Friday, October 31, 2014

Interstitial Warnings And Cookie Filters

Along with problems with comments and unwanted CAPTCHA forms, we're seeing some reports about problems with persistent and unwanted interstitial displays, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.

The interstitial display, and its use of cookies, is similar to the new mandatory anonymous comments CAPTCHA form. If your identity can't be determined, or your decision to view a blog can't be remembered, an interstitial warning is displayed - just as the CAPTCHA form is displayed, when your readers are preparing to comment.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Custom Domain Migration, And Google+ Comments

With both custom domain publishing, and Google+ hosted comments, becoming more popular, it is inevitable that the two subjects would interact.

One key difference between Blogger hosted comments, and Google+ hosted comments, is how they associate with the host blog. Blogger hosted comments link to the blog - but Google+ hosted comments (aka Google+ stream posts) link to the URL.

Any time you change the URL of your blog, you will lose Google+ hosted comments - from your blog. The Google+ stream posts, however, are still out there - and they still link back to your blog.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Blogger Magic - Hiding The Blog Pager And Blog Feed Subscription Lines

One of the neatest magic tricks is to make something disappear, with just a flick of the wrist (whether or not holding a "magic" wand).

We see occasional requests to make template components disappear. Many times, we end up recommending editing the blog template. Sometimes, unwanted components are part of the post template - and we have to explain why editing the post template is not a good idea.

Some template components, when properly identified, can be made to disappear with the proper CSS rule. CSS rules can be added, using the Template Designer - and do not require editing the template.

Even better news, CSS rules added using "Add CSS" are persistent. Even changing the blog template - or resetting the post template - does not erase CSS rules, added using the Template Designer.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The New Commenting CAPTCHA Is Inconsistent

The new CAPTCHA, added by Blogger last week to restrict spam in anonymous comments, is already showing signs of unwanted effect, with some blogs.

Besides making the commenting sequence more complicated, the sequence, in general, is inconsistent. Differences in the sequence, when compared between the three commenting form placement options (embedded, popup, and full page), varied by the original CAPTCHA screening option, and the moderation option, have been noted. And how many readers, commenting on their favourite blog, will think of hitting "Publish" with "Google account" selected, to login and avoid the CAPTCHA?

The CAPTCHA form itself will discourage comments, being made by the casual blog reader, against many blogs. And the CAPTCHA, as added to all three comment forms, now makes cookie filtering issues equally critical, for the embedded, popup, and full page forms, alike.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Deleted Blog Cases Can Involve Multiple Causes

Sometimes, blogs which are under legal action by Blogger / Google can be under action, simultaneously, for multiple, valid reasons.

Occasionally, we get angry complaints, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
I got a DMCA Complaint email from Google. My blog was deleted, my dashboard is empty, I got no email from Blogger - and ChillingEffects has no complaint detail. How do I get my blog restored?
Since we don't review DMCA cases in Blogger Help - and with no dashboard or email records of a non DMCA deletion, the blog owner is left with no options.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Blogger Blog Needs Informative, Interesting, And Unique Content, to Survive

Too many blog owners have been listening to spammers, who tell them lies, and encourage dodgy publishing practice.
You can make lots of money - just start a blog, scrape content from other blogs and websites, and add ads!
This is wrong, for many reasons.

Blogger gives us the basic definition of what is not allowed, in Blogger Help: Spam, phishing, or malware on Blogger.
Spam blogs cause various problems, beyond simply wasting a few seconds of your time when you happen to come across one. They can clog up search engines, making it difficult to find real content on the subjects that interest you. They may scrape content from other sites on the web, using other people's writing to make it look as though they have useful information of their own. And if an automated system is creating spam posts at an extremely high rate, it can impact the speed and quality of the service for other, legitimate users.
I summarise this definition, by advising you to publish blogs that are informative, interesting, and unique.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CAPTCHA Screening Added, For Anonymous Commenters, Is Not Optional

We're seeing reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, about a new way Blogger is blocking comment spam.
I didn't enable CAPTCHAs, for commenting on my blog! Why are my readers having to solve one, before commenting?
It appears that Blogger has added a new CAPTCHA form, to the commenting process.

In Blogger Help: The word-verification option, we see the notation.
Note: Even if you don't have word verification turned on, anonymous commenters might be asked to enter some text. This helps protect your blog from abuse.
It appears that "might be asked" is the key detail, here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Daily Post Limit Is Not Likely To Be Raised

We see signs of optimism, occasionally, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
How do I convince Blogger to let me publish more than 50 posts / day, in my blog?
Blogger Support has repeatedly declined to make any change to the daily post limit.

"50 posts / day" is a soft limit. You are actually allowed to publish any volume of posts, that suits you. If you exceed the daily limit, which is thought to be near 50 posts / day, you will simply have to solve a CAPTCHA, for each post over the daily limit.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Don't Publish To A Custom Domain, Purely Because Of Unavailability Of The Perfect BlogSpot Name

Setting up a new blog can be frustrating - for those who have planned the subject of the blog so carefully, that only one blog name will satisfy.

We see the frustration, almost daily, in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger.
How do I contact the owner of "mydreamname.blogspot.com"?
or
The blog at "mydreamname.blogspot.com" isn't in use. Can Blogger issue it to me?
Neither of those questions will end well, for the would be owner who can think only of publishing to "mydreamname.blogspot.com".

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dynamic Templates Require A Full Blog Posts NewsFeed

We see periodic signs of confusion, about publishing a blog to a dynamic template, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
My blog seems to load - but it just sits there, spinning gears!
or
The dashboard Template wizard tells me that dynamic templates are not available, for my blog!!
These are two blog owners who are not aware of the requirements of the dynamic templates.

Most people know that private blogs cannot be published to a dynamic template - but not everybody realises that this is not an arbitrary or capricious restriction.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

R.I.P., SiteMeter

I've always been an advocate of redundancy, with essential components and features.

One essential feature of a website is the ability to remain aware of where your readers come from, and what they are reading, on your blog. Besides Blogger Stats, I've advocated both SiteMeter and StatCounter, in a complementary role to each other.

A while ago, SiteMeter decided to add video advertisements to their blog / website agent, that tracks the clicks.