The Totalitarian Regime that is Google Safe Browsing

This is an edited version of an email sent to two different Googlers apparently associated with the Safe Browsing team. It’s gotten zero response, so I’m posting it publicly with the hopes of drawing the attention of other webmasters that have experienced these issues and to hopefully attract the attention of someone at Google that can make a positive difference.

To be fair, I have no idea if I sent the email to the right person, or even to someone who is still at Google. At the same time, Google is notoriously difficult to communicate with. There are no email addresses of team members. The web form on the Safe Browsing site allows only for reporting a URL, there is no feedback form or any way to communicate directly with the team. So, here’s the email…

I’m not sure if you’re on this team anymore, but hopefully you can help or direct me to the right person. The Safe Browsing team has done a great job helping prevent the spread of malware but for those of us trying to fight malware in the trenches by cleaning sites and putting them back into service, Google is more like a totalitarian regime than a system of fair governance. Let me explain why it feels that way.

  1. We are thrown in jail without warning (website suddenly displays red screen of death)
  2. We are held without any specific charges (Search Console simply says that the site has malware and may provide an example page where malware was found, but it doesn’t point to any actual JS files hosted by the site, or links within the site that load remote payloads)
  3. There is no indication of when you’ll receive a trial or get paroled (submitting a site for reconsideration comes with zero feedback about where you might be in a queue, when you are up for reconsideration or whether your reconsideration request was accepted or rejected and, if rejected, why. You are either let out of jail or kept in there with the exact same message you got to begin with)

Google wields a tremendous amount of power in these situations and as a web developer trying to make a living and help clients make a living online, it feels like that power is being abused. As a recent example, a client’s site was hacked. We use a number of tools and processes to prevent this, but the bad guys nevertheless got through. The client’s site was red-listed by Google on a Monday morning. By around 9am that same morning, we discovered the hack, cleaned it, and submitted the site for reconsideration via Search Console.

It took 4 days for Google to remove the red screen of pain and despair. This is an e-commerce customer who lost thousands of dollars in revenue during that time. There was no communication from Google during this time. We all had to just wait and hope. There is no one to contact, no one to appeal to.

I would understand if we were the bad guys in this scenario. In that case, having the pain of your site being essentially taken offline (does anyone EVER click the “visit site anyway” button when presented with the red screen of woe and damnation in their browser?) for 4 days is arguably a just punishment.

But we are not the bad guys, we are the victims. Yes we can and will work harder to prevent this type of thing, but we are fighting cunning enemies. We need Google’s help in this fight, not to be further punished.

Can you help me restore justice to the universe in the fight against malware or help me get connected with someone at Google who can?


PS – I have a ton of ideas on how to improve Safe Browsing and Search Console and would be happy to share them!

New Year Resolution: Add E-commerce to Your Online Presence

Over the past year we have seen some major shifts in how people are shopping. According to Shopify, who surveyed 11 markets, 84% of consumers shopped online during the pandemic.¹

With more people sheltering in place and staying home, it’s not surprising that most people decided to shop online. This includes everything from groceries to hygiene products and other everyday essentials that were typically bought in person. People want to buy these things in a way that’s safe, convenient and fast. (more…)

6 ways to increase website conversions for the holidays

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NDIC Acquires Impulse Advanced Communications Web Hosting Business

Santa Barbara, CA, November 16, 2020 – New Directions in Computing (NDIC) is pleased to announce the acquisition of Impulse Advanced Communications’ web hosting business, beginning mid-November.

For 25 years, Impulse has offered the central coast a suite of local services including internet access, web/email hosting, and telecom services. The business has decided to discontinue web hosting services in order to focus on its core offerings – fiber internet access, cloud-based phones and meeting services, and network and server management.

After searching for a local company that could provide the right balance of support, platform, and value, Impulse looked to NDIC, with whom they’ve enjoyed a long and harmonious relationship as both colleagues in the Central Coast tech industry, as well as mutual customers.

“Web hosting is one of our core service offerings, along with web design/development, systems administration, and marketing, so the transition of Impulse’s web hosting business to NDIC was a natural choice,” said Masen Yaffee, President/CEO of NDIC. “We are pleased and excited to serve these new clients.”

Benefits of NDIC hosting services that customers can expect to enjoy are responsive, local service, single point of contact issue resolution, redundant server configurations for 99.999% uptime, and ongoing security and site maintenance.

To learn more about NDIC’s acquisition of Impulse hosting services email [email protected].


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WordPress can be overwhelming at first glance. To help you feel more comfortable using it, we have compiled a list of five free resources to help you get better at mastering the most popular content management system.


Website ADA Compliance

Lawsuits targeting businesses with websites that are allegedly not ADA Compliant are on the rise. This trend started a few years ago and the first round of suits were filed against large companies like Dominoes and WinDixie, claiming that their websites were inaccessible to people with disabilities. Courts have upheld these claims, leading to a rash of new lawsuits. In fact, these types of cases have rapidly grown in the last few years from 815 in 2017 to over 3200 in 2019. (more…)

The Difference Between a $500 Website and a $5000 Website

We all know that the old adage, “you get what you pay for,” is true in a lot of instances. When it comes to buying a house, it’s likely true. The size, age and location of the house will largely determine its cost and the newer, bigger houses in prime locations are going to cost more.

But when it comes to buying services, this saying is not always accurate. We’ve probably all had instances where we felt we overpaid for sub-par service. In many cases, buying a service, like a haircut, an hour of life coaching, or the creation of a website has more to do with WHO you buy it from than what you are buying. You can buy a $20 haircut at SuperCuts or you could pay $150 or more to have it cut by a well-known stylist in a larger city. Is the more expensive haircut better? Presumably it is, though in rare instances you might find a rising star of a stylist who is charging a low price because the market hasn’t yet figured out how good they are. So, you might get lucky and get something close to the $150 haircut from someone who is unknown but talented and only charges $20. 


WordPress vs Webflow, Wix & Squarespace

There are so many tools and platforms available today for creating websites that it can be difficult to sort through the options. Whether you are a small business owner or manager trying to figure out the most cost effective way to build your website, a marketing director trying to decide on the best platform for your company, or someone considering a career in web development, it’s helpful to understand the pros and cons of the various options available.

There are literally thousands of tools and platforms for creating websites, so we will focus on just a few of the more popular ones. Also, we will not dive into a detailed analysis of every feature in each platform. Instead, we will consider the high level differences in approach that each platform takes and when you might want to use one versus another.


The Hidden Costs of GoDaddy WordPress Hosting

GoDaddy has long been known for being a low-price leader for purchasing domains and web hosting. This is part of the genius of their marketing. By breaking up all of their offerings into their smallest components, each component appears to be inexpensive. In addition, they offer 20-25% discounts off this pricing in the first year, to make costs appear even lower.

However, you can rarely get away with only the basics, so by the time you add up everything you need, you will quickly find that GoDaddy’s hosting is not as cost-effective as many believe. 

For example, say that you wanted to host a basic WordPress website and you needed 3 email addresses for your business. GoDaddy’s base pricing for this is $6.99 per month and you get free “business email” with that. The total first year cost: $83.88. 


NDIC Response to COVID-19

Dear NDIC Customers, Partners and Community,

Amidst the uncertainty and concern that COVID-19 has brought into our lives, both from health and economic standpoints, we wanted to reach out and let you know that our hearts and thoughts are with you.

After we took stock of our own situation and ensured that our team was safe and our business could continue to be operational, our next thought was how we could help our clients and community. Things are changing so fast that ideas that we had only days ago already seem meaningless, however one thing is clear to us – communication is key during times of uncertainty.

As consumers of other company’s products and services, I imagine we can all relate to the need to know basic things like “Are you keeping normal hours right now?”

So, as companies, it makes sense for us to have a strategy to communicate to our clients regularly and efficiently in response to the rapidly changing business environment. The obvious way to do this is through our websites so we don’t have to do it dozens of times per day via phone or email. This only works, however, if the message on our websites is obviously new and up-to-date, so it doesn’t leave any doubt about whether the information is current.

A great solution for this is a thin colorful horizontal banner that displays at the top of your website. We have identified a free WordPress plugin that makes it easy to add this to your site. You can see a sample of this banner on our own site at The plugin is called Popup Maker and you can find it here. If you would like help implementing this, please let us know. Also, if you need assistance sending an email blast to customers, we can help with that as well.

There is so much information and speculation going around right now that it can be difficult to know what is accurate. The best we can do is to try to use reputable and authoritative sources and to question and double-check any information that we can’t clearly trace back to reputable sources. Social media can be a boon during these times to keep us connected and informed but misinformation, both innocent and intentional, spreads just as readily on social media as factual information.

Please be safe and stay healthy.

Masen Yaffee, President
New Directions In Computing

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The Totalitarian Regime that is Google Safe Browsing

This is an edited version of an email sent to two different Googlers apparently associated with the Safe Browsing team.… more

New Year Resolution: Add E-commerce to Your Online Presence

Over the past year we have seen some major shifts in how people are shopping. According to Shopify, who surveyed… more

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