Mar '24

Content blockers are preventing people from seeing domain landers – Domain Name Wire

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Domain Name Industry News
Tens of millions of people can’t see your domain landing pages.
People interested in buying domain names generally learn they’re for sale in one of two ways: search for the domain name at a registrar and see a premium listing, or type the domain into a browser and see a sales landing page.
Unfortunately, many people are blocked from seeing landing pages. More and more ad blockers and web security tools are flagging these pages as malevolent and preventing users from seeing them.
Traditionally, ad blockers blocked people from seeing ads on parked pages. But sometimes, they can be more aggressive and block for sale messages.
Domain investor Michael Sumner recently noticed that uBlock Origin is blocking all domains using Afternic.
uBlock Origin is one of the most popular content and ad blockers. It has 37 million users in Chrome and 8 million in Firefox.
Web security tools can also block people from visiting landers.
Malwarebytes Browser Guard, which is installed on over 10 million Chrome browsers, is showing blank pages for many domains using Afternic and DAN landers.
The Norton Safe Web plugin, which Microsoft reports is used by over 10 million people, also gets overly aggressive. And not just on landing pages.
Norton frequently blocks pages on GoDaddy Auctions. This is likely because some expired domains were used for nefarious purposes. Because these domains were listed on the site, Norton throws the baby out with the bathwater by occasionally flagging the entire site.
Sometimes, Norton blocks certain URLs on GoDaddy Auctions, making it impossible to manage your account. It also flags every link to GoDaddy Auctions in email as bad:
It’s unclear why Norton does this; it currently marks auctions.godaddy.com as safe.
A Domain Name Wire reader recently discovered the same issue at Squadhelp.
While Norton appears to be targeting specific domains using Squadhelp’s landers, in previous testing I’ve found it to block certain URLs on Squadhelp.com.
Fortunately, while Norton is overly aggressive, it’s also fairly responsive to blocklist removal requests.
Another reason people might not be able to see landing pages is that they don’t have SSL. Chrome has a setting that requires SSL and blocks domain names that don’t have it installed.
Although Afternic and Sedo have SSL on their main sites, the Google setting will block a domain forwarded to a page on Afternic or Sedo if the forwarding domain doesn’t have SSL installed.
Fortunately, Afternic started implementing SSL on individual domains last year. (Dan.com has done it for many years.)
In testing today, most of the domains I checked that point to Sedo Buy Now and Make Offer landing pages did not have SSL and are blocked. However, most Sedo PPC pages I visited have SSL and are not blocked.
While Chrome’s setting is optional for now, don’t be surprised if it is turned on by default in the future.
People who use Google Advanced Protection have the SSL setting turned on by default, with no option to turn it off. (This has been problematic for me. Domain end user research is arduous because most domains forward and don’t have SSL on the forwarder, so I have to click a “continue to site” link after seeing a warning for just about every domain I research. I’ve used Google Advanced Protection ever since Google said it detected a state actor trying to hack into my account.)
A couple of things can be done to limit the damage, but the marketplace platforms themselves must do most of it.
First, they can implement SSL on all domain names, even when those domains forward to a page on their marketplaces.
Second, they can plead with the blockers to remove the blocks. They must remain proactive by testing multiple blockers and not waiting for domain investors to alert them to these issues.
As for domain investors?
Be sure to alert platforms whenever you see an issue.
And in some cases, such as Norton, you can contact the blockers themselves to remove blocks.
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Andrew Allemann has been registering domains for over 25 years and publishing Domain Name Wire since 2005. He has been quoted about his expertise in domain names by The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and NPR. Connect with Andrew: LinkedInTwitter/XFacebook
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Jon Schultz says

Good reporting. I hope GoDaddy or the ICA initiates lawsuits, which I think are in order.
JaykeBird says

So many of the landing/parking pages I see end up looking pretty sketchy though. Basically has a list of vaguely-similar looking links on a weird blue/green background or something, no actual content and no names or anything. It just feels sketchy and scammy all-around, and probably is why these get flagged and blocked.
Maybe you’re talking about other pages, ones where someone’s actually put effort and actually wants to point visitors to somewhere like a sales or auction page… I don’t see those very often.
John Peter says

Nice Post.. I am using Daaz.com and I checked all my names, I felt much relaxed after realising Daaz.com supporting SSL for every domain name.
NameCritic says

It’s so simple to put up a small site on domains and I don’t care if you have hundreds of them. You can use something like leadpages.com and build a page for each of them in about 15 minutes. I’ve always done that for every domain I put up for sale since 1995 when those tools weren’t available. It’s always worked for me.
Shailendra Mishra says

The main culprit is Ads.
Domain investors want to “park” their domains for residual revenue.
Now since there is no content or context for these ads, to increase the CPC ad networks often show very very sketchy ads.
Next culprit is neighborhood. If almost all domains with a particular nameserver are known to show sketchy ads, it is likely that ad blockers will block the remaining domains too.
Domain Name Wire is a trade publication for the domain name industry covering topics relevant to domain investors, brand owners, policy makers, domain registrars and registries, and more. Founded in 2005, Domain Name Wire has been cited by Wall Street Journal, New York Times, NPR, and Washington PostRead More About DNW
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Joker has been buying and selling domains since the late 90's. He has worked with many portfolios and investors over the past decade as well.

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