It seems the more Google changes, the more Google stays the same. While outwardly publishing posts about nurturing children’s curiosity and “being there” for small businesses, in actuality, Google seems to care very little about individual content creators.
Google’s Actions Speak Louder Than Words
While the Chromium open-source software project (which provides the source code for Chrome) has arguably changed much of the web for the better, Google has shown a pattern of overstepping its boundaries and delivering a poor experience for many users. While EasyWP has a very loud grievance to file against Google (more on that in a moment), Chrome’s detractors have many compelling arguments about why to switch to another browser, such as Firefox.
The EasyWP team at Namecheap first decided to confront Google for punishing innocent people in January of 2019. In November of last year, Google penalized thousands of EasyWP customers for simply publishing legitimate content on EasyWP servers, and we sounded the alarm once more.
Now, we have no choice but to call out their irresponsible behavior yet again.
It’s true that a corporate giant such as Google can make for an easy target, but make no mistake; the goal is not to pick a personal fight with The Alphabet Company. We merely want to let the world know, for a third time, how reckless Google can be when they use their powers to the detriment of others instead of for good.
Google often tries to champion small business and entrepreneurship in its advertising campaigns, but the reality of their behavior can more often than not, be very different.
Free Subdomains from EasyWP
The ongoing issue relates to a free benefit Namecheap offers to our customers. Any EasyWP subscriber can choose to host their website on a custom domain name they have registered or use a free EasyWP subdomain such as ingress-alpha.easywp.com. This is a common practice among the top hosting providers.
EasyWP offers this free subdomain as a no-cost solution for customers who are still making decisions about their business name or need a temporary URL while building their site.
Google has now, for a third time, started to block ALL users of these free subdomains as suspicious, even though the vast majority of them are 100% legitimate blogs or businesses.
In terms of this ongoing issue with Google, only customers who host subdomains with EasyWP are affected, not those who host custom domain names.
Google Flagged Innocent Sites, Again
This week, Google Search Console flagged one of our customer’s subdomains as potentially infected with malware.
While the crawlers used by Google can certainly be right about malware’s appearance, just as often they are wrong. Simple oversights such as outdated plugins or bugs in a theme update can trigger the same alert. Typically, we notify the customer, the error is corrected, and everyone goes back to business as usual.
However, Google truly overstepped its boundaries before anyone had a chance to notice. Instead of merely flagging the potentially compromised websites, Chrome decided to block all of the EasyWP customers’ websites hosted on free subdomains, even though they weren’t compromised in any way.
Here’s what a user see when Chrome flags an innocent website:
An alert like that is more than enough to send potential readers or customers to hit the back button.
Fixing Google’s Mistake — Third Time’s the Charm?
A penalty from the all-powerful Google can be detrimental for a small business owner. This type of punishment can severely affect their website traffic and limit profit, not to mention customer trust and satisfaction.
As a trustworthy hosting provider with numerous customers worldwide, we at EasyWP believed that Google would have the decency to respond to our request with real-time support.
Our only option so far? To complete a standard form, with no estimated timeline, and no way to contact Google’s service team directly. At this point, we have no idea when the problem will be fixed or even how it will be fixed.
We understand that all our valued customers run essential businesses and meaningful projects on their websites. When Google decides to mark their websites as malicious in error, it has an immediate impact on the lives of real people.
At Namecheap and EasyWP, we’ll continue to fight the good fight and keep you informed via Twitter. You can always reach out to our 24/7 Customer Support Team if you have any further questions. Don’t worry: you’ll get a real-time response from us.
We’re confident there’s a resolution on the way, but after months of pleading publicly to Google, it’s not likely to happen overnight. Stay tuned, and thanks again for your patience.