Warning: Landing Pages Using Voluum May be Flagged for Viruses

Written by Charles Ngo
Written by Charles Ngo

UPDATE: Read the bottom for an update from Voluum
A few days ago something happened to websites using the Voluum tracking solution.
If a visitor has anti-virus software on their computer such as Norton or Avast, then it’ll give them a popup warning that your landing page might have a virus / dangerous. You can imagine how this would affect conversion rates. In some cases they’ll even blank out your entire landing page to protect the user.
At first I thought that this only affected affiliates who were using the default “trackvoluum.com” URL. However, this issue affects anyone using VOLUUM including those who are CNAME their URLs.
I’m not great at explaining the technical side. Here’s an email I received today from Thrive (aka the opportunist)

If you use one of the competing cloud-based trackers out there for your tracking needs like Voluum, you’ve perhaps noticed your own campaigns or heard that campaigns of others are starting to get flagged by antivirus and/or traffic sources like Facebook.
This results in a very poor user experience for the traffic that you are buying since they will get virus alerts in their browsers and traffic sources like Facebook will start banning your campaigns or accounts.
This can happen if you use a custom domain and use CNAME record to setup your domain for the tracker, which cloud-based tracking software seem to rely on.
CNAME is an alias for the one domain that every user of that tracker uses. This means that if any other user of that tracker runs something dodgy, it could very negatively reflect upon your own domain as well since everyone essentially shares the same primary tracker domain, which points to asingle IP address.
As an alternative to that, with THRIVE’s Managed Service, where we put you up on our super-optimized Amazon cloud setup, we use what’s called the “A Record” when setting up your domain, so that this would never happen.
Via the “A Record”, each domain would point to a unique and dedicated IP addressthat only you use so that your reputation and traffic is never affected by other users. Other users could run the shadiest things through, and your install would never be affected.
Even if you do get your domain flagged, we can easily change the IP and domain of the installation.
This is an important matter that unfortunately not many are too educated about, but this should definitely not be ignored. I hope this post provides some good background to beware when using a shared cloud tracker.

This seems to primarily affect people with desktop traffic. If you’re 100% mobile then it shouldn’t affect you since the mobile users are not running the same anti-virus software. You should check your campaigns to see if there were any sudden drops on conversion rates over the past few days.
I went to research on the StackThatMoney forums to see what Voluum’s response was. Right now they’re talking to Norton / Avast to try and get the domains unflagged. They’re also working on a backup plan to have multiple Voluum server so this doesn’t happen again.
If this is affecting you then you might want to consider switching to another tracking solution. The only other tracking solution that is NGO approved is Thrive by iPyxel. Look, there’s no affiliate links. I’m writing this post to educate you guys, not to make a quick buck.
Thrive is self-hosted, and has had amazing reviews.
I hope Voluum bounces back from this with a viable, long-term solution since I love the software.

Update from Voluum:
Hey Guys,
I’ve checked myself and a few users confirmed as well – the Avast flag has been lifted on both of our main tracking domains. The Norton flag was removed yesterday.
I appreciate your patience and understanding.
Robert Gryn

This is great news!
I think Voluum should have been more proactive with making their users aware of the issue. Most people would not have realized there was an issue if there wasn’t a thread at STM about it, or if I hadn’t blogged about it. There should have been an email sent as soon as everyone realized their was a problem since the users are losing money.
Mistakes happen, but it’s how you deal with the situation that affects users.
Right now the problem is solved, but I want to know what preventive measures will be put in place for the future. Best of luck to Voluum.

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