Cleaning up the hacking, porn, and spam is not an easy task - there's nothing on any one blog that says
This blog is used for hacking, for porn distribution, and / or for spam distribution.
Detection of such illegal blogs, like detection of malware in general, has to be done by heuristic analysis and signature comparison. Unfortunately, detection of illegal blogs, like detection of malware, using both methods, are subject to two major problems
- False Negative Detection - Many illegal blogs are not detected, because the authors of such blogs are very skilled at making their blogs like normal blogs.
- False Positive Detection - Many legitimate blogs are falsely detected, again because the authors of the illegal blogs are very skilled at making their blogs look like normal blogs.
As Blogger tries harder to reduce the population of illegal blogs, and based upon the massive size and deviousness of that population, more legitimate blogs are going to be falsely flagged as illegal.
In the past, false positive detection was handled on a one by one basis, and generally with a casual explanation.
Now, with more false positives anticipated, bloggers must be better informed about Blogger policy. Accordingly, Blogger is providing resources to keep the blogging population better informed, when their blogs are removed - whether falsely or genuinely - based upon blogging behaviour detection, or content analysis. Blogger has three referential documents.
None of these will address each situation, but taken together, they are a good start. Only by knowing the limits, can we identify the legitimate bloggers, and avoid helping the illegitimate ones.
Depending upon how your blog was detected, it might have been locked (visible to authors only, or visible to everyone but not updatable), or removed (visible to no one). In odd cases, you (the blog owner) may be able to update the blog, but you'll have to solve a CAPTCHA each time you publish.
In some cases, you'll get an email from Blogger, containing a link to click on, to get the blog reviewed - but email cannot be guaranteed, for all blogs. You'll be asked to authenticate yourself, and verify your need to have the blog unlocked - by logging in (again) and / or by solving (another) CAPTCHA. If the link contains "blogger.com", it's the genuine article - it's not a phishing attempt. Follow the link, and do what you're asked to do.
In a variation of the latter scenario, you may see a CAPTCHA when you try to publish a post. If there's a question mark accompanying the CAPTCHA, you'll be able to request review of the blog. If there's no question mark, or "request review" link, you're being targeted for excessive posting. This CAPTCHA should go away on the following day, and if you post less that day, won't return.
Blog Locked For Suspected TOS Violation
When your blog is locked, there is a Dashboard link, leading to a form which is used to request review and unlocking. You won't be able to do anything with it but request unlocking. That's to keep the spammers from cleaning their splog before it's reviewed, to avoid absolute detection. It evens out the 3 Card Monte playing field just a bit.
Blog Removed For TOS Violation
I can't find my blog on the Web, where is it?, offers a number of helpful references, similar to what I provide in Help! My Blog Is Gone!
When the blog has been removed, you won't have anything on the dashboard. Your only recourse is to review the Help Database articles referenced in the links.
Blog Locked For TOS Violation
In a variation of the above, you may see the notice
This blog is in violation of Blogger's Terms of Service and is open to authors only.
If you are an author of this blog, tell us who you are! Sign in using your Google Account.
As a last resort, Blogger now offers a Final Appeal Spreadsheet, where you can also submit your URL for review. Blogger states that only blogs which actually have been locked / removed, and which have already been submitted for review, will be accepted in the appeal spreadsheet.
we do filter to make sure that users have already submitted a request and use that info
When your blog is locked, or removed, you'll have a bit of work to do, and it starts with following the instructions. In a perfect world, none of this would be necessary. Here, it is necessary, and the only useful solution to the problem starts with the blog administrator reading the offered advice, requesting blog review, and subsequently requesting appeal. No amount of posting in the online forums
Free my blog - it is not spam!will help, in the slightest. When Blogger employees have to read the forums, they are wasting time that could be better spent reviewing and unlocking another blog.
This is currently a 3 step process, and each step should be executed in order. If you skip a step, you'll be told to go back and do it.
- The first step has 3 possibilities, per the above 3 pictures.
- Blog Locked For Suspected TOS Violation. Here, you won't be able to do anything, while you wait for Blogger to act.
- Blog Removed For TOS Violation. Here, you review the linked Help articles. Click on the link.
- Blog Locked For TOS Violation. Here, you sign in, if necessary. Click on the link.
- Submit an entry to the Appeal Spreadsheet. You shouldn't expect a reply from the review request, so do this as soon as you can after you submit the review request. You simply have to submit the review request (if possible) first.
- Post a report in BHF: Something Is Broken. Provide the URL of the blog, be brief, and be polite. Brevity and politeness count, in BHF. I state that from experience.
(Update 2011/04): This month, Blogger updated their spam review / appeal process, significantly, to make life slightly simpler, for publishers of non spam hosting Blogger blogs.