Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Blogs Published To A Custom Domain Are Showing A Redirect Alert, To Readers Using The BlogSpot URL

When you setup a Custom Domain, the setup wizard provides encouraging advice
We won't leave your readers behind!
http://myblog.blogspot.com will redirect to your custom domain.


Blogger accomplishes this bit of trickery, using standard Internet protocol - a 301 Redirect, which equates "mydomain.com" to "myblog.blogspot.com". The redirect is setup only after you setup a "CNAME" referral, pointing "mydomain.com" to "ghs.google.com". This means that anybody viewing "myblog.blogspot.com" gets "mydomain.com", published to a Google server and indexed through "ghs.google.com". And anyone viewing "mydomain.com", intentionally, gets it directly from the Google server, as indexed through "ghs.google.com".

Recently, however, hackers and spammers have started to setup their blog "myspammyblog.blogspot.com", publish that to a custom domain, then redirect the custom domain not to "ghs.google.com", but to "DNS.myhackingcampaign.com". The reader viewing "myspammyblog.blogspot.com", now gets "myhackingwebsite.com", indexed by "DNS.myhackingcampaign.com".

Blogger is looking for cases of this deviousness. Unfortunately, right now, they are looking too casually, and are seeing false positives. Legitimate blogs, that are genuinely published to a Google Custom Domain, are showing an alarming notice.


This isn't good for your readers.



This isn't good for your readers either.


Who wants to be warned that they will shortly be viewing an untrusted blog?
This blog is not hosted by Blogger and has not been checked for spam, viruses and other forms of malware.
Visions of hacking abound in the minds of the readers seeing this.

If you have an established custom domain, it's likely that everybody looking at your blog is using the custom domain URL, in my above example "martinezumc.org", and nobody sees this alert in any great number. If you just setup your custom domain, though, and are now seeing this, you're probably suffering two problems.
  1. Your readers are a bit confused, if they use "myblog.blogspot.com".
  2. The search engine spiders aren't going to index your blog, as either "myblog.blogspot.com", or as "mydomain.com".
In other words, you're out of luck.

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11 comments:

Kathy said...

This is unfortunate. I'm one of the legitimate redirects. I don't suppose there's a way to contact Google to have them re-examine my blog and see that I'm not a hacker/spammer?

Writerly Whimsy said...

That's really a shame. My redirect is legit through google too, but the same thing is happening to me.

Chuck said...

Be patient, guys. I just got a status of "escalated", this afternoon.

I'd like to think that they were aware of the problem earlier, but maybe not...

Amit said...

i have the above problem with my blog http://toolnext.blogspot.com/ to http://toolnext.com

what do i do?
i had started a thread
http://groups.google.com/group/blogger-help-publishing/browse_thread/thread/dd1d1ce4d74ef483

after that it was okey. but from few days it stated again to rediret problem.

Chuck said...

Amit,

We'll only be able to fix your problem once the overall problem is fixed.

If your problem continues, after Blogger fixes the problem described here, then we'll work on your problem. Be patient, you'll gain nothing from restating the issue.

Toby Rogers said...

I've got the same problem. Thanks for shinning a light on it. Blogger really needs to fix this ASAP or I'm gonna have to move to a different platform. I see your message of "escalated status" from 11/3/08 -- but it just started showing up on my system about a week ago.

Fur Diva Mommas said...

Why are they out of luck? Can't they at least drop using the custom name and go back to the blogspot until there is a fix? We saw that page and have not yet changed to our custom name. We did not like it so we quickly switched back to the mydomain.blogspot.com.

Fur Diva Mommas said...

Amit....we went to both of your urls and didn't see the redirect. Does that mean you don't have the problem anymore?

Chuck said...

Mommas,

People are out of luck because most bloggers, when they sign on to the idea of having a shiny feature like a non-BlogSpot URL for their blog, really don't want to go back to BlogSpot, even temporarily. Some bloggers have even given out the custom URL to friends, before experiencing the problem.

Playing ping pong with the URL won't help with search engine relationships, either. You need a consistent presence, to build up a reputation on the Internet.

John Rodriguez said...

Hi Chuck,

Thanks for your help, both here and in the Blogger Help Group.

I moved a client's blog to a sub-folder on their site last week (FTP publishing), and their blog visitors immediately dropped 95%. I'm sure a big part of it is the IE "The page cannot be displayed" error.

Obviously, with spammers and hackers abusing the redirects, this will be a difficult problem for Google to tackle.

Do you know if they are doing any kind of manual verification on these redirects?

(Not that that may be worth anything, because people can just do another redirect once verified.)

I'd reported the issue to Google last week, but no response -- I didn't even get a "We've received your msg" auto-reply. Do you think it would be worth it to submit another report?

Thanks,
John

Bombchell said...

This is very annoying, I regret starting my blog with blogger, because they constantly have such issues