Cast into the wilderness

Once upon a time, the great digital god Google smote me with the back of its algorithmic hand; I had to mend my ways and atone for my wickedness before I would be readmitted to Google’s good graces, a process which ultimately required me to hire the services of a white-hat malware consultant, my own mad skillz being insufficient to the task.

But that’s Google: it knows the quality of mercy, even if it’s difficult to entreat them to extend it to someone. Lesser entities have their own methods of persuasion:

The McAfee Site Advisor website claims, about NaturalNews.com, “We tested it and found security risks. Beware.”

These claims by McAfee are utterly false and highly defamatory. By spreading this information through its downloadable browser tools, McAfee is severely harming the reputation and web traffic of Natural News while misleading potentially millions of users about a website that they find to be highly informative, reputable and completely free of security risks.

UPDATE: McAfee contacted us and explained that if we paid them $38,000, they would certify our website and “take care” of the red reputation rankings. In a second conversation, they told us that if we made the decision to go with them TODAY, they would reduce the fee to just $32,000. Feeling forced into having our website reputation destroyed if we did not pay, we paid McAfee $32,000, which we consider an “extortion fee.” Magically, within minutes, all the red flags on our website were lifted and Natural News is no longer being blocked by McAfee. This cost us $32,000!!!

“We tested it” seems arguable:

Site Advisor’s scores are derived from users who sign up to be “site reviewers.” The ratings from these “site reviewers” are then TRUSTED by McAfee to be accurate, regardless of whether they are accurate or not.

This faulty reputation structure allows gangs of online paid trolls (so-called “anti-P.R. companies”) to game the system and coordinate a campaign of submitting negative ratings for any targeted website (such as Natural News).

I need hardly point out that if there’s one thing trolls like better than trolling, it’s getting paid for trolling.

They haven’t sent Maggie a bill yet, but they’ve blacklisted her on the flimsiest of “evidence”:

[T]he warning on Site Advisor about Maggie’s Notebook points to Blogads as my problem, and to be clear, Blogads is not the problem, and because of McAfee, Blogads has not been on my site for months. BUT here’s the story: McAfee says they “haven’t tested it [Blogads] yet,” and by their own admission they “don’t have enough information,” but flagged me anyway. Many, many sites use Blogads as an advertising source. They are completely reputable.

If nothing else, this shows you how often they update their “information.”







5 comments

  1. Maggie@MaggiesNotebook »

    13 December 2013 · 10:03 am

    Thanks for bring this to the attention your readers. About how often they update, on my scan they show a link to Vistaprint as “safe” but Vistaprint hasn’t been on my website for 18 months. Again, thanks.

  2. McAfee’s “Malicious Defamation on Innocent Websites:” NaturalNews Paid McAfee $32K to Clear Website Reputation – “Gangs of Online Paid Trolls” | Maggie's Notebook »

    13 December 2013 · 10:06 am

    […] Linked at Dustbury who has had his own online problems in the past and had to pull out his wallet to… […]

  3. Charles Pergiel »

    13 December 2013 · 12:16 pm

    They paid!?!?!?! 32 THOUSAND DOLLARS!?!?!?! Which implies that they are making enough money that they could afford it, which means I am must be doing something wrong. (You think, maybe?) At least I’m not on McAfee’s hit list. Yet.

  4. McGehee »

    13 December 2013 · 2:16 pm

    McAfee? McAfee…

    Oh yes, McAfee. I once used their anti-virus thingie, and then stopped. Haven’t had anything to do with them in at least ten years.

    They want to tell me I can’t visit Maggie’s site? <guffaw>

  5. Roy »

    13 December 2013 · 3:56 pm

    I agree with McGehee.

    I’ve lost count of the number of slow computers I have cleaned up just by removing all of the stupid McAfee software. As far as I’m concerned McAfee itself is malware.

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