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Losing traffic due to erroneous classification

Third party content filtering and firewalls hurting web site traffic

     
7:16 pm on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I approached a company about a site that I'm selling, and to my surprise, they couldn't view the URL because it was being blocked by the content filtering provider that their company utilizes.

They sent me the error message showing that my domain was classified as #*$!ography. I've owned the domain since 2001, and never has there been anything remotely elicit anywhere on the site.

I've never considered something like as being a traffic suck. I wonder how many of these third-party content filtering companies share database information?

For all I know my site could be listed as smut on every major corporate content filtering system and I'd never know.

Has anyone ever dealt with an issue like this? I'd like to know where to look to check something like this, but I'm coming up blank.

7:31 pm on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Typically they filter on keywords. I would triple check your homepage. Even HTML comments. Might be something hidden in there.
10:15 am on Mar 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Have similar problems at work. About a quarter of the technical sites that I try and visit get blocked for various reasons. Luckily nobody checks the logs or I would have been fired for trying to spend half my day recently supposedly trying to access downloads.

Of course we can get specific sites white listed but most people just work down the top 10 Google results until they find one that works.

2:12 pm on Mar 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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most people just work down the top 10 Google results until they find one that works.

That's exactly what I'm worried about. There is a measueable if half of the corporate content filtering services have your site blacklisted.

It appears that content filtering providers shoot first and apologize later - and their aim is terrible.

My isn't even remotely close to anything resembling adult content, but it's main keyword has to do with a certain demographic that's popular in the adult industry.

A lot of people surf the web at work and I bet erroneous classifications on the part of content filtering services cause a significant dent in traffic for many unknowing web sites.

This issue isn't malicious on the part of these services, but it is slanderous, and slander is legally actionable.

I'm surprised I haven't read about any defamation suits based on this.