Content blockers are preventing people from seeing domain landers

Tens of millions of people can’t see your domain landing pages.

A message from Norton saying that a domain is blocked.
Norton Safe Web is one of many plugins preventing people from seeing your landing pages.

People interested in buying domain names generally learn they’re for sale in one of two ways: search for the domain name at a registrar and see a premium listing, or type the domain into a browser and see a sales landing page.

Unfortunately, many people are blocked from seeing landing pages. More and more ad blockers and web security tools are flagging these pages as malevolent and preventing users from seeing them.

Ad blockers

Traditionally, ad blockers blocked people from seeing ads on parked pages. But sometimes, they can be more aggressive and block for sale messages.

Domain investor Michael Sumner recently noticed that uBlock Origin is blocking all domains using Afternic.

uBlock Origin is one of the most popular content and ad blockers. It has 37 million users in Chrome and 8 million in Firefox.

Security tools

Web security tools can also block people from visiting landers.

Malwarebytes Browser Guard, which is installed on over 10 million Chrome browsers, is showing blank pages for many domains using Afternic and DAN landers.

The Norton Safe Web plugin, which Microsoft reports is used by over 10 million people, also gets overly aggressive. And not just on landing pages.

Norton frequently blocks pages on GoDaddy Auctions. This is likely because some expired domains were used for nefarious purposes. Because these domains were listed on the site, Norton throws the baby out with the bathwater by occasionally flagging the entire site.

Sometimes, Norton blocks certain URLs on GoDaddy Auctions, making it impossible to manage your account. It also flags every link to GoDaddy Auctions in email as bad:

Domain names highlighted in red because Norton has flagged them
Users with Norton Safe Web installed see a warning for every domain that points to GoDaddy Auctions. The warning highlights the domains in red and warns people if they try to click on them. In this graphic, each of the highlighted domains is linking to GoDaddy Auctions.

It’s unclear why Norton does this; it currently marks as safe.

A Domain Name Wire reader recently discovered the same issue at Squadhelp.

While Norton appears to be targeting specific domains using Squadhelp’s landers, in previous testing I’ve found it to block certain URLs on

Fortunately, while Norton is overly aggressive, it’s also fairly responsive to blocklist removal requests.

SSL issues

Another reason people might not be able to see landing pages is that they don’t have SSL. Chrome has a setting that requires SSL and blocks domain names that don’t have it installed.

Although Afternic and Sedo have SSL on their main sites, the Google setting will block a domain forwarded to a page on Afternic or Sedo if the forwarding domain doesn’t have SSL installed.

Fortunately, Afternic started implementing SSL on individual domains last year. ( has done it for many years.)

In testing today, most of the domains I checked that point to Sedo Buy Now and Make Offer landing pages did not have SSL and are blocked. However, most Sedo PPC pages I visited have SSL and are not blocked.

While Chrome’s setting is optional for now, don’t be surprised if it is turned on by default in the future.

People who use Google Advanced Protection have the SSL setting turned on by default, with no option to turn it off. (This has been problematic for me. Domain end user research is arduous because most domains forward and don’t have SSL on the forwarder, so I have to click a “continue to site” link after seeing a warning for just about every domain I research. I’ve used Google Advanced Protection ever since Google said it detected a state actor trying to hack into my account.)

What can be done?

A couple of things can be done to limit the damage, but the marketplace platforms themselves must do most of it.

First, they can implement SSL on all domain names, even when those domains forward to a page on their marketplaces.

Second, they can plead with the blockers to remove the blocks. They must remain proactive by testing multiple blockers and not waiting for domain investors to alert them to these issues.

As for domain investors?

Be sure to alert platforms whenever you see an issue.

And in some cases, such as Norton, you can contact the blockers themselves to remove blocks.

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