The Register has highlighted the latest advertising revenue scheme to be deployed by a broadband provider. K-Com who run Karoo, the broadband provider in the Hull area, has started a partnership with Ask.com where the provider will get a cut of advertising revenue for directing users to Ask.com.
The redirection will occur when a user types a website name into their browser address bar and the DNS lookup this triggers fails to find an actual site, users are then redirected to Ask.com rather than the browsers usual error page.
The system is detailed on Karoo's own website. The hope that Karoo have is that customers will click on the sponsored links and thus generate income. The unofficial Karoo User Forums reveals that at least some Karoo customers are unhappy with the new system.
As The Register highlighted, Karoo is not the first UK provider to do this; Tiscali and Orange are just two others. Providers trying to generate extra revenue for a service is in itself not bad, it can help to keep the price to the consumer down, but a delicate line must be walked between upsetting customers and adding some money to the right columns on the balance sheet. For Karoo customers one big problem has been the monopoly the provider holds over broadband provision in the Hull area, whether the changes in wholesale pricing will alter this remains to be seen.