When Google blocks your newsletter links (Safe Browsing)

One of our kind TMPDIR newsletter subscribers informed us that Google is now blocking links in our newsletter.

The same message shows up in Firefox, Brave, and Chromium … apparently, they are all using Google to detect malware???

So we use Tinyletter to send newsletter articles, and since it is a free service, there are likely people using it to send nasty stuff in spite of MailChimp’s best efforts to not let this happen. And since Google processes half the email in the world, they must have detected this and flagged Tinyletter as a malware vendor. This is another example of the technology arms race. Malware is a problem, but in one fell swoop, Google has pretty much shut down our newsletter and Tinyletter in general. Security is a double-edged sword – when is the cure worse than the problem?

I sent a message to Tinyletter and they responded with a kind message suggesting we add plain-text links in our newsletter and said they are working with Google to resolve the problem. I wish them the best.

This illustrates a fundamental principle – you want to be in control of your content, processes, hosting, and workflow. We had the foresight to host our own newsletter archive site. So, we will probably just move our newsletter to another service, or set up our own, to avoid this problem.

Another example of this:

And some more information:

It seems Tinyletter got their issue resolved as we no longer see the red warnings when clicking on newsletter links.

Controlling the browser platform is a big deal, but it is concerning that one company can determine what is “safe”. The classic tension between security and freedom.