Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Do You Really Want To Delete Your Blog?

If you create a blog, and work on it, eventually it will rise in value.

Given enough work, and reader interest, it may even get a Google Page Rank of some decent value.

Let's say you manage to make something of your blog, then tire of it. The normal thing would be to delete it. Delete it - it's gone - move on to something new.

Simple, right? At one time, you could have just deleted your blog, using the dashboard Settings - Other - "Delete blog" wizard, in "Blog Tools", without thinking.


Your Blog, and the Spammers
But spammers became involved.

Long ago, spammers used automated scripts, to check for well known blogs being deleted, then they would publish their blog to the just freed up URL. Any well known blog has weight - it's known by the search engines. Any spammer, publishing a splog to the URL just vacated, can get a quick turn around - instant $$$ right there for the picking.

Blogger Support became tired of angry problem reports from folks telling them that their just deleted blogs had become splogs, and they fixed it so "deleting" a blog will only remove it from your dashboard.

The URL remains allocated, in their database. You may, or may not, be able to access it again. The blog contents may, or may not, remain online, so the sploggers can't publish to it. The contents will remain in the search engines for some time.

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Your Blog, and the Search Engines
The various search engines each take feeds from the other search engines. If your blog is indexed in Google this month, next week it will be indexed elsewhere. Removing the blog from the caches all over the Internet won't be a simple task.

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Deleting A Single Post
If you have a single post that's not relevant, again it will be purged faster if you simply delete its contents. Leave the URL alone, and the post will be updated with the new contents. In other words, make the one post into a stub.

Deleting a single post is actually a more critical issue. If you delete your blog immediately, rather than making it into a stub, you can possibly restore it. If you delete a post, it's possible that you can recover that same post with the identical URL - but recovering won't be all that easy. Once deleted, a used URL is never reproduceable. A bad post, with the original URL, will be in the search engines until it expires from cache, and you won't be able to fix that.

If you want the contents of a post to disappear immediately, you have to make it into a stub. You only get one chance here - make the right decision.

Your Blog, and the Stub
The search engine will update its cache, with the stub blog, or the single stub post, sooner than it will acknowledge that the blog or post has been deleted. Once the cache contains the stub, the search weight disappears (no content, no weight). The URL is then worthless to the sploggers.

This is a scorched earth policy - its nasty, but effective. Leave nothing behind for the enemy.

If you truly want to remove your hard work, replace it with a stub, and wait a couple months, until the stub has been indexed. Then delete the stub. Do it properly - don't simply Delete Your Blog.

And unfortunately, if you've already Deleted Your Blog, then you're going to have to restore it to your dashboard (hoping that's possible). Then you have to delete it, per the above advice.

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Recycle The URL
It appears right now that, to proactively prevent deleted URLs from being harvested by sploggers, Blogger has simply fixed the deletion process so a deleted URL can't be reused, by anybody other than the original owner.

If you want to reuse the URL yourself, or if you want others to be able to reuse the URL, you'll have to recover the URL, then redistribute it.
  • Recover the URL (but not the blog contents).
  • If you want others (unselectively) to be able to use that URL, republish the stub to a different address, which frees up the URL that you just recovered.
  • If you want one specific person (selectively) to have use of that URL, transfer it properly.
  • If you want to reuse the blog, get to work recreating the contents.
  • Maybe Blogger Support will recover the contents for you, if you ask for help properly.


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Your Classic Blogger Blog
If your blog started out under Classic Blogger, and you just migrated, if you delete your blog you may see the New Blogger version of the blog deleted (within the limits cited above), but the Old Blogger alias won't delete. If that happens, you'll have to contact Blogger Support, report the problem, and be patient.

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Did You Delete The Blog By Mistake?
If you just deleted your blog, without planning, and want it back, you can possibly restore it. After you get the blog restored, you can delete the blog more carefully, using this guide.

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Did You Delete The Blog To Transfer It?
You can't transfer a blog URL from one account to another, by deleting it, then re creating it. You have to now restore the URL to the original owner account. Then transfer the blog properly, by making the second account a blog member, then an administrator.

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Did You Delete The Account That Owned The Blog?
When you delete a Blogger account, any blogs that are owned, solely, by that account are deleted too. To get the URL so it can be transferred to another blogger, you first have to restore the account. Then, having logged in to Blogger using the newly restored account, you have to recycle the URL.

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8 comments:

Suskind said...

how long between the time you delete a blog and its deletion on the net? does it remain in cached form for a matter of days/hours?

Chuck said...

What's the latency for many search engines? Weeks at least. Not all web pages are indexed by any given spider on every sweep of the net.

Do a few searches, against obscure or sparse topics. See how many search hits come up against some pretty old caches.

Rachel said...

What if you don't delete a blog, but merely change the blog name and URL? I did--I had no intention of losing all of my blog's archived content--and have found the old URL has already been hijacked by spammers. What can I do now, if anything?

Chuck said...

Rachel,

Now it's a matter for Blogger Support to resolve. Changing the URL is almost the same as deleting it. You lost the search weight, the splogger gained the search weight, and the search engines don't care.
Contact Blogger.

Sandra said...

Hello, I would like to follow your advice regarding deleting my blog with stud posts (so that content will eventually be gone int he web). 1)I was wondering if all the pictures in each post will eventually be gone as the web clears the cache (are images re-cached the same way as words in a blog, or would the images still be floating out there since they have their own URL?) 2) should I leave the tags on each post so they will be crawled and re-cached? 3) What should I do with the titles of each post? Leave them or change them? Thank you for your help. This has been more helpful than anything in Blogger Help.

Chuck said...

Sandra,

Those are very interesting questions. I think they deserve to be asked in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, so we can discuss the issues in detail.

Jasveen said...

Hello, I've noticed two deleted blogs of people I know that have had their URLs re-used to create splogs. Reading your post, is it fair to conclude that there is nothing my friends can do to reclaim their URLs which, unfortunately, happen to be their names?

And is it then easier to just NOT delete an inactive blog?

Thanks.

Chuck Croll said...

Jasveen,

Your friends can have the blogs reported as TOS Violations, which may eliminate the spam. They are unlikely to reclaim the URLs, however.