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Double Check Your Web Properties Every Day – Or Else

So, I am jamming along with my morning, cranking some tunes, catching up on some emails and gulping coffee by the bucket (all at 7:00 am) and a note comes in that a client’s online registration system is ready to test. Cool I think, I can rock this out before the real day starts and if there are no issues, I can put it off my plate and move on to greener pastures for the rest of the day.

Now, I have nothing to do with my clients registration, I am actually just testing it to ensure that all of the social media aspects are there and that they work… The company that they have picked to handle their online registration is known to me and I like them, not a thing wrong here… I am even friends with a couple of people that work at this joint. Good people doing good work…

Here is what happened when I clicked through the register now button:

Malware and online registration

WOW, this is monumental on a lot of levels and I almost spilled my coffee.

No one ever wants to see something like this. If your registration is live, you are telling your attendees to not go here and they won’t………….they also won’t come back because they will always live in fear that your site is bad. They will always have this fear….sorry, but that is a fact.

Once someone is lost to a message like this, it will cost you boatloads to get them to trust your site again.

I know this company and I know that they do not put malware on their website. All of the major online registration sites are quite safe. I have also seen this pop up on an industry magazine’s site, a grocery store and bunches of blogs.. it happens.

The issue is that one of their sites (not registration)  is hosted on a shared server, through a host that allows bad sites.  Because one domain is on a compromised server to the all knowing “Google”, all of the subdomains are considered compromised, even though they are not hosted in same place and are quite secure. Really, this is not fair…most sites are hosted on shared servers, this site is on a shared server.

In layman’s terms, here it is….

This is like the health department coming in and shutting down the next door neighbor of the headquarters of your favorite fast food place because it is dirty, nasty and gross… the Fast Food restaurant headquarters is quite nice, they are just NEXT DOOR to a place that is vile.

Now, because this happened, all of the restaurants in the chain now have a warning label stuck on the door that says “this restaurant contains food born diseases”… even though these restaurants are 1000 miles from the headquarters, are squeaky clean and all have Martha Stewart as a manager. Not fair but damage is done.

The company that I am discussing here has jumped on the issue, is cranking out a fix, and it will be fixed. The moral to planners is, do not always assume that once something is up and running well you can take it off your plate.

Have someone that is assigned to log into all of your web properties as a user everyday and check them out… look at your site, your registration, your twitter account … check all of it and ensure that it is operating as it should be so that you can take action if something is not right………

Being proactive rather than reactive can save you a world of hurt.

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