I tried to create Burmese info website for COVID-19 and I failed

I tried to create COVID-19 information website in Myanmar (Burmese)  language. The reason is the Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS) website provides most of the info in PDF in the poorly categorized download list and the site is using CMS.

So covid19-my.info is a relevant domain name and I chose it. (my is 2 letter standard code for Myanmar language).

I used Emergency Website Kit to develop the website.

I have some Q&A of WHO translated and converted as a static web page. I chose Google Firebase Hosting – it has 1 GB storage, CDN, https for a free tier and I deployed the site on it.

For the domain, domain registrars had been preventing people from registering the domain with COVID19 keyword in it and it took me 1 hour to successfully registered the domain with NameCheap. I had to contact the support person and convinced them that the site is not phishing.

Then I set up the custom domain with Firebase. All went well and the site is up within another 3 hours. Next morning, when I had done some more translation of WHO Q&A on COVID-19, I deployed again and checked the site with Chrome. Instead of the site, there was the red page of Chrome (Safari is working fine). I reported it as a false alarm and it went away.

Later, our country’s committee (to prevent, contain and fight against COVID-19) announced bank information to which people can donate. I thought it is good to have it online and so I did add to the website. (This could lead Google to believe the site is phishing)

In the evening, I gathered hospital contact numbers from MOHS and DoMS site, cleaned, and created a separate page in the site. The updated site was deployed again and everything was okay.

Today, I got a mail from Google Cloud Platform stating that the website was regarded as phishing and as a result, was banned. It also stated that I can appeal.

The site was created to provide information and the site source was freely available at Github. There are no reasons to not appeal. When I tried, this is what I found. (Search console showed no security issues.)

This is frustrating. Currently, I reported it as “feedback for the Google Cloud Platform”. Unless the ban is lifted, I spent 1.5 days of work just to be viewed by me.

The result – I failed.

Lesson learnt – contribute to existing efforts.


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