Websites can get a reputation from the material they contain, the company they feature or attract, as well as from the internet reputation machines that scan and crawl them. My hypothesis is that if I can do some legwork to positively impact the machines and databases of the internet, it will help buy goodwill and trust that helps bridge into a more positive personal reputation.
What do the internet respectability engines think about BrianneFahey.com?
I like to come to a conclusion from an aggregate of data, so let’s check a few different options and put together a story of my website’s reputation. Two of the common sources of website safety information are included in the anti-virus and computer protection packages from McAfee and Symantec/Norton. Having one of these programs installed allows you to see some immediate feedback when you search for a website before you go to that site. It’s like looking through the peephole before deciding whether to open the door.
I would definitely be more comfortable visiting a site with a green check mark than a grey question mark or that evil red x. I installed the browser extension for both McAfee WebAdvisor and Norton Safe Search and navigated to BrianneFahey.com. Both plugins are greyed out, and when I mouse over them, they indeed say they are registering no reputation feedback. I’m relieved to not have to overcome any negative reputation marks, but to get to green we need to fill in this blank slate with facts.
The good news is that my reputation is mine to influence at this point.
Web crawlers can use the information posted on the site including text and images and other files to rank you, but they are not sentient so they may not be able to determine the intent of your site. It’s up to you to convince them that you have good intent and wish no harm on the people of the internet and you deserve a green check mark. My plan to establish a good reputation involves visiting the machines that are generating, collecting, and providing this information to make sure they are understanding my intent.
Review and Correct the Reputation and Categorization
Internet filters and proxies can rely on website categorization to determine what blocks of URLs to allow and what block to deny. You can review what the engines have categorized your site as and suggest a more appropriate category. If you start a small business and create a quick website – you need to be aware of whether entire enterprises are being blocked form viewing your website inside their corporate network because it is misclassified as Gambling or Adult/Mature Content or worse. There is some risk in being unclassified as well because some filters might be set to default block unclassified or very new sites to protect themselves from domain generating algorithms (DGA) that spin up and disappear within weeks to facilitate phishing attacks. You’re going to want to review the available categories and their definitions to make the most appropriate choice as any petitions to recategorize a site will be reviewed before they are accepted.
- Symantec Norton SafeWeb
- I registered as the owner of my site and Norton sent me an email with a method to validate.
- Symantec BlueCoat Web Pulse
- BrianneFahey.com was initially categorized as “Search Engines/Portals”. I submitted a request to have it classified as “Personal Sites” and “Computer/Information Security”.
- WebSense ForcePoint
- BrianneFahey.com was initially uncategorized. I submitted a request to have it classified as “Societies and Lifestyles: Blogs and Personal Sites”
- Trend Micro Site Safety Center
- BrianneFahey.com was initially categorized as “Untested” and “Newly Observed Domain”. I requested the site be retested and submitted that it be classified as “Personal Sites” and “Computers/Internet”.
Check the Pulse
Websites change and reputations evolve. It’s a good idea to regularly check in on your site’s ratings and feedback. A simple way to generically have the web checked for you is to setup Google Alerts for your domain and name.
Beyond the sites and tools mentioned above, here are a few other open sources of intelligence (OSINT) tracking website reputation and safety.
|Google Safe Browsing
|RiskIQ Passive Total
Good luck protecting your web domain’s reputation!
I like to go through an exercise of putting thoughts into a visual model that makes sense while I’m working through something. Time does not always allow (and alert queues are not always forgiving) but it leaves me with clarity and the easier ability to repeat a procedure if needed. I’m utilizing a 30-day free trial of Mindjet MindManager 2018. It is fantastic, but pricey for individual home use so I’ll evaluate my needs and priorities and I will miss it when it’s gone. Made use of MindManager by assembling a visual procedure to summarize the steps described in this post.