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Showing posts from 2010

Recent Problem With The Spam Classification Process #2

Earlier this month, we watched in horror, as thousands of Blogger blogs were classified, en masse, as possible spam hosts.My blog has been missing for more then 2 weeks now. I was hoping that it would be restored automatically after you had some issues with "disabled blogs" a couple of weeks ago. However, the things are unchanged.
Blogger later declared the issue officially closed.This specific issue affected users whose accounts were temporarily suspended due to suspicious login or hijackings. Accounts in this state can be easily restored via SMS or other verification methods, but after verification, a bug on our end prevented the blog from being restored along with the account.

We've corrected the underlying issue though, and have made sure that all blogs who were taken down as a result of suspicious account activity are now back online. If your blog is still inaccessible, then you were not experiencing this specific issue and you should start a new thread to follow-up.

Mail-To-Blogger - December 2010

A few blog owners are reporting problems, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, with posting to their blogs, using Mail-To-Blogger.Several days after sending my post, I get an error text stating that Blogger is not responding.
I personally have tested Mail-To-Blogger using my email client, and there is no problem, in general. From the reports received, the problem appears to be related to use of MMS / SMS from cell phones and smart phones.

We have a rollup discussion, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, where the problem is being explored.

If you are experiencing any problem with posting photos and / or text using email, MMS, or SMS, please provide your details in the rollup discussion. Help Blogger Support focus on the problem.

(Update 1/8): A suggestion from one blog owner suggests that the problem appears to be related to use of an address book entry to address the messages. The workaround, in this case, may involve using the native Settings - "Email & Mob…

Finally, An End To The Boring Fonts Selection

Many blog owners have been asking for a selection of less boring fonts for their blogs.It would be so nice to have more default font styles. I know that you can edit them in your HTML, but that is a tedious template editing process.
Blogger has been listening, and recently, Blogger responded.The Web has traditionally been pretty limited when it comes to font selection, especially for non-Latin alphabets such as Cyrillic and Greek. But great strides have been made in this arena by our friends on the Google Web Fonts team, and finally there are more choices out there than just Arial and Times New Roman.
You'll find an improvement to the typical Font list, in the Template Designer Advanced wizard - accessed using the "Customize" button, on the "Template" dashboard page.

Boring!



Better!



If you like, you can even add wizards to the Template Designer - and improve colors, fonts, and other settings even more.

Know Your Commenters

Many blog owners see commenting as a major community building technique in the life of their blogs. Some blog owners want to know more about their commenters, like their names, where they live, what they do for a living, what they like to do in their spare time, and so forth. They see commenting like a big party, where everybody should introduce themselves.

Unfortunately, Blogger native commenting requires no commenter information, beyond the basic authentication used - when we require authentication. And what authentication that we might require isn't going to provide any definitive identity information.

Blogger commenting provides 4 possible levels of authentication.Anyone - includes Anonymous UsersRegistered Users - includes OpenIDUsers with Google AccountsOnly members of this blog
The top level of authentication - "Only members of this blog" - is applicable to private blogs, where hopefully we knew the blog members in some way, before we invited them to be blog me…

You Cannot Transfer Doman Registration To Blogger

Occasionally, blog owners, confused and weary from uncertainty after trying to get their custom domain working, when not purchased from a suitable registrar, ask for a solution that they are just not going to getHow do I transfer domain hosting to Blogger?This frequently comes even after we have stated, repeatedly, that Blogger does not register domains, and Blogger / Google does not provide DNS services.

What Blogger does is provide a domain setup with eNom or GoDaddy, when the "Buy a domain" wizard is used for the purchase of that domain. Part of the domain setup includes adding standard DNS addresses - the well known 4 x "A" + "CNAME" address configuration.

Blogger Increasingly Supporting Mobile Blogging

For some time now, Blogger has supported use of mobile devices, for posting to our blogs. Picture blogs, containing photos taken with your camera phone, are a popular activity for many bloggers.

Mail-To-Blogger, which used an email client instead of the browser based Post Editor, sent in many different formats and protocols, was the beginning. Now, we have the ability to post directly from our smart phones. You can enable Mobile Posting, for your blog, from Settings - Email & Mobile - Posting Options. Blogger provides detailed instruction, in Blogger Help: How does Blogger Mobile work?.

Recently, Blogger added mobile client support, so your readers can enjoy your blog from their mobile devices.

Now, new templates will include special formats designed to work better with small mobile screens. In Draft Blogger, under Settings - Email & Mobile, we have Mobile Template, where you can now enable use of a new mobile template for your blog. To make you comfortable before enablin…

Replying To Comments, In Blogger

Some blog owners see commenting as a community building tool, as important as Following, or maybe Stats. They see various forums, and other blogging platforms, and wonder why Blogger doesn't provide formatted, quoted, and threaded commenting, like Google Forums, or maybe WordPress. There, to reply you hit a button "Reply", compose your reply, and "Publish".

Blogger doesn't track individual comments. You have to publish a comment for a given post - and there's no threading, to indicate the comment to which you're replying. When you moderate comments, and you see one that deserves a reply, youPublish the comment in question.Find the comment in question, in the "Published" folder.Click on the post title presented with the published comment.Click on "Post a Comment".Post your reply to the comment, as a comment.
This is a complex procedure - though before the new comment moderation system, it was even more complex. If you believe…

Your Domain, And A Cast Of DNS Servers

Not all blog owners, who publish blogs outside the BlogSpot address space, have any feeling for the complexity of the DNS infrastructure.

We see the questions periodically in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.My readers are still reporting seeing the well known problem404 Server not foundorI added the "CNAME" for my domain, and I'm still seeing another old friend (not)Another blog is already hosted at this address.when I try to publish the blog to the domain.
orI added "blog.mydomain.com" to my domain, and published to it with no problem, but some readers are seeing404 Server not foundWhy some - but not all?

Custom Domain Connectivity In India

Various bloggers in India are reporting inability to access blogs published to custom domains.

We have a problem rollup in Blogger Help Forum, where the problem is being explored. You may find it useful to use a proxy server, to get the most useful advice, if you are experiencing this problem.

If you are located in India - or you are getting reports from blog readers in India - and you (or your readers) are experiencing any difficulty accessing any Blogger or Google services, please provide details, in the rollup discussion.Geographic location - City and Country, please, where the problem is being observed.The name of the ISP providing connectivity, to the computers with the problem.Please verify the scope of the outage, using my standard 5 link connectivity test.If you're able to provide details about the outage, you can help Blogger Engineers to focus on the problem - and not on speculations.

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Label Searches Cannot Use Expressions

One of the most useful accessories that you can provide in your blog, to make it visitor friendly, is a search gadget.

A search gadget lets a new visitor, just arrived at your blog from a search engine hit list, find more articles that may interest them. Besides a search gadget, which lets people search your blog on their terms, you may include one or more label searches, which lets people search your blog on your terms.

Since you have written the articles in your blog, you know what information you have in your blog - and letting people search your blog on your terms is more logical. A properly structured label array lets your potential repeat visitors find related articles in your blog. You can see my label array on my Topics page.

Make A Labels Index Page In Your Blog

When it comes to encouraging repeated visits to your blog, by people who are interested in its content, a properly constructed labels array is a very useful feature.

Unfortunately, a blog of any substantial size, and fully using the potential of labels, is going to have a rather large labels array - and this blog is no exception to that rule.

Long ago, I realised that indexing the label searches in this blog was making my sidebar unacceptably long. Repeat visitors to this blog have complained occasionally, because I removed the labels index from the sidebar, to try and speed up the display load time.

This week, I remedied that situation, by making my labels index gadget display as part of a static page, and moved the gadget from the sidebar to the main part of the blog.

Problems With Stats Being Reported By Firefox Users

This week, we've seen a number of reports in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, possibly involving use of Firefox.Hey Blogger, can someone fix the stats?orI keep getting the well known message.An error occurred while fetching stats.It tells me to reload the page. Well, reload after reload, I still get nothing.
As we know from the acknowledgment from Blogger, they are aware of one or more problems within the Stats code base, and they are fixing those problems. Unfortunately, they won't be fixing all of the problems that are being reported - and the problems that they fix, they won't fix immediately.

Some problems with Stats may be related to the browser version. Along with the browser name, this is a useful detail to provide - when you report your problem, in the forum. Firefox was recently updated to V3.6.13. Browser updates cause problems, periodically, for a few blog owners - though not consistently for all blog owners.

Some problems with Stats we contribute to…

Some Blogging Problems Are Best Reported To Police

Occasionally in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, we'll see a panicked queryI'm getting really creepy comments on my blog from someone who claims to know me or my family. How do I ask Blogger to tell me who is posting those comments?Some of these questions are from people who watch too much television.

When somebody publishes an anonymous comment on your blog (if you allow anonymous comments), that person is entitled to his privacy - and Blogger isn't going to casually disclose his identity, to you.

If someone leaves you an anonymous comment on your blog, you are disturbed by the content of the comment, and seriously believe the comment to represent a true threat to you (aka "assault"), this is a matter for your local police department to resolve.

Blog*Spot Connectivity In South Korea

A few bloggers in South Korea are reporting inability to access blogs published to Blog*Spot.

We have a problem rollup in Blogger Help Forum, where the problem is being explored.

If you are located in South Korea, and you are experiencing any difficulty accessing any Blogger or Google services, please provide details, in the rollup discussion.Your geographic location - City and Country, please.Your ISP name.Please verify the scope of your outage, using my standard 5 link connectivity test.If you're able to provide details about your outage, you can help Blogger Engineers to focus on the problem - and not on speculations.

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Comments That We Simply Disagree With Are Not Spam

Occasionally we see observations in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from slightly confused blog owners, about comment moderation.I keep having to mark comments from this one user, over and over, as spam. The filters just don't learn this one user.
The purpose of the spam moderation filters is to identify and to filter spam comments that are posted to hundreds of blogs, simultaneously, by automated processes. Comments from individuals, that we disagree with, are simply comments that we disagree with.

If the filters were designed to designate comments from individuals as spam, you'd start to see less comments in general, from people who feared that their comments could be marked as spam by blog owners who disagreed with them. The filters were designed to prevent blog owners from using the spam designation this way.

The filters take "votes" from hundreds of blog owners, identifying comments posted to hundreds of different blogs. Those comments are designate…

Recent Problem With The Spam Classification Process

Recently, a number of blog owners have found themselves with deleted or locked blogs, and mysterious messages mentioning "Unusual activity on your account". When they try to surf their blogs, they seeThe blog you were looking for was not found. If you are the owner of this blog, please sign in.Upon signing in, they see their dashboard, and no mention of the missing blogs. Possibly they see the adviceYou are not an author on any blogs yet, create one now to start posting!
In other cases, a blog owner may sign in, and see another previously experienced frustrationBlog is not locked

Your blog is not locked and does not need a review. If you are having problems accessing your blog or if you received an email saying that it was locked, please leave a message in the Help Group and we will investigate the issue.
After a brief diagnostic session, Blogger has issued a terse adviceWe've identified a bug this morning which may temporarily delay the spam restoration process. If yo…

Browser Updates, And Blogger

The programmers at Blogger surely feel like Sisyphus - they have a never ending job.

Even if they were to stop updating Blogger with new and improved features, they would still be constantly busy. That's because the hackers and spammers keep busy, which in turn drives the programmers who produce the browsers to keep busy. And browser updates require constant attention from the programmers who produce Blogger.

With each new browser release, Blogger needs to ensure that each Blogger feature and utility works with the new browser. When Blogger don't keep up with the new browser releases, we see the symptomsI just updated to the latest version of Firefox, and now I can't post!andAll of a sudden, I can't update my template, using Internet Explorer. I just switched to Firefox, and I'm fine.These are typical reports occasionally seen in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue. Both of these reports can be related to security settings problems - but there are othe…

Blog Owners Unable To Block Unwanted Followers

We are currently seeing various reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from blog owners who are finding the "Block" button inoperative. The button will change color ("light up") when the cursor is moved over it, but it will do nothing when clicked.

Everyone reporting the problem, reports that using a different browser does nothing to solve the problem. Neither the Block button reached from the dashboard, nor the Followers gadget on the blog, is operational.

We have a Rollup Discussion, where this issue is being explored.

It's possible that many people who are not reporting this problem will suffer from it, even though they do not realise this. If you do not need to Block any Followers right now, it may still be in your advantage to check your button, and verify its operational status.From your Followers list on the dashboard, or from the blog display (when you are signed in to Following), click on any individual Follower.Click on "Block th…

Blogger, Layered Security, And Your Newly Installed / Upgraded Browser

The concept of layered security, as causing various problems with Blogger logins, with commenting, with Stats, and with Template Designer, will make some blog owners so desperate, that they are willing to try mysterious incantations and maybe even sacrificing an elephant, to get any of those applications working on their computers. Some blogger "experts" are so helpful, that they have come with an almost equally mysterious hintInstall the latest version of Firefox (Use Internet Explorer, Chrome, what have you, instead). I did that, and it worked for me!

Access To Custom Domain Published Blogs In Turkey Blocked By Mandate Of Turkish Government

This week, we have multiple reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from blog owners of custom domain published blogs, of inability to access their blogs inside Turkey.I can't enter my blog from Turkey. But my friends who outside Turkey, they can visit my blog. What's the problem?and similar reports are being seen.

This problem is claimed, by some Turkish residents, to be mandated by the Turkish government, and to involve an IP ban of the specific Google custom domain hosting servers.

We now have a rollup discussion, where this issue is being explored.

One Turkish resident in the rollup discussion provides two interesting sources. First, a direct quote from a Turkish journalTurkey’s laws on Internet censorship has been debated may times as an entire website can be banned by the content on a single page.

Many Internet users had tackled the ban of YouTube by changing their DNS numbers or by using software that cracks the inaccessibility, but journalists and freedom…

A Community Account Is Required, For Following

The Blogger / Google community building accessory, Following, has become so popular that recently we are seeing requests about Following by people without Blogger / Google accounts.How do I Follow a blog using my HotMail account? As if any email account can be used, for Following.

Right now, you can Follow a Blogger blog, using any of 6 different account hosts - 5 outside Blogger / Google authentication space.GoogleTwitterYahooAIMNetlogOpenID

Enabling Cookies And Scripts In Your Browser

As Blogger becomes both easier to use, and more full of features, it becomes an application with more code that runs on our computers.

The code on our computers requires both cookies and scripts, installed on our computers as we use the various Blogger utilities. The cookies and scripts are increasingly susceptible to damage, from improperly implemented layered security.

Blogger, Layered Security, And You

One of the biggest problems with Blogger, right now, is how we allow Blogger programs to run, on our computers.

Whether a problem involves Blogger / Google logins, commenting, Stats, Template Designer, or the Dynamic Templates, Blogger writes the code - and we run the code - when we allow the code to run, without interference.

If we want our computers to remain under our control, and not become part of one or more worldwide collection of computers controlled by hackers, we have to be selective about what code we allow to run on our computers.

It's Winter In The USA Again, And It's Time For More Seasonal Blog Decorations

And just as we saw earlier this year, we have more reports of blog hijacks.My blog is getting redirected to some other website.And, as noted last time, we see a possible "falling snow" decoration as the first suspect in the never ending drama of our blogs, under attack.<script src='http://skigeninfotech.com/snowstorm.js' type='text/javascript'></script>
This problem, fortunately, was not too deceptive.My blog is getting redirected to some other website (http://fileinxt.com/?dn=skigeninfotech.com&fp=pqVXxjF5eZbZPUdjA2CrQZZYLeqa1yd9fqFglE50v8v4EC1bOn33UcPSed%2FwDeiJ9Reh2eiwg8SutCcQJKwtDg%3D%3D&prvtof=pvwzxikjk5Y8qIVO5T2y%2FXDEmNhqCs0%2B8Ro0gzCGabvCE6HiL7ziqtwSEZqp3rEKm6Jh9%2FJ1f%2F2wvhisupe6NXdlr3gpOBXWMdVDWrkFKlk%3D&poru=M%2F0o7laCl49QHRW5Qtdx3sFgJ9q8HQrB4cyfP%2Fqb9agYFzJufaOkqO8J%2BtnyVG5HntoKr9AJzMJSk1shzG2Y7oQgw7gogohmR%2Fc7iiJpC6Y%3D&cifr=1&flrdr=yes&nxte=js)A simple string search on "skigeninfotech" yields the…

You May Not Have To Speak The Local Language

Blogger and Google want to make their services available to the entire world - and this involves recognising that the entire world does not speak English.

Not only is the English language not spoken by the majority of the worlds inhabitants, it's not even the second most common. With this detail in mind, Blogger / Google tries to display their pages in the language of the local inhabitants, based on geo location of the Internet connection.

Security Change To BlogSend Leaves BlogSend Email Distribution Broken

This week, a few blog owners who use BlogSend to distribute notices of new posts to various readers noted a change - and not a change that they appreciated. Various reports were noted in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.The email notification about my blogs new post is not in my spam, nor is it "pending approval" in my Google Groups management. It appears that the notifications are just not going out via BlogSend.andI wrote a new post today and then hit publish. I checked my email and it had arrived, but the sender was not my name, it was "blogger.com".
Blogger Support informed us that they recently changed the address that notifications get sent to - from the users' address, to "no-reply@blogger.com". This was changed as a quick fix, for a security vulnerability that they found.

This change will cause two issues of confusion.For blogs which depend upon direct email from BlogSend to your readers, the recipients of BlogSend will see email fro…

Blogger Blogs, And The Hall Of Mirrors

In the now distant past, one popular attraction in a theme park (then, called an "amusement park") would be a fun house, or maze.

My favourite section of a fun house would be the "hall of mirrors" - a maze where all of the walls were mirrors. One person, entering the hall at one end would be seen in dozens of mirrors, all reflecting an image from other mirrors.

You would see one person, and would have fun trying to decide whether that person was right in front of you, or perhaps a few feet away from you, with his / her image reflected off dozens of mirrors.

Access To Custom Domain Published Blogs In Singapore Blocked By Malware Detection

Bloggers in Singapore are reporting inability to access Blogger blogs published to non BlogSpot URLs, and cite apparent (false) malware detectionFor the past week, I can't seem to view my website from my home!

It says-

Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network
Right now, this appears to involve customers of MaxOnline / Starhub, and to only involve access to blogs not published to BlogSpot (custom domain publishing).

If you are in Singapore, and you are experiencing a problem accessing any Google service and see the above quoted error message, can you please provide details.Your IP address. If you do not know your IP address, you may use either of the following:IP-AddressWhat is my IP AddressPlease verify the scope of your outage, using my standard 5 link connectivity test.
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Install HTML / JavaScript Accessories On Your Blog, Using Care And Discretion

Recently, we've had a few reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from unwary blog ownersI can't see my blog! I load it in the browser, and another website loads in its place!orI am getting reports from my readers that my blog contains a virus.or evenBlogger just deleted my blog, and tells me that it contains malware. Help!Some of these are people who have seen a shiny gadget or website, and either added the gadget to their blog, or added a link to their blog - and now, they are regretting that addition.

It's not difficult to add a link to your post or to a linklist gadget, or add a new HTML / JavaScript gadget to the template. Unfortunately, past experience has taught us that what we add to our blogs today may look and work great today - but not so great, next month (or even, next year).

And even if you do add a shiny gadget or link, to your blog - and it does not cause an obvious problem - be aware that some of your readers will filter untrusted content, …

Clearing Browser Cache

I've been helping bloggers maintain their Blogger blogs, and had to remind them of the occasional need to clear browser cache, for many years.

One of the challenges, with clearing browser cache, is that each browser - and different versions of each browser - have different menus and wizards, for every maintenance procedure, and for every different setting.

What we used to call "cache" and "cookies", so long ago, is now called "private data" - and there are multiple selections, varying by browser, for various components of "private data".

It's important to understand why you should not clear cache, indiscriminately - and alternately, why you should clear cache, at the proper time.

Spammers, The New Comment Moderation System, And Forum Activity

The new Blogger commenting system has been in place, in many of our blogs, for almost 3 months. Many bloggers have started to notice a marked decrease in spam, hitting our Published, and Awaiting Moderation, queues.

The spammers, who attempt to abuse our blogs, are seeing the effects of the new filters, also. They will have to increase their spamming activity, to keep a steady level of income. This will require constantly increased levels of spamming activity.

Besides posting more spam to our blogs, spammers will spend time posting in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken and similar forums, and causing confusion there. As spammer activity is increasingly attenuated, we'll see more complaints. Don't expect them to openly complainI can't publish my comments, because they are being filtered!as people will recognise complaints like that, and know who is publishing them. Expect more devious complaintsThe new spam filters don't work! Blogger needs to trash them, an…

Custom Domain Published Blogs With Earthlink As Registrar Are Showing "Not Found"

Today, we see discussions in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken about a problem with blogs published to custom domains, and using Earthlink DNS servers.I have a blog showing "Server Not Found", and never got an answer here, so I called Earthlink tech support. It turns out it's an Earthlink problem with the "CNAME"s.
A straight "A" retrieval Dig shows us simply no DNS addresses.
; <<>> DiG 9.3.2 <<>> @localhost blog.data-miners.com A ; (2 servers found) ;; global options: printcmd ;; Got answer: ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: SERVFAIL, id: 52920 ;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0 ;; QUESTION SECTION: ;blog.data-miners.com. IN A ;; Query time: 584 msec ;; SERVER: 127.0.0.1#53(127.0.0.1) ;; WHEN: Fri Nov 12 02:58:59 2010 ;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 38 If we dig a bit deeper, we find out an interesting detail. ; <<>> DiG 9.3.2 <<>> @localhos…

Clearing Cache, Cookies, And Active Login Sessions

I've been advising people about clearing cache and cookies, for a long time.

Recently, I realised that terminology is changing - and some browsers refer to "cache" and "cookies" generically as "private data". Some browsers also refer to a third type of "private data", as "active logins" or "authenticated sessions".

It's important to understand why you should not clear cache, cookies, and sessions, indiscriminately - and alternately, why you should clear cache, cookies, and sessions, at the proper time.

Clearing Private Data Can Cause Various Problems With Blogger

I've been advising people with various problems with accessing and maintaining Blogger blogs, that involve cache and cookies, for a while.

Recently, I explored the ongoing problem with Blogger Stats and the "Don't track my pageviews" setting. Besides the known (and widely argued) problem with blocked third party cookies, I discovered a similar problem, with cookies being cleared when the browser is closed.

Besides Stats, it appears that the Blogger login process, and authenticated commenting, are also sensitive to blocked cookies / scripts - and to inappropriately cleared content.

If regular clearing "cache and cookies", which is now generally known as "private data", is part of your browser optimisation or security strategy, you may wish to examine your policies carefully. If you have a problem with cookie filtering, clearing cookies won't make your problem go away.

If you want to avoid problems with Commenting, Login, and Stats, you need…

Neither "Anonymous" Nor "Name / URL" Provide Comment Authentication

From time to time in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, we see the naive query / suggestionHow do I disable "anonymous" comments, yet permit people to comment using "Name / URL"?This question is common among blog owners who think that people who comment, providing a blog / website URL, are somehow authenticating themselves.

Buying A Domain For Your Blog Starts With A Working Major Credit Card

An occasional sad story, from people trying to purchase a non BlogSpot URL for their blogs, results from lack of preparation before using "Buy a domain".I had my domain all chosen, but when I entered my credit card number, the card was declined. I straightened out the credit card problem with my bank - but now, I getWe found an existing order for this domain.Help me!
Generally, when this happens, we have the blogger clear cache, cookies, and authenticated sessions, and restart the browser. But this uncertainty is unnecessary, if you have a working credit card ready for use, before you start the purchase process. Paying for your new domain is a major part of the purchase process, so plan and prepare.

Ongoing Problems With Stats

The Blogger Stats accessory, which complements established third party products like SiteMeter and StatCounter, has been offered as a Blogger option since 2010.

We see periodic complaints about it's accuracy and functionality.My numbers don't add up!andI can't get it to ignore my visits to my blog!andWhen I check my stats in the late afternoon, I show a number of page views for "today". If I check my stats in the evening (just a few minutes later, maybe), the stats for "today" show zero and the numbers, just seen for "today", now show for "yesterday".
There are multiple discussions in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, which open with one of the above topics, and which contain "answers" describing another of these concerns.

Stats And Session Cookies

The discussion about Stats, and the non persistent setting for "Don't track your own pageviews", has been a topic of discussion for some time now. I publicised the problem of people who filter third party cookies, stating that this is the primary cause of the non persistent Stats setting. Some people, hearing my advice, were able to benefit from it, and responded positively.

But not everybody who understood my advice found it to help them. Many people stated explicitly, that allowing third party cookies did not make their Stats setting for "Don't track your own pageviews" to be persistent. I recently realised that there is yet another level of detail, resulting from one more security strategy, affecting this persistence issue.

Some blog owners, mindful of the dangers of third party cookies, have resorted to compromise. They allow third party cookies, but set cookies to expire when the browser is closed, a setting called "Session Cookies". A…

Sudden and Total Loss Of Followed Blogs

Occasionally in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, we see the panic.OMG, all of the blogs - hundreds of them - that I was Following just disappeared!Sometimes, this points to a major problem with Following - and combining a low background noise level in the forum, and understanding of epidemiological trends in the forums, we may unearth a new problem. Frequently, though, this does not point to any catastrophe at all.

Blog*Spot Connectivity In Nepal

A few bloggers in Nepal are reporting inability to access Blog*Spot blogs.

We have a problem rollup in Blogger Help Forum, where the problem is being explored.

If you are affected by this outage, please confirm your location, the name of your ISP, and the scope of the outage. If you're able to provide details about your outage, you can help Blogger Engineers to focus on the problem - and not on speculations.

The New "Next Blog" Link Is Lame Because (Insert Complaint Here)

The new Next Blog link has been out for almost a full year, and we still see daily complaints.When I press "Next Blog", I get only religious blogs (My name is Jude).orWhen I use "Next Blog", I only get blogs in Spanish (I only speak English).or"Next Blog" is boring now - it only gives me "crafts" blogs by American housewives (I hate crafts blogs).These are all complaints by people who want to randomly surf blogs, but don't care for truly random results.

If you can't accept random surfing results, try less random surfing techniques.Blogger Profile surfing.Following surfing.Google Blog Search (Advanced Mode) surfing.Focus your activity just slightly, and see if you don't get better results.

If you start your "Next Blog" surfing from your blog, and don't like the results, put more content into your blog. The more focused your blog content is, the more obvious your abilities and interests will be to "Next Blog" t…

Aliasing Of Non Root Custom Domain URLs Ended

Since the beginning of the Google Custom Domain option, the ability to publish a blog to "www.mydomain.com", and optionally have Blogger associate "mydomain.com" with "www.mydomain.com", has been an assumed feature in custom domain publishing.

Similarly, the ability to publish to "blog.mydomain.com", and optionally have "www.blog.mydomain.com" as an association, was an assumed, if slightly less popular option.

Conditionally Displaying Template Objects

Some time ago, I wrote how to make a static home page, where the key element was an HTML gadget, tweaked to display only with the home page of the blog.

That's a useful tweak - and it's a tweak that can be used in various other conditional displays also.

If you know a little template XML code, you can construct alternate conditional statements, and have template objects display in any of several other specific conditions.

Logging In To Blogger With Your Google Account

Recently, we're seeing various problem reports, in BHF: How Do I?, from confused bloggers unable to login to Blogger using a non GMail email account.
I created a Blogger account with a non GMail email address, and can no longer access it without a GMail account! How do I login now?as if using a non GMail email address as a Blogger account name is no longer an option.

Please Blogger, Restore My Deleted Post! - Part 2

In December of last year, Blogger announced their ability to restore individual posts, when erroneously deleted by the owner, or abused by AutoSave.

Last week, Blogger informed us that this service can no longer be offered.


"This action cannot be undone". That's your last chance, now.



If your post is cached - either as newsfeed or search engine content - you may be able to un delete it. If you have a private blog, this won't be possible.

Now, it's still more to your advantage to disable AutoSave.

Death, spam, taxes, and Blogger service changes.

Blogger Accounts, And Non GMail Email Addresses Based Upon Google Apps

One of the saddest problem reports, seen in BHF: Something Is Broken, starts withHelp me! My email address changed last month, and now I can't sign in to my blog!Those of us who help blog owners, regularly, with this problem report know to read the fine print.
Help Me! I never bothered to remember my password - I used the Forgot Password wizard to reset my password every time I wanted to sign in to my Blogger account. My email address changed last month, I can't get the email from the Forgot Password wizard, and now I can't sign in to my blog!

Comments Published Using The Name/URL Option Are Anonymous Comments

Blogger allows for several levels of authentication - including no authentication - to allow blog owners to select what degree of anonymity they are willing to permit, in the comments published to their blogs. In Settings - Comments - "Who Can Comment?", we have several selectable authentication levels.Anyone - includes Anonymous UsersRegistered Users - includes OpenIDUsers with Google AccountsOnly members of this blogPeople posting comments, without providing any authentication (when allowed) are considered Anonymous commenters.

To provide convenience, and encourage some amount of sharing, Blogger provides a selection in the "Comments as:" list, to let anonymous commenters provide a link to any one of their blogs. The "Name/URL" selection lets anonymous commenters setup a temporary profile ("Edit profile") for the comment being published, without coding HTML.

Some bloggers think that the "Name/URL" selection provides some degree of …

Blogger Limits: Picture Storage - Part 2

Several years ago, we explored the base limits of Picasa storage. The referential Blogger Help: What are the limits on my Blogger account? tells usNumber of Pictures: Up to 1 GB of total storage, shared with Picasa WebthenSize of Pictures: If you are posting pictures through Blogger Mobile there is a limit of 250K per picture.
Even then, we were told of a known problem with Picasa when additional storage is paid for, with a clumsy workaround being recommended.Users who have paid for additional storage space on Picasa Web Albums may not be able to use their additional storage space from within Blogger.
This month, in BHF: Something Is Broken, we are additionally advisedSometimes after you add additional storage, it doesn't immediately take effect for Blogger. One way to ensure that you're able to use your new space is to log in and out of your Picasa Web Albums account after you add more storage.
You can use the Google "Basic storage usage" monitor, to monitor storag…

Your Custom Domain, And Your Google Apps Account

Spam - unwanted advertising - is everywhere, and we can't get away from it.

Whether we read an advertising funded paper based tabloid (some time ago, called a "newspaper"), watch an advertising funded electronically broadcast audio / video entertainment service (some time ago, called "television"), or even pay bills using an advertising funded public bill delivery service (some time ago, called "postal mail" delivery), we are rudely subjected to endless onslaughts of unwanted and annoying advertisements.

Accepting Membership In Somebody's Blog

When somebody invites you to be a member of a blog
To read a private blog.To become an author.To become an administrator, or maybe the new owner of the blog. You get a token in your email, attached to a membership invitation. When you exercise the token, by clicking on the link in the email, you connect the blog with your Blogger account. What you do, when you exercise the token, affects both your immediate and future access to the blog in question - and you need to understand the details.

Blogger Accounts, And Non GMail Email Addresses

It's as easy to setup a Blogger account based on a non GMail email account, as it is to setup a Blogger account based on a GMail / Google account.

We see the confusion, from time to time.I have to reset my password, each time I login to Blogger!This blog owner may not completely understand the relationship of his (non Google) email account to his Blogger account - and the difference between that account, and a Blogger / GMail / Google account.

If you setup a Blogger account that's based upon a GMail email address, you have to prove ownership of the GMail address. The GMail address is also a Google account - and you prove ownership of a Blogger / GMail / Google account, by providing the correct password for the account.

A Blogger / Google account, that's based on a non GMail email address, is different from a Blogger / GMail / Google account - when the account is not based on a Google Apps provided email domain.

Be Careful When Republishing Blog Contents

One of the features of blogs, which a lot of blog owners seem to take for granted, is the maintaining of the posts and structure of the blog.

With a static website, you design the URL structure, and you publish the pages in the website to the URLs as you wish. If you link the various pages to each other, this requires that you keep a glossary, of the URL of each page.

The larger your website gets, the more painful a task this becomes. Make a mistake with one URL, and you have a broken link. Search engines don't like broken links - so if you want your website to be featured in search result pages, you want to minimize broken links.

Improving The Designer Template GUI Advanced Menu

One of the kewler features of the Blogger templates is the GUI wizards that let you change settings, like fonts and colors for the various text elements in the template.

Of course Blogger programmers have one idea what settings are useful - and we may have other ideas.

When the Layout templates were provided in 2007, it didn't take too long to discover the fonts and colors possibilities there, and then to discover the limitations. So I found how we could enhance the GUI Fonts And Colors menus. And this evening, I decided to see how a Designer template could be enhanced, similarly.

Use Affinity Testing To Identify Problems

When you go to the doctor to report a health problem, you'll likely tell her (him)Doctor, I have a pain.and he (she) will likely ask youWhere does it hurt?If you tell herMy stomach hurts.he will probably askWhen does it hurt?andHow long has it been hurting?None of these are formalities or mere protocol, they are systematic problem identification procedures.

If you write in BHF: Something Is Broken and reportMy readers can't access my blog.or maybeI can't access Blogger!you'll likely get similar questions.

Use Of A Missing Files Host For FTP Migration

For a blog with any history, one of the most cherished features of your blog might be your search engine reputation - the ability of prospective readers to find your blog. Whenever people change blog URLs, that's one of the most anxiously asked questions in BHF: How Do I?. People preparing to move their blog from externally hosted (FTP based) publishing ask this question, too.

To satisfy your personal needs for your individual blogs, Blogger offers you three choices when migrating, from externally hosted publishing to Google hosted publishing.To Blog*Spot.To a Google custom domain URL, different from the current domain.To a Google custom domain URL, the same domain host as the current domain.

Which Queue Is Your Comment In?

The new Blogger commenting system has been out for several weeks now, and as some blog owners are becoming accustomed to it, it appears that others are occasionally confused. We see recent reports in BHF: Something Is BrokenI am moderating comments, yet I find some comments being published without my input. andI deleted the comments, and now I can't get them back! andAll of the comments to my blog are going straight to Spam. These reports may be from folks who are not observing what queue they are looking at, or what the buttons do, in the Comments wizard.

The Comments wizard has been moved from a small link in the Post Editor display, to a dashboard page. We now have "Edit Posts", "Comments", "Settings", "Design", "Monetize", and "Stats" - in that order, for the dashboard pages.

Under the Comments page, we have 3 tabs - "Published", "Awaiting Moderation", and "Spam". Each tab has its own uni…

A Post Editor For Virginia USA

Recently, we have been reading comments from a few blog owners, who do not appreciate the latest version of the Post Editor, Some blog owners are so unhappy that they want Blogger to retain the old Post Editor, so they can avoid the changes indefinitely.

At first glance, this may seem like a reasonable idea - why not keep the old version indefinitely, to accommodate those who cannot move forward?. Unfortunately, that strategy is not really practical. As Blogger releases new features to Blogger, having two versions of Post Editor will require some features that have to be developed in two aliases, each alias being compatible with a different version of post editor.

Eventually, the next new version of post editor will be developed. Maintaining two old versions of post editor, or abruptly discontinuing the oldest version, would be an immediate necessity then. Neither strategy will really serve the folks who, right now, see the need to keep using the old version.

The answer here, fol…

FTP Publishing Is Over

Occasionally, it appears as if not all blog owners have gotten the message, just yet. For the record, here's my statement.


FTP Publishing ended, in March 2010.


If you have a blog that is hosted externally, that you used to publish using FTP Publishing, your only option is to migrate to BlogSpot, or to Custom Domain Publishing.

If you're interested in the search engine reputation, which is the product of most well maintained blogs with any history, you'll want to carefully consider the several options for migration.

If you own a domain, and you have DNS control, then you can publish any Blogger blog to a non Blogger / Google URL, using custom domain publishing.

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Testing For A Problem With Cookies Filtering On Your Computer

Blogger has recently provided several optional blog features which are requested in Blogger hosted scripts, and exercised in BlogSpot or non Google hosted scripts - and has caused problems seen by people who who are trying to protect their computers.

Blogger options like Stats "Don't track your own pageviews", and the Inline Comment form, both of which run as scripts in "blogspot.com" or a non Google domain (depending upon how the blog is published), are going to depend upon cookies which transport the option setting from the Blogger Settings script (hosted in "blogger.com") to the blog script (hosted in "blogspot.com" or wherever).

The confusion starts with the cookie / script filters present on many computers - but it may not end there. Recent discussions in BHF: Something Is Broken make it appear that there may be problems with the Blogger hosted scripts in general. These problems may not be entirely solved by adjusting cookie / script…

Embedding A Video In Your Post

One fun and sometimes practical accessory to add to your blog is a video. When added properly, you get a picture, that your readers can click on, and watch a movie, right in front of their eyes. This is called "streaming video", where the video content is downloaded from the distant server while you watch.

Here's a demonstration video that I have used in another post.


This is one example of why I prefer to live in California.



»www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCoxOReXlHI


<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/YCoxOReXlHI?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/YCoxOReXlHI?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" …

Spam Classification Isn't Going To Be 100% Fair

Every week, we see the complaints from blog owners, whose blogs have been unfairly accused of hosting hacking, porn, or spam content.This is so unfair! My blog was just getting started, and now it's been deleted!orHow can my blog be spam? This other blog is worse!These are just a couple examples of how capricious fuzzy spam classification can be.

Blogger Magic - Recovering A Deleted Draft Post

Occasionally we see the anguish.I was just about finished with a long post, and just before I Published my post, I managed to clear the content. And just after I cleared the content, Auto Save went and saved the empty post. All of my work, gone in a second. Now what?And the "what", unfortunately, is "nothing".

If you compose a long post, and depend upon Auto Save and Draft copies - and you lose the Draft content, or delete the post - you're out of luck.

You can recover a deleted Published post, under specific conditions. You cannot recover a Draft or Imported post, under any conditions.

Sorry, there is no magic here. This is another reason why I do not use Auto Save.

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Stats And Third Party Cookies

The controversy about "third party cookies" in general, and about Google Stats and their use of "third party cookies" in particular, never ends. Some Bloggers do not yet understand the issue.I do not allow third party cookies. I do not believe that third party cookies should be involved, at all. Blogger needs a simple setting in Stats that say "Do not track my visits."And here is another case where people look at a forest, and ignore the trees.

Blogger created a simple setting saying "Do not track my visits.". Since the vast majority of your readers have Internet service that provides a dynamic IP address, the setting is stored on your computer, so your computer can be identified. The setting, stored on your computer, has 2 advantages.Even with your computers IP address constantly changing, your computer will be consistently identified as your computer.Since you, reading your blog, contribute but a small amount of traffic against your blog,…

Comment Moderation Is A Team Effort

High class universities, such as Eton, Harvard, and Yale, have a unique and intriguing sport that's enjoyed by both participants and spectators - team rowing.

The participants work together, and propel their oar driven boats through the water at astounding speeds, by synchronising their oar movements.

In team rowing, the team manager, or coxswain, is an essential participant. The coxswain does no rowing, but still contributes to the success of the team, by keeping the rowing synchronised. Without synchronisation, a team is useless. Team members not rowing - or worse, rowing out of step - slow the boat.

The new comment moderation system is designed around the principles of team rowing.