Trend Micro Wrongly Says KeyWebData.com is Dangerous and Undesirable

Say it’s not so, Is KeyWebData really dangerous and undesirable? I will leave it up to you…

Trend Micro, maker of PC-Cillin and Trend Micro Internet Security, has been identifying my site as dangerous and undesirable, blocking the page from being displayed and possibly blocking my emails. My email response rate dropped and many long time subscribers began telling me they had not heard from me in a couple weeks. So, I began trying to track this down a few weeks ago and have gotten to the bottom of it: Trend Micro is blocking my site identifying keywebdata.com as an undesirable and dangerous site. The blocking has now been removed.

I was one of the first to break the news back in 2003 when Norton began blocking Commission Junction blocking affiliate links In fact this was the first decent article I wrote and am still proud of it.

Trend Micro has agreed that any blocking was in error and no blocking is occurring at this time.

I want to make it REAL clear that any sales I have lost may or may not be due to any filtering by Trend Micro.

I want to make it REAL clear that AWeber has been very helpful in looking into this issue and like me and my other email delivery (Email Delivery Jedi) pro associates, have not found any blocking of my site and my emails. The only documentation of Trend Micro blocking my site that I have is the screen shot below. Read this article thoroughly, do not just skim it and jump to conclusions.

I want to thank you all, my email subscribers, Paul Myers, my contacts at Trend Micro and especially those of you who were so helpful in replying to my emails in a rather desperate situation here.

Many of you reading this are very skilled email delivery pros, please give me any feed back you can on this issue in the comments section of this blog post.

Why did the Trend Micro blocking warning and blocking occur?

Let’s start with a little history of how I tracked this down. Labor day weekend was my birthday and I was selling books like hotcakes. My sale completion rate was 95% and I had lots of interaction on my blog and the life was good.

But then I started seeing sales and interaction here slowly slip away during the month of September. In the last three weeks of September sales suddenly stopped altogether, click thru rates on my emails plummeted and I went through a three week sales drought.

I currently have $5000 in abandoned sales and in the last two weeks all attempts to buy my product were abandoned. We don’t know why at this point. But if any of you reading this can give me any feed back, please contact me directly.

I am an email delivery pro and I could not find the block anywhere. Neither could even more experienced pros that I asked to help me. Nothing, no blacklists, not URL blocks, nothing. I finally resorted to creating a Facebook group just so I could email a list and bring in some sales.

Guess what? It worked and instantly I started making sales and getting traffic to the group.

So I began to think about what the problem was and how to solve it. Two frustrating weeks later, I have the problem nailed down. Trend Micro has been wrongly blocking my emails, wrongly blocking my site and destroying my reputation. Microsoft, Symantec and others may have had their hand in it as well. The only real evidence I have is Trend Micro.

I do want to say that Trend Micro has been VERY helpful in helping me track down the reason. We are still working in exact data.

First of all I started seeing these numbers:

14% of Firefox users were buying my book.

00.26% of Internet Explorer 7 users were buying my book.

Between 9-25-08 none of my AWeber emails were delivered to my Yahoo email test account.

Last week I did not even get my own emails at my keywebdata.com email addresses.

No one using IE has bought this month.

At the same time the two sales I do have were in versions of Firefox.

If I do not find out what is going on I am about to be living in the street and writing my blog from a library computer. I am NOT kidding here.

So after 2 hours on the phone to Symantec, four hours on the phone with Microsoft, had PayPal test the payment on their site and ran my site through every possible version of windows I could: All returned a clean reputation and no listing of keywebdata.com. Microsoft told me to get an answer from Trend Micro and they would move on after that.

Then I remembered that Jennifer Horowitz and forwarded a screen shot from one of here subscribers showing that Trend Micro wrongly blocking keywebdata.com.

Why should you be concerned with Trend Micro? Cnet reported that out of the top 10 Windows apps sold, 6 are anti virus apps, Trend Micro AntiVirus 2008 Plus Anti-Spyware was #4 on the list and Trend Micro Internet Security 2008 was #9.

Trend Micro wrongly blocks keywebdata.com

I got this screen shot back from Jennifer Horowitz that received it from one of here subscribers.

trend-micro-blocked.jpg

Off to the contact page on Trend Micro and I started at the top, calling the top level PR guy for America.

Trend Micro has agreed that there was a period that I was blocked by their software and that it should not have happened. They are looking into the source of that blocking and I am waiting for them to contact me this morning after two days of their investigation. Finally today, October 23, I am publishing without the final data that I have asked them for.

Symantec and Norton Security

After two hours on the phone Symantec was able to finally tell me that keywebdata.com is not listed as a malicious site.

After further requests to the public relations department there Symantec declined to comment in any way. Do they smell lawsuit over there?

PayPal cleared my site and my payment software

PayPal has disabled browsers: Internet Explorer 4 and below as well as possibly Sarfari from using PayPal.

PayPal is hating on any browser but IE7 and FireFox, although I was able to complete the payment process in IE 6 and 7 and even Opera mini from my phone.

Microsoft Anti Phishing

After 4 hours on the phone with Microsoft they were kind enough to run my site in their browser. The highest version they had available was IE6. The is funny and sad at the same time.

Windows Phishing filter in IE7 and Smart Screen filter in IE8 beta.

Spam filters blocking email

It would only make sense that if I was being blocked in the browser then I was being blocked by spam filters as well. This could be based on my from name, address, both or URLs in emails. What is strange is that no one has gotten even one bounce message. This may well be a new version of spam filter blocking and I WILL get to the bottom of this for us all.

What I did do was ask all of my email subscribers to reply to my last email just so I could get a trust rate percentage of live recipients. Here are the results.

List #1: 355 sent, 5 bounced, 56 opened.

List #2: 430 sent, 1 bounced, 128 opened.

785 emails sent.

184 opened.

110 willing to reply to the email. (thank you)

3 were nice enough to click the spam button on me.

One was nice enough to click the spam button on me and then actually unsubscribe.

These were all double opt in subscribers on AWeber lists.

I want to thank you all for participating in my little test.

I especially want to thank those of you who were nice enough to click the spam button on me, let me just say, go defrag yourself! Thanks for creating even more problems for me.

Anti Virus Blocking Solutions

Get a SSL certificate from you host.

First of all, Symantec products will throw an “unsecured site” warning if you do not have a SSL certificate on your site. Easy solution, $30 a year for the certificate. Your host can take care of that for you. This should be a trust builder and for cheap.

Get your email list to whitelist your from address

The only reason my business did not go under was the fact that many of my subscribers had whitelisted me in Gmail especially. You can generate your own whitelist instructions here.

Monitor blocking software.

Next I would run a computer somewhere that has Trend Micro products on it, just for safty sake. The full version is on $49. Compare that to just one sale I lost because of this and it is a bargain. 2007 version that runs on Windows 2000.

Also at this point I really have exact details for you since McAffe refuses to even answer any questions, Symantec has backed out of our interview that their PR department originally agreed to and I am still waiting on the exact reason for blocking my site in September. At this point Trend Micro does agree that any blocking was a mistake on their part and should never have happened.

15 Comments

  1. Posted October 23, 2008 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Very sad story…
    I’m glad that it’s almost all ok now.

    I don’t run any trend micro software, so I had no problems with keywebdata.

    Why those bastards hit on “spam” button if they can just unsubscribe any time?

    I hope it’s all will be ok from now.

  2. Posted October 23, 2008 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Chris,
    You sure are thorough. I don’t have much to add other than I find it a strange coincidence that the emails you send me related to this topic all went into my Spam folder, where that has never been an issue with any of your other emails.

    Just a coincidence?

    Arnie

  3. Posted October 23, 2008 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Quick update: All my test email accounts received my emails today, so things are looking up. It seems any blocks are cleared and Trend Micro is going to server logs trying to see where the blocking began.

  4. Dare
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Glad you ended all this mess Chris.

  5. Posted October 23, 2008 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Also, you may have noticed I encouraged anyone that was upset that this article appeared here instead of on EmailDeliveryJedi.com to unsubscribe. That my have seemed a little over the top. Of course there was one person that was just that ignorant.

    I double checked to make sure that this person was unsubscribed. This is the kind of incredibly stupid person that would click the spam button when they double opted into a newsletter to begin with.

  6. Posted October 27, 2008 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Hey Chris

    Very sorry to hear about what happened. Something similar happened to my site about a year ago… Users started getting philshing reports when visting my site from firefox… I contacted them several times with no response and magically after about 5 days the error message just stopped showing up and hasn’t since then…

    I wish you the best of luck on the matter… these issues are blackholes that just drain all the energy out of you…

    Vince

  7. Posted October 27, 2008 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Verification: Your emails are back in inbox :)

    vince

  8. Posted October 27, 2008 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    @ Vince, the problem is that now you are probably getting canned by Yahoo, Gmail and Microsoft filters due to the listing on Trend Micro. If you send email check your delivery rate. I did not get any email delivered for a month if my domain was in any link. A MINIMUM of $30K down the drain.

    I am putting together a consulting service that can clear these blocks for you. I have spent 2 months putting together the full picture here and I am one of the few people that know what is really going on.

    I have all the contact email addresses and phone numbers to get any blocking cleared and will be moving forward with this in the coming week. Stay tuned for details.

  9. Elizabeth
    Posted February 15, 2009 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    I stumbled across this looking for something else and found it very interesting…but I do have one question…when publishing something on the internet for all the world to see would it not be a good idea to proof-read and correct typos and spelling mistakes? – Especially if you are in the Marketing Field. I’m not trying to be rude though I am aware it comes off that way but I am one of those people who is very detail oriented and it irks me when I read something published in its finished form and it has basic elementary mistakes…probably why I avoid the two newspapers in my hometown of Victoria BC (one day I will take a red pen to the Times Colonist and send it back to the editor I swear lol)

    Here is just one example – just for safty sake

    You had put a lot of time into the article and it was inciteful and informative. However, with even a couple of little errors like the one above it can lose its intelligence and give the appearance of a lack of forethought and care which may in turn cause your readers to question how much care you actually did put into the article itself.

  10. Posted February 15, 2009 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    @Elizabeth, you may want to take into account my lack of being able to spell here seeing as Trend Micro had just destroyed my business that I took ten years to build.

    One small database error, no more business. I was lucky to have a roof over my head at this point in October and only 7 days later I was homeless. I am still scraping by on a few sales a week. I have never been able to recover my business from the destruction brought on by Trend Micro’s little mistake.

    I went from $3K a week to nothing and am still there 6 months later. Spelling is the last thing I am worried about at this point. Trying to keep my head above water after having done nothing wrong to begin with is a little too much to bear some days.

    Point well taken though. Thanks.

  11. Dan K
    Posted March 1, 2011 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Did you ever find out why they blocked your site? Someone sent me a link to a site and it was also blocked. Appears to be just a political site, although I haven’t visited it.

  12. Posted March 1, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    TrendMicro called it a false positive. They left the rest up to a lawsuit and said I would have to subpoena the log files, then pay a pro to sort them out, then take all that to court. I dediced there were better things to do with my life than spend it in court ala “Flash of Genius…”

  13. josh
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    We are experiencing an unjust blocking of our web service as well. Can you please let me know who I need to contact in order to get the block removed?

  14. Posted September 13, 2011 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Sorry to hear that Josh….

    Actually I have exactally what you need right here…..

    http://www.emaildeliveryjedi.com

    That will give you the lowdown on TM….

    Hope that does it for you Josh, everything you need is there.

    Chris

  15. Owen
    Posted January 17, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    @Elizabeth – I agree with your point about punctuation, spelling accuracy etc in general. Please note however that your point ends up being diluted when you misspell the word insightful.