Thursday, December 04, 2008

Why Isn't Blogger Solving "Another blog or Google Site is already using this address."?

Along with the similar cry, "Why Isn't Google Solving The Server Not Found Error 404 Issue?", this is a concern of many blog owners.

Many blog owners only want to publish to their newly setup non-BlogSpot URL, and have their readers able to access their blogs. Like the answer to the latter question, the answer to this question is simple.
Google is solving "the problem". One problem, at a time.

The error message "Another blog or Google Site is already using this address." (and similar phrasings, such as "Key already exists for domain ...") is a symptom of many different problems. Solution of the symptom may involve several differently possible scenarios.

The original and literal meaning
of "Another blog or Google Site is already using this address." is very simple.
There is already a Blogger blog, published to that non-BlogSpot URL.
and the literal solution is simple.
Pick another non-BlogSpot URL, with properly configured DNS, to publish the blog to.
or possibly
Un publish the blog currently published to this non-BlogSpot URL, then you can republish this blog to this non-BlogSpot URL.

The above scenario results from a problem which the blog / domain owner has to fix. There are alternate possibilities, which are caused by Google code.

Another problem, which the blog / domain owner has to fix, results from Google's attempt to identify and avoid the original, and primary, cause of the also frequently seen primary symptom
Server Not Found Error 404
which was historically caused by misconfigured, or non-existent, DNS addressing. Google now verifies that the domain DNS resolves to a Google server, and occasionally ought to display
We can't let you publish your blog to this non-BlogSpot URL, because external DNS (which Google doesn't control) doesn't point to the Google server.
instead of
Another blog or Google Site is already using this address.

Sometimes, this problem is caused by bad decisions by the blog / domain owners when setting up their DNS addresses, other times when choosing a DNS host. Sometimes, the problem is caused by Blogger, who has been replacing the Google Apps DNS server infrastructure.

The most common problem which is seen today is one which Blogger Support has to fix, one blog at a time. The Google blog database is huge (millions of blogs), and the code to maintain and update those blogs is complex. Broken / corrupt database pointers can have many origins. These are simply examples.Apparently, when a custom domain process encounters blog database content that it can't process ("corrupt data"), such as unexpected artifacts from a previous blog, or odd URL constructs, it gives up and won't continue.

Sometimes when giving up, this corrupts the database even worse - possibly resulting in problems that can't be repaired using currently popular procedures, republishing the blog, or even by removing domain mappings, using Google Apps - after the original problem cause is corrected.

Now, we need to see
We can't let you publish your blog to this non-BlogSpot URL, because the Google database isn't tidy.
Instead, we get (yet again!!)
Another blog or Google Site is already using this address.

All that we can do is triage each problem, one at a time, using Dig logs, and using HTTP traces, and advise the responsible parties. Rarely, we provide online advice
Hey blog owner! You can't publish there! You're already published to that URL!
and more frequently
Hey blog owner! Fix your DNS configuration!
Too often, it's
Hey Blogger Engineers! Here's another case where the blogger can't use his purchased, and properly configured, domain!

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