Hello GoGuardian Admins! Today we’re going over a power feature of GoGuardian Admin that enables you to block access to thousands of websites that may not even be websites yet! This feature is an oldie, but a goodie - the wildcard!
The Internet is Constantly and Rapidly Growing
To give everyone a good idea of how many new websites are created each day, on December 17th, 2016 about 95,000 new, unique domains under the domain suffix .com were registered [domainpunch.com]. That’s the daily norm, so you can imagine how monumental the task of getting all of those vetted and properly categorized is. The battle is never ending, and while we do our best to try and get all of them categorized, with about 100,000 new domains per day, some of these new domains will take a while to be properly categorized. While GoGuardian does certainly stay on the ball, the battle is never ending, and we appreciate all of the amazing work our admins do in adding url suggestions to our blacklist categories via the whitelist/blacklist page, so keep it up!
If you haven’t already, you can suggest websites to one of our blacklist categories after adding the site to your own blacklist - if the site hasn’t been categorized yet, a menu will appear asking you to help improve the blacklist by adding it to a category. While it may not be immediate, we do look at these suggestions and categorize them pending approval. Thanks!
For more on adding suggestions, check out our help center article here: https://support.goguardian.com/hc/en-us/articles/203719469-Making-Suggestions-to-the-GoGuardian-Blacklist
Your suggestions are amazing, but looking at the bigger picture, we can be more proactive in blacklisting domains with particular keywords in their URLs. This is where wildcards come into play.
Effective Keyword Wildcarding can Protect Users From Thousands of Sites
Over 16000 of our categorized sites contain the word “game.” By adding *game* to your blacklist, you can proactively block over 16000 sites that have been suggested to our GoGuardian Blacklist categories. This will also apply to the potentially millions of other URLs that are created daily that contain the word “game.”
The same goes many other keywords that can be blacklisted - in fact, we have a list of GoGuardian suggested blacklist wildcards!
Wildcarding will also prevent users from accessing search page results as the URLs for these search results contain these terms if they are searched.
Carefully Plan Wildcarded Terms to Avoid Accidental Disruptive Restrictions
Although wildcarding keywords in your blacklists can make life a lot easier, they are a very sharp double-edged sword, and can cause some headaches if not used correctly. One thing to be careful of is blacklisting words that may be part of other, essential URLs that may be necessary for classroom functions. So if you wildcard *room*, for example, classroom.google.com will be blacklisted.
Protip: Never add a single wildcard “*” to your whitelist or blacklist. We all make mistakes, so if you’ve accidentally done this, be sure to contact GoGuardian support immediately!
If you have any questions or problems with wildcarding, feel free to contact support at firstname.lastname@example.org!