It doesn’t make sense to filter websites as blogs, and it hasn’t for at least half a decade.

This entry was posted by Friday, 4 January, 2013

Wow, time flies when you’re busy billing. As we enter 2013 it’s easy to see how neglectful we’ve been of this blog. 2012 was our busiest year yet, and we thank all our wonderful clients for all the great opportunities to help them solve their technical challenges.

One challenge that repeatedly comes up is in regards to permitted web browsing. A few of our clients work under a much larger entity that controls web access through proxy appliances, namely devices by Blue Coat. This isn’t to point them out specifically, as what I’m about to describe seems de rigeur across the web filtering industry niche.

These specific customers are troubled often when trying to research a technical issue. Perhaps they, like many of us, do a google search of the problem. They see in the results something germane to their issue. When they click on the link however, the proxy appliance that is maintained by the controlling organization’s IT team blocks access to the page, because that organization decided they wanted to block anything in the “Blogs/Personal Pages” category. (Click here to see the definitions for these categories used by Blue Coat)

So while researching the issue I noticed that Blue Coat’s own security blog was not classified as a “Blogs/Personal Pages” and pointed this out to them. They agreed that it should be put in this category according to their current definitions. Blue Coat helpfully pointed out that an IT Department could craft rules that would, for example, allow websites marked as “Blogs/Personal Pages” only if they were also categorized as “Computers/Internet.” While useful, the cold hard fact is that often IT teams don’t do this: it’s simply more effort on already overworked IT groups, and such groups are apt to want to keep things as simple as possible.

This sparked a short discussion on whether lumping “Blogs” and “Personal Pages” together made sense in 2013. While this may have made sense in late 90s when LiveJournal and Blogger were very dominant and the blog format was akin to a web diary, this seems to make a lot less sense here in 2013 with nearly every corporate and news/media site sporting some kind of blog, or even multiple blogs. Do we categorize every website as a “Blogs/Personal Pages” simply because they  all have a construct that resembles a blog in format? Isn’t there a world of difference between a personal journal or website (anyone remember geocities?) and a site like, which reports on the proceedings of the United States Supreme Court?

We feel that there is a huge difference, and in today’s age it no longer makes sense to put these all together in the category of “Blogs/Personal Pages.” It’s confusing structure for content. Besides, aren’t personal blogs more likely to be called tumblrs today?

Surprisingly, we received a very speedy reply from a Senior Manager over at Blue Coat and they agree that this is certainly something worth revisiting. They’re in the middle of their annual category review summit, and have decided that this is a topic of worthy discussion. They’ve promised to let us know what happens, and have asked quite a few questions of us as to what our customers are seeing. We’ll be sure to share any response here.

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