Safeguarding Subscribers and Publishers

Web-based malware is a headache. Not only for the damage it inflicts if you happen to visit a page hosting some rot that your system is vulnerable to, but also because if you’re unaware of a security problem on your site it may ultimately affect your site’s listing in search results. Google’s Webmaster Tools utility has a stark warning about malware (or links to malware) when it detects them on your site:

Google has detected harmful code on this site. We recommend that you act quickly to clean up your site. Failure to do so may lead to Google users seeing a warning when they attempt to visit pages on this site.

Yikes, right? It gets worse though. Sometimes simply linking to a site that has become infected or compromised can cause warnings like the one above to start appearing, even if your own site is squeaky clean. You’d want to know about that, of course — and you certainly wouldn’t want to be accidentally sending your visitors off to a bad neck of the woods to get infected with all manner of online nastiness.

As of this weekend, then, if FeedBlitz is informed that a link in one of the feeds or emails that we manage is now bad (and it may not have been hostile when you originally linked to it), several things will happen:

  1. FeedBlitz will blacklist the link in question.
  2. FeedBlitz will no longer send visitors who click on that link to the compromised page.
  3. Instead, they will be sent to a warning page.
  4. FeedBlitz will send the publisher an email about the link, describing the action taken and how to fix it.

Put another way – we safeguard your subscribers by not letting them get there from here, and we safeguard you by letting you know that there’s a problem.

More than likely you’re simply linking to a third party site in a post that now presents a security risk, and so you can’t do much about it. But you can manage your links to it, and we can protect your subscribers until the problem resolves.  If the issue is with your site, however, once it’s fixed you simply let us know. FeedBlitz will let click-throughs resume after confirming that the page in question no longer represents a threat. In the highly unlikely event that a page on your site is blacklisted, know that it only affects that page – all other normal links will work, and your services will be otherwise completely unaffected.

Bottom line: Your readers stay safe, and you get the heads up about a problem that, if left unmanaged, could adversely affect your presence in search engines.

You’re welcome.

Meet Phil Hollows


Phil Hollows is the founder and CEO of FeedBlitz, the email marketing and social media automation service, and premium FeedBurner alternative. After graduating from Oxford University in 1987, Phil built on his high tech, consulting, and marketing leadership experience, and by 2005 the seeds of FeedBlitz were germinating. Private equity investment followed shortly thereafter, and the rest - as they say - is history. He also authored "List Building for Bloggers" {ListBuildingForBloggers.com}, outlining proven email strategies to build your audience, increase engagement, and grow your income. Pre-FeedBlitz, Phil was vice president of product marketing for enterprise network security management company OpenService (now LogMatrix), and vice president of technology at the web testing company RadView Software.


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