As you may know, the Forefront TMG URL filtering feature is using categorization data provided by Microsoft Reputation Services (MRS).
Improving the quality of categorization data is an ongoing process. In a recent post, we highlighted some of the steps taken in order to improve the coverage and accuracy of the URL database. This included implementing a telemetry mechanism enabling direct feedback from Forefront TMG servers to MRS back-end servers.
Today, the MRS team is adding another dimension to this feedback loop, in the form of the MRS Feedback and Error Reporting portal. The portal’s purpose is to allow anyone the ability to provide feedback to Microsoft on URL classifications. This includes suggesting alternate URL categorizations by simply selecting one-or-more categories that best describe the content of the URL.
The portal also allows users to look up a URL’s current classification. It is important to note here that a URL may be defined by more than one category. As such, users may assign multiple categories to a single URL. This is different from Forefront TMG behavior, which assigns a single category to each URL (in fact, what happens under the hood is that Forefront TMG chooses one of the categories assigned by MRS according to a predefined precedence list). If you wish to see which category is assigned to a URL by Forefront TMG, you can do that directly from the Forefront TMG Management console.
Please note that the portal is in beta, and the MRS team is working on some known issues. The portal will be ready for Forefront TMG’s release to market. . You are welcome to suggest improvements and report portal issues via the link on the bottom-left corner of the portal.
How does the portal integrate with Forefront TMG? What is the end user’s experience?
Starting with the upcoming Forefront TMG release candidate, each time a request is denied by the URL filter, a block page is presented to the end user. The block page includes a link offering the opportunity to report the URL to Microsoft as misclassified. Users clicking the link will be directed to the MRS Feedback and Error Reporting portal. Here’s a snippet of a sample block page:
The portal will automatically display the URL in question and the categories assigned to it. A small, red icon next to the associated category denotes the categorization selected by Forefront TMG for the URL. The end user can suggest an alternate classification via the portal.
Dotan Elharrar, Program Manager – Forefront TMG
Benjamin Arai, Program Manager – Microsoft Reputation Service (MRS)
David Strausberg, Technical Writer – Forefront TMG