Skip to content + = FAIL

For awhile now, Planetary Scale LLC has been using to link to Mappity Quakes on the iTunes App Store from our homepage. I chose to use because of their statistics tracking on clicks, something I couldn’t get just by linking directly to iTunes page for the app.

Tonight, while writing another blog post, I tried clicking on the link to go to my app’s page, and instead saw this:
bitly fail

Somehow, my link had been flagged as malicious and I’ve been missing out on potential sales because decided to break my link. Why though?

Looking at’s FAQ, they say: filters all links through several independent services to check for spam, suspected phishing scams, malware, and other objectionable content. We currently include Google Safe Browsing, SURBL, and SpamCop in our operations.

Checking Google Safe Browsing, SURBL, and SpamCop, I see neither nor are blacklisted.

Okay, that’s weird… but wait! It looks like when I originally created the link, it was actually a link to a link. That was kind of dumb of me. However, as a sanity check, I’ve created a link to with tinyurl to see if it too will be blacklisted by Unsuprisingly, it is. Checking Google Safe Browsing, is listed as an intermediary to malware, as is

So, the takeaway from all of this is: as far as I can tell is flagging all links to as malware, even just a link to the tinyurl homepage.

Why is this worse than just a screwup on my part? Consider that is used to automatically shorten URLs in a lot of services, such as Twitter. A quick check shows also flags links to the homepage of,,,,,,, and, all of which are competitors. In fact, if I tried to link to the Enterprise Edition of BudURL in a tweet, it would be automatically converted to a link. Clicking on that link would take someone to a giant warning page, rather than the product of a competitor.

I realize is trying to do this as a safety feature, but as it stands I’m moving my web links to direct URLs. The added value of their statistics tracking just isn’t enough to offset the risk of them breaking my links.

Posted in Mappity, Miscellany.

One Response

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  1. Robi Ganguly says

    I suppose it’d be too much to ask for statistics to cover stats around being blacklisted or broken. Shame on them.

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