Thursday, February 24, 2011

McAfee Site Advisor rating smaller individually-owned sites as gray (untested) suddenly, after being green for years

I’ve noticed this morning that McAfee Site Advisor, on more than one of my computers, is showing all of my sites and blogs (,, and sixteen blogs on Blogger) as gray, or “untested”, even though the site repot says “a few users” and gives no negative information. (Actually, the reports also still have a notation at the bottom, now in gray, "this site is good" along with other unchecked indicators.) Until yesterday, to the best of my knowledge, these sites were green. Now McAfee says they are all queued for testing ("retesting"?) 

I tried some other blogs and flat sites (both Blogger, Wordpress, and others) operated by individuals  with relatively lower volume, and got the same result (gray).  I won’t “name names” here.  Some of them belong to musicians and small arts groups; but generally not larger corporations or other organizations. They may include so-called "mom and pop" or "mommy" blogs. (Don't worry, Heather Armstrong; your "dooce" blog is still green by SiteAdvisor.) 

Many of these sites (including mine) still rate green from  MYWOT. 

I tried a corporate blog from Roadside Attractions (an indie movie distributor) on Blogger and got the same result.   But the “Righthaven Victims” blogger entry still was green on Site Advisor. (By the way, Righthaven itself was rated yellow!  Weird. Read the report!).

Internet Explorer, Mozilla and Chrome all can show Site Advisor ratings. 

Have others noticed the same behavior of Site Advisor today?  The best browser to use to look at this problem is probably Mozilla.

Yahoo! “Safe Search” still shows these sites as OK.

My own traffic this morning is actually higher than usual, so the McAfee Site Advisor issue doesn’t seem to affect it.  But we want these site advisor products to work properly, because visitors ought to use them and look at them.

I can think of a good reason for "amateur" sites to go gray (or go "bald"); they tend to add lots of links without checking the links, and site advisory services consider the quality of secondary links offered.  McAfee may believe it cannot keep up with or vouch for secondarily linked sites, but it could add another color code saying (like blue or turquoise) meaning just that.  Corporate and government agency sites tend to do much less secondary linking and contain legal disclaimers for them.

McAfee offers a process of site owners to leave comments, which involves registering, and then FTP-ing a site in your root directory with that exact name (which is very long with random characters). I may try this later.  This would not work on free blogs not mapped to owned domains with A-records, so that’s another reason why it may be better to “own” all your own blog space rather than use “free” services from Blogger and Wordpress. 

If someone knows what is going on with Site Advisor, I’d appreciate a comment.  I’ll note on Facebook and Twitter, too.  Are we seeing the fallout of what Andrew Keen calls "the Cult of the Amateur"?

Update: March 1

Even Google's own corporate blog turned up as "gray" on McAfee Site Advisor this morning!

1 comment:

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