
      • by davidu ( 18 )
        Oh, beat me to it. Thanks pixr99! :-)

      • by pe1chl ( 90186 )
        This "solution" looks rather limited to me. It will probably still break on URIBL lookups.
        • It also breaks email, just like the old SiteFinder did.

          eg. I just sucessfully sent an email to - something that my mailer would normally have picked up, and if not then the email server beyond it.

          It's based on the same fallacy that sitefinder was - that the world is the web. Never mind email, ftp, ssh, sip, etc. etc.
      • Thanks! I am now once again testing OpenDNS in my home network environment and so far so good. I noticed Spamcop bouncing emails from Yahoo Groups (yikes!) but that's somebody else's fault, not OpenDNS. OpenDNS seems to be coming along nicely and looks like it should work well for me now.
    • by antdude ( 79039 )
      What else is a disadvantage when using OpenDNS? I haven't noticed anything odd when using it for the past two(?) weeks.
  • But wait! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @12:47PM (#16131091) Journal
    I thought Earthlink Engineers were so amazingly intelligent that they said that their Dead DNS would only affect Web traffic.

    Oh wait, no they're not. They *still* dont get what's wrong with what they're doing.
    • It was the Mindspring engineers that were brilliant. When they merged with Earthlink they "laid off" all the good people.
    • Re:But wait! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:39PM (#16132146)
      Most of the engineers didn't know this was being done until it was far too late, and they aren't happy about it. And even if they had, it's doubtful it would have made a difference to the folks looking to make some money. So as an engineer distressed by this whole idea, you have two choices:

      1. Make a fuss and become a potential target.
      2. Complain amongst friends, and pray for a PR disaster that gets it shut down.

      I think the bulk have opted for door #2.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It might raise the question, but it certainly does not beg the question. []
  • OpenDNS is no better (Score:4, Informative)

    by sidb ( 530400 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:10PM (#16131283) Homepage

    OpenDNS is not a solution to this problem those with dynamic IPs, which includes most Earthlink customers (like me). By default, they do exactly the same thing Earthlink does: from their webpage []: "...when we can't fix your typo we take you to a page with a set of search results." They do allow you to turn that behavior off on their prefs page [], but only if you have a static IP. And I somehow doubt that there isn't a speed hit going off your ISPs own network for all your DNS queries, anyway.

    The correct solution, of course, is to ditch Earthlink. Or in my case, not renew with them the next time I change my service -- unfortunately, changing now would be expensive. Until then, I'm going with Earthlink's secret, unbroken servers over OpenDNS.

    • OpenDNS is not a solution to this problem those with dynamic IPs, which includes most Earthlink customers (like me). By default, they do exactly the same thing Earthlink does: from their webpage: "...when we can't fix your typo we take you to a page with a set of search results." They do allow you to turn that behavior off on their prefs page, but only if you have a static IP.

      Actually, AFAIK, there isn't a way to turn off the "search results" page. If you look for a domain that doesn't exist, it directs y

      • I don't think what you're talking about is a solution -- the behavior that's not wanted by a lot of people, is the redirection to the search page, period.

        I.e., what's desired is if you type in a bad address, you get a "domain name not found" error, not a search page.

        Those search pages are called a "feature" to some, but to many people -- myself included -- they're just unwelcome advertising and an obnoxious waste of bandwidth.

        • I know, I'm not saying the "search pages" are a feature. The person I responding to claimed you could turn off the search pages, and I was saying that AFAIK, you can't. Read one of the other responses and it seems to be someone from OpenDNS claiming that you can, in fact, disable the search pages, but when I tried it, it didn't work.

          That's all. I'm not saying you should use the service or not. Just OpenDNS says you can disable the search pages, and it didn't work for me.

      • by davidu ( 18 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:44PM (#16132214) Homepage Journal

        So if you have typo protection enabled, and you type googl.ecom, it figures out that you meant and directs you there. If it can't figure out the domain you intended, it sends you to their search page. If you disable the typo correction, then it just sends you to the search page immediately.

        That is absolutely false. If you disable typo correction you will never see the search page. The search page is intended to help users so if you turn off typo correction, you turn off that page. That's okay with us. You will see NXDOMAIN (RCODE=3) responses from our server. Like I've pointed out before, we're technologists and we're building functional and interoperable stuff here.

        Not to toot my horn or get all "Slashdot's lame" on this thread but I've been here a long time and it's clear to me that most of the users who posted on slashdot when we launched didn't even read our site or understand what it is that we're doing. Can we not make that mistake again?
        We're putting control and choice into users hands where there was none before. It's a fact of life that ISPs are doing this. They should be working with us, just like users are. We look at this as giving you a dashboard and all the knobs and buttons you need to manage DNS. DNS is the root (no pun intended) of a ton of applications and services so why wouldn't you want to manage it just like you would a firewall or anti-spam service?

        • Ummm... I'm sorry if I upset you, but I didn't just go posting things without checking. I use the service and have typo-correction turned off. When I enter an invalid domain name, I get the search page. I don't know what to tell you.
          • by davidu ( 18 )
            Did you wait a few minutes before checking?

            Certainly sounds odd to me.

            • I tried it, waited about 15 minutes, tried again. Same thing. I don't know what's up, I just assumed it was because you wanted the ad revenue, since that's where you make your money.

              • by davidu ( 18 )
                We want users to have the best experience possible.

                If we did something like this we wouldn't have any users.

                We just tested some stuff here and it works. Happy to diagnose with you offline if you'd like. ceo [at]

            • I'm geting some weird stuff going on too
     [] doesn't resolve, expected,
              http://www.craigslist.og/ [craigslist.og] doesn't resolve, unexpected

              nslookup www.craigslist.og

              ** server can't find www.craigslist.og: NXDOMAIN

              and the welcome page shows the Opps

              bash-3.1$ nslookup

              Non-authoritative answer:
              Address: 208

        • We're putting control and choice into users hands where there was none before. It's a fact of life that ISPs are doing this. They should be working with us, just like users are. We look at this as giving you a dashboard and all the knobs and buttons you need to manage DNS. DNS is the root (no pun intended) of a ton of applications and services so why wouldn't you want to manage it just like you would a firewall or anti-spam service?

          Of course DNS needs more user-friendly helpful value adding

      • by Bert64 ( 520050 )
        Typo correction is an awfull feature, it encourages people to make such typos...
        When these people then go to a machine without such a feature, it will hinder them greatly.
        Aside from the fact that most common mis-spellings of popular domains have already been registered by scam artists anyway.
      • by symbolic ( 11752 )
        I thought this is exactly what Verisign tried to do...dork with DNS results so that it wasn't clear *what* was going on. And of course, that also gives them a chance to ply their users with all kinds of ads. So, it seems they're simply replacing one type of nastiness with another. The only saving grace is that at least users have a choice, whereas Verisign's actions were more or less a mandate thrust upon the community at large.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by davidu ( 18 )
      Hey all,

      I, with some other highly-clued folks, run OpenDNS -- maybe I can help answer some questions. We're going to be rolling out some code at the beginning of October to deal with dynamic IPs. I think you'll find it elite.

      Ping me an email at ceo [at] if you want to help us beta test.

      I'm happy to answer other questions too, as most of you know. :-)


    • by Luyseyal ( 3154 )
      Yeah, and despite what they say, I still got 404s on perfectly legitimate URLs. I'm not sure if the target sites blocked them on purpose or what, but it was very noticeable. I had to set DNS back to AT&T to get all my URLs to work.

      Sorry, I don't have any specific URLs I can point out. This was a few months ago.
  • If Earthlink signed a Do Not Resuscitate order, then DNR dammit! Oh wait.. nm.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:18PM (#16131346)
    Who knows OpenDNS? Who knows of the alternatives? You do, I do, Joe Average doesn't. Ya know, the internet and a lotta tubes...

    Why do you think AOL is still in business? If people knew about their options, a lot of the large providers would go out of biz.
    • Consiodering opendsn (which is not an open source project) is just another commercial site finder, it looks like Joe Average is doing pretty good just by avoiding them.

      How does OpenDNS make money?

      OpenDNS makes money by offering clearly labeled advertisements alongside organic search results when the domain entered is not valid and not a typo we can fix. OpenDNS will provide additional services on top of its enhanced DNS service, and some of them may cost money. Speedy, reliable DNS will always be free.

  • "which begs the question, WHY?"

    i dont think that begs the question at all. Slashdot so called editors strike a gain.
    • by Mr Z ( 6791 )

      Which question is it begging, and what is it begging of that question? Enquiring minds want to know!

      And to those of you who say "language evolves:" Keep in mind that the phrase "{beg|begs|begging} the question" derives from the realm of formal logic. People who didn't really understand at all what they were saying used the phrase, thinking it meant "{raise|raises|raising} the question," but really they were just saying it to try to sound smart, without actually being smart. In other words, it's the

  • Moo (Score:3, Funny)

    by Chacham ( 981 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:20PM (#16131368) Homepage Journal
    Better yet, let everyone have a say.

    Let's make DNS a wiki!
  • Okay. The words "Dead DNS" are in quotations. Obviously this isn't common parlance.

    Can I get a definition? Please? Pretty please, with sugar on top, clean the fucking car?
    • by 0racle ( 667029 )
      Your fingers broken and you can't type google into your address bar?
      • Regardless of my ability to research the definition of "Dead DNS" on my own (and I think I actually succeeded, thanks), I thought perhaps it would be useful to save other slashdotters the effort of hammering Google's servers to figure it out, by doing the following

        1) Post a question asking what "Dead DNS" is
        2) Get a response
        3) Watch that person's response get modded up
        4) ...
        5) PROFIT!

        Let me guess - your fingers are broken and you couldn't look it up, either? Or were you just trying to insult me?
      • like googling for "dead dns" wouldn't yield reams of pages about dns servers which are down? :D
    • Re:Dead DNS? -Answer (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is what Earthlink calls their service that returns a search page for your NX domain lookups. If you read either of the blogs linked in the article, you would find that out yourself.
  • What's the business model for OpenDNS, how do they make money?
  • That's funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by deinol ( 210478 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:34PM (#16131529) Homepage
    Sounds like it's time for Earthlink users to check out they make it easy to turn off the bad-URL behavior.

    Strange, it sounds to me like it's time for Earthlink users to find a new provider. I know sometimes there are very few options for broadband in an area, but last I checked there were plenty of dialup companies still competing and about.
  • As far as I'm concerned, these DNS servers are a fine stopgap solution until I finish switching to a new ISP.

    But as for using "OpenDNS," my main objection is that I'm already paying for a DNS server with the cost of my subscription!. Why should I have to jury-rig this work-around, one that is only marginally less distasteful than, when I should be getting the Real Thing(TM) with the cost of my subscription (with support, thankyouverymuch)?

    The only reason I'm still here is that my parents
  • I ditched eartlhink early this year and started using Verizon's FIOS service. For some bizarre reason I can't figure out, I am still being directed to earthlink's DNS servers and getting their trash loaded when a page can't be found.

    Even worse, I have discovered it breaks a nice feature that I particularly like with safari (yes, I use mac os x). Safari's autocomplete feature apparently relied upon the standard dead page error and attempted to fill in the "www." and ".com", ".org", or ".net" to find a vali

  • by kindbud ( 90044 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @07:30PM (#16134577) Homepage
    It either exists, or it does not exist. If it doesn't exist, the only correct answer is NXDOMAIN. Anything else is some protocol other than DNS. There is no DEAD_DOMAIN_REDIRECT_TO_AD answer defined in the protocol. If the domain is not in the TLD servers, any answer but NXDOMAIN is a lie.

    That includes when it comes from OpenDNS nameservers, which is just another service that lies to you about DNS query results.
  • Yawn. I'll just continue using my local DNS recursor/resolver. That way I don't even have to think what my ISP is doing with their DNS servers.

    Who else is running BIND 9 on their home network?
  • Sweet! I'll add these to my list:
    • 4.2 .2.6

    Pinging with 32 bytes of data:

    Reply from bytes=32 time=37ms TTL=246
    Reply from bytes=32 time=21ms TTL=246
    Reply from bytes=32 time=23ms TTL=246
    Reply from bytes=32 time=21ms TTL=246

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