If Optimum (formally Bresnan) is your ISP, you’ll notice that when you type an invalid URL into your address bar, you are redirected to an Optimum search page. This ‘DNS Assistance’ service has an opt-out feature as explained in this FAQ.
The problem is, it doesn’t work.
Optimum support they assured me they would look into it and let me know when it the problem was fixed.
Here is the voicemail I received:
Hi, this is Teresa with Optimum calling in regards to the problem you’re having with our search page coming up when you’re using the address bar for a url. If you’re using the address bar to put in the url, and the url is dead or is not working, you will get our default search engine. I know it says there is an opt-out on it, but there actually is no opt-out, the opt-out does not work and there’s no way to remove that.
One way around this is to use Open DNS or Google DNS instead of Optimum. However, namebench reveals that these global DNS servers are slightly slower than Optimum’s local DNS. So apparently, if you want the best DNS response times, you have to put up with mandatory NXDOMAIN hijacking.