Similar to the earlier confusion about our email addresses displayed in the navbar, a few blog owners, publishing "mybloggerblog.blogspot.com" (for instance) see their blog displayed as "mybloggerblog.blogspot.co.uk" (when they live in the UK), and think that the whole world now knows that this blog, "mybloggerblog.blogspot.com", is published by someone in the UK.
Not everybody, living in the UK, and seeing the blog as "mybloggerblog.blogspot.co.uk", may realise that people in France see it as "mybloggerblog.blogspot.fr", people in Italy see it as "mybloggerblog.blogspot.it", and so on. This is a problem, because some blog owners prefer to keep their country of residence a secret, from their readers.
Of the people who know about the worldwide distribution of the Country Code aliases, not everybody understands their actual purpose. And, not everybody sees aliasing, even when they live in countries outside the USA.
Not too long ago, many Blogger blog owners - not just those publishing to "blogspot.com" - knew of the legendary Great Firewall Of China.
The Chinese government, fearful of their citizenry being able to read the various blogs and web sites all over the Internet, had decided that Blogger blogs were particularly "dangerous" to the Chinese way of life - and had forced all Chinese ISPs to block all Blogger blogs from being accessed, by any Chinese Internet customer.
In 2010, the Turkish TV Network DigiTurk, angry at one Blogger blog owner and his illegal distribution of DigiTurk owned content in his blogs, convinced the Turkish government to issue a court order blocking all Blogger blogs from being accessed in Turkey. From time to time, the Thai government, displeased by some Blogger blogs, has had Blogger blocked in Thailand. Other countries have had similar experiences.
Before the existence of Country Code aliases, Google has, effectively, had only 2 alternatives, when faced by a displeased government.
- Remove one or more offensive blogs, by deleting them. Any blog owner faced worldwide loss of his blog, if he offended any one government.
- Face having their service blocked, for all Blogger blogs, in a country with an offended government. All Blogger blog owners faced having their blogs unavailable, to their readers in any country with an offended government.
The various governments faced another dilemma - again, just 2 alternatives.
- Observe the demands of a small but economically vocal minority, such as DigiTurk, and ignore the wishes of their citizenry in general.
- Ignore major content providers, such as DigiTurk - and face possible retaliatory service interruptions by them.
By developing Country Code aliases, Google now has a third possibility. Any offended government can simply produce a properly issued court order, and require the removal of any specific blog - in their country only. Blogger can block one specific blog, in one specific offended country, by flagging the specific alias of that blog, in the BlogSpot database.
- The owner of an offending blog sees the blog blocked in one specific country only, and accessible everywhere else in the world. No more complete blog deletions, for cultural or political offenses.
- Blogger can block specific blogs, in specific countries. The Blogger service can remain accessible, in all countries.
- The various governments can have specific blogs blocked, in their countries. The Blogger service can remain accessible, in their country.
If the governments of the world are given this alternative, they will become used to getting court orders identifying specific offensive blogs, and to dealing with Blogger / Google on a single blog basis. This will be easier on the various politicians, who (right now) have to justify to their "customers" (the citizens) why they are blocking such a popular service. Yes, almost surely every politician, even the ones in "dictatorships", have to respond to angry citizens (maybe, their kids or wives?), occasionally.
Maybe even some politicians, growing weary of repeatedly getting yet one more court order ("Why am I doing this? The game starts this evening - I'm going home now!"), will start to feel like Sisyphus, and will realise how silly all of it is. Yes, we can dream.
Yet, there are challenges, with this strategy.
- Blogger blog owners need to know when to ignore the aliases - and how silly it is to add useless code to their blogs, in attempting to bypass the aliases.
- Search engines need to know how to observe the aliases.
- Services such as FaceBook need to know how to observe the aliases.