Belkin backs off router spam, sort of
Belkin recently caught some flak for an unseemly form of advertising embedded in their latest router products. The routers redirect HTTP requests every eight hours, sending users to a page advertising Belkin's parental control software. Lovely.
According the Belkin, the redirect was designed to help users sign up for a free trial of Belkin's parental control software, and users are free to opt out from future HTTP redirections. In an official statement, Belkin has even pledged to offer a firmware update that completely removes any redirection from the router:
In response to a recent Usenet group posting stating that Belkin spams its customers through its routers, Belkin Corporation apologizes for the concern this has caused and is taking action to address the issue. To allay customers’ worries, Belkin will offer a firmware upgrade that will be available via download from its website (www.belkin.com) on November 17, 2003. This upgrade will rid the redirect completely so that no additional browser windows will appear during the router’s installation process.
I'd give Belkin a pat on the back for apologizing, but the statement doesn't clearly state that redirection will be removed from routers intended for retail sale. Offering a firmware update is great, but if the update isn't installed on every router to leave Belkin's warehouse, plenty of users will still have their HTTP requests hijacked in the name of advertising.