Pink News, the gay news website, has criticised Google after the search engine labelled it an ‘attack site’ and blocked access for 48 hours.
Problems started on Tuesday, when access to pinknews.co.uk was blocked via Google for some users of the Firefox, Safari, and Chrome web browsers.
Instead, an error message said: “Pink News has been reported as an attack site and has been blocked based on your security preferences.
“Attack sites try to install programs that steal private information, use your computer to attack others, or damage your system.”
Pink News editor Tony Grew said: “Google’s decision to temporarily label us as a site with ‘badware’ has severely impacted on our traffic.
“Hundreds of users have written to us to complain, and we will record a reduction in revenue as a result. The procedure used must be called into question.”
Pink News said its technical staff searched “every single piece of code on the website” but were unable to find a problem, leaving them “puzzled”.
A Google spokesman blamed its stringent security policies.
“Google has set up a number of automated systems to scour our index for potentially dangerous sites, and we add a label to those that appear to be a vehicle for malware, to protect users who might visit them,” he said.
“It’s important to note that sites can sometimes be compromised without the webmaster’s knowledge, so we work to provide affected webmasters with further information on the issues we’ve identified, as well as tools to help them clean their sites and then request a review.
“All this stems directly from our security philosophy: we believe that if we all work together to identify threats and stamp them out, we can make the web a safer place for everyone.”