Update: Google has now cleared DansDeals from the malware warning.
If you’ve visited DansDeals from a Chrome desktop browser on Sunday evening, you probably got this message:
Sounds pretty scary, right?
Except it’s not.
An advertiser’s site was hacked and since we had a link to that advertiser, Google decided to flag DansDeals as well. This despite the fact that there is zero malware on DansDeals itself.
Chrome blocked all traffic to the advertiser, so I have no idea why it also had to block traffic to DansDeals.
Nor do I understand why it blocked direct Chrome desktop traffic and not direct Chrome mobile traffic. All search engine traffic to DansDeals was blocked.
Google’s warning is an outright lie and seems defamatory to me.
They admit as much on their Safe Browsing Site Status site that DansDeals doesn’t contain malware, but it might send you to a site that does (if you clicked on the link when it was sending traffic to an advertiser who got hacked).
I removed the link to the advertiser, but Google says they need up to 72 hours to review a site and take it off the blacklist. It’s ludicrous that Google can nearly wipe a website off the internet due to having a link to another site that was hacked, and give itself up to 3 days to restore service.
With Google and Google Chrome being the most popular search engine and browser on the internet, they have an incredible amount of power over where people can visit. Even if you know that there is zero malware on DansDeals, you would have to repeatedly click on “Details” on the red page and then on “visit the unsafe site” to get there.
Or you can use a browser like Firefox or Microsoft Edge/Internet Explorer to bypass Google.
It’s yet another reminder of what happens when we rely on one company too much.
Back in 2007 Google hosted this blog and decided to delete it without warning when they thought it was a SPAM blog while I was traveling in Israel for a month. That’s when I switched from ctownbochur to DansDeals and started hosting the site without Google.
In 2016 I reported on how Google banned the accounts of people reselling their Pixel phones in a post titled “Don’t Mess With The Google”. The story went viral and Google relented, but it highlighted the problems of too much of the internet being controlled by one company. When one company can give you what is effectively a digital death sentence, there’s a big problem at hand.
As Google’s ambitions grow to control smart homes and autonomous cars, it’s a reminder that Google can mistake you for a threat at any time and completely disrupt your life without any qualms.
It’s a good time to remind people to regularly use Google Takeout to make a copy of their data and to use other browsers like Firefox that aren’t controlled by a company that already controls too much of your online persona.
Are you too reliant on Google? Could you survive online if they disabled your account?