Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/29/bt_hijack/
BT hijacks business browsers
For when email spam isn't annoying enough
BT is annoying business broadband customers by hijacking their browsers to nag them to download a branded desktop utility.
The firm has decided it simply must tell subscribers about "Desktop Help", which it says allows it to fix users' technical problems remotely.
To that end, it is redirecting HTTP requests to its own marketing page, "as when trialled it did allow us to successfully communicate the availability of Desktop Help to a large number of customers"
Unsurprisingly, many BT Business customers would seemingly rather be getting on with business than tackling the "easy click-through which will allow you, within seconds, to be back to your normal internet browsing".
BT says it has set the redirect up so that if customers resist the urge to "enhance the quality of the broadband service" they should not see it again. It has also been configured to make its pitch in the morning, "to minimise any impact during the working day".
Alas, there's growing criticism of the unavoidable marketing effort on BT's forums here.
"I was demonstrating a new web system to client this morning and BT hijacked my session by telling me to download their software, it looked most unprofessional and is the kind of thing that can lose me business," said unimpressed forum user "gwaelod".
Potentially more seriously, it has also been pointed out that scheduled automated tasks that rely on HTTP can be sabotaged by the redirect.
"I am absolutely furious about this," said furious customer, "FuriousCustomer".
"All of our important backups and scheduled tasks have failed over night. A huge proportion of our staff's software has stopped working/syncing/connecting until I have arrived in the office to work out what's been going on.
"This is absolutely unacceptable behaviour BT and signals the end of our custom. My Director is making the termination call right now." ®