When Good Sites Get Punished
Geek is a relatively new site, with Hollywood dreams – we want to mingle with the big tech sites across the net, we work hard across the board no matter the tech story or tech news we cover. This includes the geek lifestyle, gadgets and yes, even some geek entertainment thrown in for good measure. And, for the most part, we seem to be on our own little high-roll with visitors and overall traffic…that is until Google decided to flag us for Malware.
Shoot First and Ask Questions Later
This past Tuesday, Google’s malware checker started to detect ads from isocket’s advertising network, distributed via the adsbyisocket.com URL as a threat. This resulted in many sites that use the advertising network, including geekmagazine.org, getting malware warnings on some pages visited by Google Chrome. Which in turn, means our visitors who use chrome to browse were given a warning before entering Geekmagazine.org – with the message warning that Malware may lie ahead.
This little outage caused havoc for other big sites like TechChruch, Cult of Mac and many others. It also was a “punch in the gut” for isocket“:
First and foremost: we’re sorry. isocket is made up of people who work really hard to delight customers and make advertising suck a little less. Regardless of what happened (even if we’re 100% innocent), it’s the biggest punch in the gut we’ve ever felt (personally, the worst day of my professional life) and we’re sorry to see people upset. People we care about were hurt and that sucks.
We may be considered just the ‘little guys’, but when it comes to measuring time online, it’s an entirely different game we are playing. Anyone who is anyone online knows the implications involved – not to mention the risk – of their site ‘going down’ or ‘crashing’ or anything else that may inadvertently affect traffic flow. Website owners do their very best to reserve site maintenance for specific times. For example, we might choose 3am as a great time to bring down the site for an over-haul.
All the maintenance chatter aside, and back to the importance of ‘time’ online, when you add Google – which just happens to be GOD when it comes to search engine rankings or optimization; and the many code of ethics and rules we must follow – add them to the mix with a malware warning, and their word is as good as gold.
Yes, it might have been a mistake; and yes, they did their best to fix it as promptly as possible but that’s not the point. You see, TechCrunch and Cult of Mac don’t need to worry too much; this is nothing but a tiny ‘lint fluff’ on their shoulder, which they can quickly flick away. For us on the other hand, and the other ‘little sites’ out there affected by the Malware warning…things don’t fare to easily – the lint is actually a brick the size of small country.
It affected us for over 3 hours and as we stated above, time is measured differently online. Those who frequent the net and browse know all too well the point we are trying to get out, which happens to be about ‘Attention Spans’. Those two relatively small words can make or break a site. You need to be quick online, not make them wait, not give them too many choices…just give them what they came for, so maybe they read, they have a laugh, they spread the joy and leave a comment or two. Who would really ask for anything more?
Maybe we should brush it off as no big deal; maybe we are over reacting? There are a few things to consider here; first point in question, our devoted fans who have been with us since the beginning, did they stick around to see? Doubtful, because we are not yet like TechCrunch, to them we are brand spanking new to! Second point in question; should I even mention the effect it had on our new visitors? No need, I’m sure you can guess.
Do we have any right to be a tad bit upset? You bet your sweet geeky ass we do.
At the end of the day, as you can see, if you are here having a read – we are back up with no ‘Malware’ warning to be seen. We are here to scream out it was a horrible mistake that God..er, Google made. And even though there is no possible ‘personal apology’ on the horizon from Google to Geekmagazine.org, it’s clear we have no choice but to brush the small country sized brick from our shoulders.
So if you don’t mind, leave us a comment below to show you still care.