Plenty of bit.ly and goo.gl users are legitimate, but Spamhaus thinks enough aren't that the organization had the URL shorteners on its "Domain Block List" on Tuesday. This is bad news for email marketers, as Internet mail servers use the database as a real-time resource to determine whether incoming email is safe.
"Email marketing friends: Bit.ly is being blocked by Spamhaus, consider switching to Goo.gl," tweets @Mike_Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, at 9:38 a.m. on Tuesday.
When signed in, Gmail users can use Goo.gl much like bit.ly, by inputting a URL and clicking to get a shortened link to copy. Without being signed in, Goo.gl requires users to verify they're human by typing in numbers somewhat like a Captcha plugin. (Another URL shortener, ow.ly, has users who aren't signed in play simple video games to verify status as homo sapiens. Ow.ly, owned by Hootsuite, is not on the DBL.)
Bitly added a verification process, @Bitly reminded followers on Monday evening, linking to a June 30 bitly blog post titled "Introducing 2-Step Verification for All Users."
In an emailed response to Target Marketing's request for comment, Bitly states:
Bitly has been on and off of Spamhaus’ list at any given time. There’s a number of reasons that an open platform like ours can be captured as spam—but Bitly proactively manages abuse through a combination of manual monitoring and management, programmatic detection and through relationships with external security teams.
Bitly continues to develop security and abuse protection-oriented systems and features to combat inappropriate use of the platform. We recommend third-party integrations adhere to our published best practices and all users should report spam whenever they encounter it.
Google didn't immediately reply to emails on Tuesday requesting comment about goo.gl being on the Spamhaus blacklist.