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Can Domain Blacklisting Be Avoided?

If we’re to sum up what any domain owner would want to avoid, it would be ending up in anyone’s blacklist. Domain blacklisting has detrimental consequences for any business. Actually, it can have the same or similar negative brand effects as you’d see in the aftermath of a data breach or PR incident.

These include:

  • Loss of credibility and goodwill: Any blacklisted organization automatically loses face not just among its customers but also its peers in the industry. Any brand name that gets raked through the mud loses its luster. A prime example of this would be DigiNotar, which suffered from a data breach back in 2011. The company’s business lay in protecting the information users entrusted to it and failing to do that spelled its demise.
  • Business decline due to customer loss: Any blacklisted organization stands to lose customers as well. Any company that gets cited for illicit doings can end up banned from operating in specific geographic locations. An example would be Alibaba in 2017, which ended up banned by the U.S. government for selling fake goods. To regain the country’s good graces, the company rid its site of counterfeit goods sellers. The moved worked in that to date, AliExpress, an Alibaba Group subsidiary, is the top 10 Internet shopping site in the U.S.
  • Financial strain: Loss of credibility and customers inevitably lead to financial loss. Any domain that’s been blacklisted is unfit for selling services. Its hosted site may become inaccessible to visitors or display warning signs advising willing users to proceed “at their own risk.” Consequently, blacklisted domain owners may find it impossible to keep their revenue up.

With that in mind, every business with an online presence would do well to avoid landing in blacklists. These mainly consist of two categories:

  • Google blacklist: Google is the top-ranking search engine worldwide with an 88.61% market share as of July 2019. Moreover, sites that have been Google-blacklisted reportedly lose as much as 95% of their organic traffic. Reasons for landing on this dreaded list include having ties to phishing campaigns; containing deceptive content, malware, and unwanted software; and having improperly labeled third-party content.
  • Security blacklists: These comprise malware, Domain Name System (DNS), phishing, and spamming blacklists. Independent organizations compile some while security solutions providers collate others. Regardless of the type of security blacklist and its owner, all businesses must strive to ensure that their entire domain infrastructure is constantly threat-free by severing ties to any malicious site or page.

Domain blacklisting is avoidable, that’s the good news. To protect your domain, you should constantly monitor it for signs of compromise. For instance:

  • Check your e-commerce forms, if any, and ensure that inputted data doesn’t get sent anywhere else except your sufficiently secured databases and payment processing systems.
  • Do not allow redirects from your site to any other external page, that could be a sign of the presence of malware.
  • Screen advertisers for any malicious doings as the ads that appear on your sites can be the cause of your domain’s ailing reputation.
  • Pay attention to complaints from email recipients asking to be taken off your email lists. Most people won’t even go through the trouble of letting you know. They’ll just mark undesirable communications as spam or unsubscribe. So check for significant drops in your subscriber base every now and then.

Additionally, you want to avoid buying domain names that have proved malicious or were blacklisted in the past. In the domain space, everything that has ever happened to a domain gets recorded in historical records or news archives.

You can learn more about the prior registrants and modifications made to registered domains over time, as part of the necessary background checks you could carry with WHOIS History API. What’s more, you can work with a Domain Reputation API to reveal a number of issues with a domain (e.g., redirects) that may lead to blacklisting.

By WhoisXML API, A Domain Research, Whois, DNS, and Threat Intelligence API and Data Provider

Whois API, Inc. (WhoisXML API) is a big data and API company that provides domain research & monitoring, Whois, DNS, IP, and threat intelligence API, data and tools to a variety of industries.

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