The Risk of Integrating your Website with Facebook and other Social Sites

February 9, 2011

in Microsoft, News

I’m going to break a bit from my normal blogging topics to cover something that I have been experiencing over the last few weeks. It all started when I attempted to search the Internet using Bing while at a client located in Long Island, New York. My search completed successfully and just as I was about to review my results I was redirected to an ACCESS RESTRICTED page. After closer inspection of the aforementioned page, I realized that Bing was trying to contact Facebook. It was soon discovered that Facebook and all other social sites (Twitter, MySpace, etc…) are restricted and thus filtered by the corporate proxy. But why was this affecting my ability to search using Bing?

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So to answer this question I switched over to my Wifi card so I could search the Net unimpeded and research this “feature.” It appears that a short while back Microsoft and Facebook decided to work together to make your search experience “social”. Click here to read more about it. As Dr. Gru would say “light bulb”. So I followed the supplied instructions on disabling this feature in Bing and Facebook, connected to the corporate network and tried again. To my lack of surprise, Bing still tried to connect to Facebook and I was quickly redirected to the company ACCESS RESTRICTED page.

Fast forward a couple weeks and I have been amazed at how many companies and bloggers are integrating their websites into the social network and thus making it impossible for me (and the 24,000 other corporate users here) to connect and read their content while on the corporate network. They have quite unknowingly shot themselves in the foot and cutoff potential traffic and thus, potential customers.

Using the Wifi card effectively eliminates this issue, however this isn’t a solution for everyone and the performance here in New York is below par. My average download speeds are around 3kbps and there is no 4G coverage where I am located. It also means I have to switch back and forth from Wifi to Corporate throughout the day. That is just plain annoying.

Now I do have to state that Google doesn’t share this same problem. So for the time being I (and at least 24,000 other people) have switched my default search engine to Google. This helps me search the Internet and find what I’m looking for but doesn’t help if the destination site I click on is also integrated with a social site. So far about one in every five sites I’ve hit today gets redirected to an access restricted page.

So to all you webmasters out there, don’t be so hasty to jump on the social bandwagon. You may inadvertently cut yourself off from a portion of your customers.

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