In a move that promises to wreck havoc with many small businesses, Google has announced that it will be partnering with the Stop Badware coalition to display warnings about sites returned by its search engine.
Now, I am all against spyware and malware and “badware” [ugh, what a decidedly unoriginal and ugly name] but there are better ways to fight these than to slap a “Badware” label on a site simply because someone has reported it as such.
There are sites that provide this kind of service in a much better implementation, such as Siteadvisor, which will visit a site and test it before slapping an “unsafe” label on it.
Not so with the Stop Badware implementation that functions as a “Neighborhood Watch.” All it takes is a competitor — or a well meaning, but misinformed individual — to report your site as harboring “Badware” — and you’re slapped with the label that will show everytime someone views your site using Google. The onus will then be on you to prove otherwise.
The idea is not wrong; in fact, it is laudable.
But the implementation and execution sucks, big time.
The concept that a site is “guilty until it proves its innocence” [because someone has reported it] is simply wrong, unfair and is bad news for small businesses who cannot afford to spend the time and resources monitoring and fighting an erroneous “Badware” label.