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Yahoo SearchScan released

Uses McAfee's SiteAdvisor to advise of unsafe results


Receptional Andy

8:06 am on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

The Yahoo blog has announced the release of SearchScan [ysearchblog.com] which "leverages McAfee's SiteAdvisor technology to alert users if risky websites appear in Yahoo! Search results". Sounds familiar.

Once advantage over Google's implementation is a bit more detail on what the threat actually is - e.g. "unsolicited emails" or "dangerous downloads".

This feature will be on by default, with an interesting option to just remove all such sites from results completely.

You can see examples of this by searching Yahoo for 'screensaver' [search.yahoo.com].


5:22 pm on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Why doesn't Yahoo just not include that site in their results? Seems the most obvious solution.


5:49 pm on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jdmorgan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

If you dig into that site listing with the warning flag, you'll find that there's a link to McAfee's SiteAdvisor page, which gives more details. It states that only one of the several downloads offered on the flagged site is possible "adware."

In addition, there's a link to a Yahoo page where you can request more information or dispute the warning flag -- That's fairly handy if you're the site owner.

Another possible reason that we as Webmasters want want those suspect sites listed is the possibility that the site might be a scrape of our own site. In that case, seeing the listing would be a heads-up that it is time to take action (e.g. DMCA action or stronger) against that site to protect our site's good name.

The only thing I'd change about this would be to add an "Are you sure you want to visit this site?" interstitial page on Yahoo -- at least for the truly-dangerous sites. That might save someone who's distracted at the moment and doesn't see or read the warning, clicks accidentally, or "just doesn't get it." (I'm not a big fan of "Are you sure?" messages, but some cases may warrant them.)

Two thumbs up, overall... :)



7:49 pm on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Seraline [search for screensaver] isn't flagged by Google + Websense :-)


8:19 pm on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>> Why doesn't Yahoo just not include that site in their results?

Because they can sell advertising to McAfee and get some press.

just a guess.

Receptional Andy

8:21 pm on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think the value to users of this type of warning is beyond doubt. Personally, I like Yahoo's implementation purely because of the amount of information you can get about what the potential threats are.

Of course, such a feature is only as ever as useful as the database behind it. Far be it for me to take a cynic's view, but there's a clear benefit to the providers of such service in being as visible as possible, which could present something of a conflict of interest. Interesting to see that the clickthroughs are tracked via an affiliate cookie ;)

A longer-term danger would be if users put too much weight into such warnings, since I imagine that cloaking for/blocking the bot checking for problems would not be too difficult.

And no less important that the search engine 'kiss of death' is bound to have collateral damage - especially for user-generated sites.


9:41 pm on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member henry0 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

finjan does it since a long time


9:48 pm on May 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Why there is no such warning when I search for "Google toolbar," "Yahoo toolbar" or "Google desktop" (or any other toolbar/desktop software)?


12:50 am on May 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I've been using SiteAdvisor since it was first released by McAfee as a Firefox add-on, and find it very helpful in forewarning of dodgy sites.


3:50 am on May 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It's an odd move considering Yahoo! gives search feeds to companies sending traffic through spyware/malware and browser hijackers.


4:27 am on May 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It's well known that siteadvisor can be easily manipulated - Kind of like wikipedia. If enough people make a report - SiteAdvisor makes it a true. Whether it's a true or not. Just ask ClickBank.com - they lost a buttload of money because a few disgruntled customers manipulated the SiteAdvisor system. Clickbank was on their red list for several months. I'm surprised SiteAdvisor hasn't been sued yet.


7:58 pm on May 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have an website with around 3.000 software downloads . 10 of them marked with Dangerous etc
I has checked these programs ,i has installed and verify with Avira and Nod32. They are ok! (one of them is Winamp,for example,used by thousands of people).
They are all ok!
McAfee pay money to Yahoo to use their antivirus program,but they need to make some profit in the same time. I think they are exagerating with these resuls to make publicity for thei product (Look,McAfee find something,is good ,let's buy).
In Google site is ok , without these kind of message(harmfull website etc).
IMHO , Yahoo! started wrong with these service.
Anyone know how to fix these problem? Products are ok,i was verified them.


4:07 am on May 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Anyone know how to fix these problem?

Good luck. I have a site that the previous owner had 1 download with adware on it. That download has been gone and the site 100% clean for over a year, but is stuck with the "dangerous downloads" listing.

I registered with Mcafee as the site owner and published my response, which they claim will prompt a manual review, but no such luck. Have sent 8 emails to the support dept, but get nothing but autorespond.

Appearantly they don't care to remove inaccurate info.


6:52 am on May 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Is normally to have an option to submit site flaged for been rechecked with their anti-virus tool . The crawling rate of this advisor it is a disaster .. Maybe someone from Y! read this forum .


7:23 am on May 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I did get a second email (also automated) that said "engineers will look into your issue, and will re-test your site if it is deemed appropriate".

Not holding my breath, but perhaps something will come of it. Will let you know if any more news.


7:45 am on Jun 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have contacted Yahoo and they forward me to McAfee. Here i have a human response like "engineers will look and you will have a feedback in a few days".
Anyone have fixed these red flags ? My Y! traffic is dropped to zero ..a very big problem.

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