Is a content-filtering service blacklisting your website?
What is “censorware” or “content filtering”, and how does it work?
Some software companies offer content-filtering firewall services that stop people from viewing certain categories of websites and blogs from school, library, corporate, or other public networks. Our leftist and jihadi enemies don’t want you to view information that contradicts their party line, so they often make bogus complaints about conservative or counterjihad sites with an eye to getting them blocked from as many venues as possible. This is a form of stealth censorship.
Sometimes a sudden drop in website access statistics suggest that you’ve been blocked – but it won’t be easy to locate the choke point that is keeping your readers away.
If your site has been blocked, you won’t find out unless your would-be readers tell you. And they are unlikely to be able to notify you of that if they can’t get to your site from their network.
Some service providers have URL lookup pages that let you find out how your site has been categorized. Other content-filtering services do not reveal their blacklists except to paid subscribers. Bloggers obviously cannot afford to subscribe to all of these expensive services just to find out whether or not their site has been blacklisted somewhere.
Test pages to determine whether a website has been blacklisted:
Contact information to request that a content-filtering firm change a website’s classification:
- Email Websense: email@example.com
- Barracuda contact page
- Feedback/registration form to contact SafeSurf
Note: The SafeSurf form requires you to reveal personal information. If you use the form, we suggest that, to avoid confusion, you enter the name of the website that you are telling them about, not your own website.
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Press Contact : Ray Soular
Press Phone : (818) 613-1415
How you can help other bloggers
If you cannot access a legitimate website because it has been blocked by filtering software, please try again to access that site from a different network, such as your smartphone. Get contact information for the site owner and let them know who is blacklisting them so that they can do something about it. Look up the content filtering company, send them an email or a message on their website, and pass that information along to the site owner also.
Click on our censorware category link to view the most recent blog posts on this topic.
What about using proxy services to bypass content filtering?
These workarounds do not address the real problem of blog censorship. You might be willing and able to set up proxies so that you can continue to read all of your favorite blogs. But if your blog is being blacklisted by content-filtering firms over much of the world, how many other people will take the same effort and risk to get to your blog? The fact is that only a tiny fraction of your potential audience will have courage, the know-how, and the opportunity to set up proxies and use them to read your blog in secret somewhere. This will not propagate your blog’s message to the general public, most of whom haven’t seen your blog and don’t know why it might be worth their trouble to read it!