A client emailed me about his site not having the green check mark that Norton Safe Web adds after each site listing in search results.
Below is my response, I think it is useful information to anyone who has Norton Safe Web or is wondering about becoming a verified site by Norton:
Norton used to be the industry standard for all online safety and security. However, now that it has gain popularity and become more common, it has directed its attention to home users or people who are using computers to just play games and surf the web. Businesses and “techies” have diverted away from Norton because of its over commercialization and ability to “take over” and “clober” files and online habits. In other words, Norton has become limiting in content and permissions as it sees fit, and not on the user’s needs. For example, Norton came pre-installed on my new computer, and if I were to activate it, for a LARGE fee, I would not be able to send you this email as Norton finds any program using the internet connection that is not a browser, or any document that has an code or image properties that is not a website, a threat and therefore blocks it’s use and capabilities.
Also, Norton no longer scans for files infected or harmful until after installed on the computer and it detects a problem or is running a scheduled scan. Instead, it operates based on “trends” of a “basic user” and applies those pre-set trends to all computers it is installed on, based on the fee level you are willing to pay.
Norton, is, in other words, become a tyrant.
Their “Safe Web” program is their latest endeavor to controlling content and limiting user abilities. They believe that by having “verified” websites and showing statuses of those websites (in the form of a check mark, question mark, or “x” ) is a user friendly and easy way to show people what content is safe and what is not. In reality, those marks simply mean the website has not been entered into their directory yet.
Norton’s Safe Web is actually a “beta” form of software. In other words, it is still in testing and not available for purchase yet. However, it is being automatically downloaded to Norton subscribers (without their permission) to be tested. During this time Norton is encouraging website owners to create an account and verify ownership if the site to gain the green check mark. Signing up is free, and the verification process can take up to 2 weeks. Afterward, in order to gain the green check mark, Norton will “suggest” you make certain changes to your site so it will be “safer” (or in this case, so it will index easier with it’s software). If you are not able or willing to make the “suggested” changes, Norton will not allow your site to have the green check or be in their directory any longer.
Also, while it is free to join their directory and become verified now, Norton has not disclosed if keeping your account or verification status will be free after they enter out of beta testing and are distributed by purchase.
In other words, Safe Web is Norton’s way of forcing websites to have a certain type of standardize coding that will work better with their systems and looking for a way to make a profit off of it.
However, just has you do, people may see this, and not knowing all the information about Safe Web, chose not to enter your site. If you feel this is going to be an issue, or you are afraid of what will happen if your site is not verified, then you should start the process of verification. Just be aware of the information above, and know it may cost you later or may force you to change your website.
I will not be going through the verification at this time for my site for 3 reasons:
~I do not want to change my site to suit Norton’s parameters.
~I do not trust Beta software
~I will not sign up for a “Free” account if there is no decisions as to what happens with that account after sign up / beta testing is over.
~I do not trust Norton’s intentions or software products as is