Sunday, June 03, 2012

Country Code Aliases Have Real Purpose

Some blog owners are a bit confused about why Google developed the Country Code based "" aliases - and what effects the aliases have.

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.

Similar to the earlier confusion about our email addresses displayed in the navbar, a few blog owners, publishing "" (for instance) see their blog displayed as "" (when they live in the UK), and think that the whole world now knows that this blog, "", is published by someone in the UK.

Not everybody, living in the UK, and seeing the blog as "", may realise that people in France see it as "", people in Italy see it as "", and so on. This is a problem, because some blog owners prefer to keep their country of residence a secret, from their readers.

Not too long ago, many Blogger blog owners - not just those publishing blogs to "" - knew about problems caused by the legendary Great Firewall Of China.

The Chinese government, fearful of their citizens 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 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. Various other countries have had similar experiences.

The possibility of an offended government gives Google unpleasant choices.
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 government, anywhere in the world.
  • 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, anywhere in the world.
Given the possibility that virtually any Blogger blog has the potential to offend somebody, somewhere in the world, this occasionally left Google between a rock and another rock.

The government officials may not have an easy life, either.
The various governments face another dilemma - again, with 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.

And blog owners have even less choice.
Too many blog owners face a similar conundrum - yet again, with just 2 alternatives.
  • Make your blog as inoffensive as possible, to every country in the world.
  • Allow that your blog may become one more victim, from some displeased government loud enough to threaten Google with service blockage.

By using country code alias redirection, everybody has a third choice.
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 more countries.
  • The various governments can have specific blogs blocked, in their countries. The Blogger service can remain accessible, in their country.
This is truly a Win - Win - Win (Blog owners - Blogger / Google - Governments of the world) scenario.

Government officials can get a properly produced, single blog court order.
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 some governmental bureaucrats, tired of having to get yet one more court order, when they want to go home for the day, will start to feel like Sisyphus - and will realise how silly all of it is. Yes, we can dream.

There are still challenges, to be dealt with.
Yet, there are challenges, with this strategy.Google is not yet finished, in developing and publicising this feature. The Blogger Help FAQ Why Has The URL Of My Blog Changed? isn't going to become redundant, any time soon.
Confusion Over Reason For Country Code Aliases
Country Code Aliases Have Real Purpose

Dude, hit me with a comment!

Oops-Lah said...

That is all nice and good, but what about my Follower Gadget that suddenly doesn't work anymore since apparently the "Friend Connect Settings - Home URL" don't matches the URL of this site" anymore. What do I do about that?

Chuck Croll said...


Every new Blogger or Google feature has potential to cause pain to individuals - and we are sorry that you have thus been singled out. The problems with the Follower gadget have been reported.

Cristina said...

What about the page rank?
Since this modification, any page rank checker shows that my blog (with .com) has PR 3, but for .ro there is no PR.

I asked the people that have my blog in their blogroll to change my link from .com to .ro (and one of my questions is why some of them cannot edit the link? That is, after they edit it, the gadget still puts it as .com)

My other question is: Will this affect my page rank on both .com and .ro?

Chuck Croll said...


You check Page Rank against the .com alias only.