Friday, November 30, 2012

The Internet Has Created Various Opportunities For Conflict

Most physical threats used to require physical proximity, to be seriously considered by the authorities.

Before the Internet became a reality, if you were to report a crime which involved a physical threat to you or some one whom you knew, chances are that you would be reporting a friend or relative - or at least a neighbour or somebody geographically close to you.

Now that the Internet is part of our daily lives, many Blogger blog owners, readers, and comment publishers - all of who use the Internet for various networking activities - have no idea of the possible international challenges involved in their activities. With the Internet involved, these dangers can come from somebody in another city, state, or country, who is a complete stranger to the potential victim.

The Missing / Invisible Pages Index Gadget

Occasionally, a blog owner wants to add the Pages Index gadget to the blog, but just can't.
I go to add it - and I see "Already Added" - but where is it?

The first thing to check, when this happens, is the "Show pages as" option in the dashboard Pages display. Sometimes, you'll find "Don't show" selected. Other times, you'll find "Top tabs" - but the template may lack the code which houses the "Top tabs" gadget. This will be a problem for older templates, installed before the Pages index gadget was offered - as well as some third party templates.

Try selecting "Side links" (or change from "Side links", to "Top tabs", and back to "Side links") - and see if the gadget shows up, in the sidebar. Each time you change the setting, hit "Save arrangement".

After each change, view the blog, to verify success. Remember to clear cache, and restart the browser, each time you view the blog.

Once you get the gadget to show up in the sidebar - and if it matters - change the option to "Top tabs", and see if it shows up there. If not, you'll have several options.
>> Top

Thursday, November 29, 2012

After You Publish Your Blog To A Custom Domain, Should You Update Internal Links?

One interesting question, which comes up from time to time in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, is about Custom Domain Publishing - and what to do, after Transition completes.
Now that my blog is successfully transitioned to the domain URL, should I update the internal blog links, in the post contents?


This is a question that deserves some thought. From an aesthetic sense, it makes sense to do this - hoping that you will be paying for the domain, for eternity. But, is it worth the effort?

Your Blog Address Is Unique - Though Many Other Identities Are Not

Occasionally, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, we see signs of people who don't understand the concept of unique Blogger identities - or contrarily, Blogger identities which won't be unique.
I can't publish my blog to the name that I want.
or
Another blog is using the same name as mine!
or
Someone is impersonating me!!


Some of these complaints are reasonable - and could keep a team of judges and lawyers very busy, for a while, when properly reported. Other complaints come from people who don't quite understand what identities in our Blogger blogs are uniquely our property - and what identities are not uniquely ours.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blogger Magic - Verifying A Blog Feed URL

It's a fairly simple matter to determine the newsfeed URL, for any given blog, by examining the blog template code.

Besides the base feed, a blog may publish an extensive array of additional feeds, which won't be listed directly in the blog template code. You may use any given feed, in networking your blog, with any Google or non Google service.

Starting with any feed URL, what do I do? I could just open my favourite feed reader, or social networking web site, and paste the URL in place. But what if the feed reader or web site wasn't working properly, or I misunderstood the instructions? What if I see
Invalid URL
or the like, what do I do?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

To Republish A Custom Domain, You Do Have To Add A Second "CNAME"

One of the challenges of using Blogger involves following the instructions.

Blogger / Google personnel provide Help instructions which are not always updated - sometimes they simply write a new Help instructions document, leaving the old Help instructions in place.

The policy of leaving old Help instructions in place - and sometimes conflicting with new displays and procedures - occasionally causes confusion. One scenario where this causes a problem is in publishing or re publishing a blog to a custom domain.
I've seen instructions that when you buy a domain from Blogger / Google, using "Buy a domain", you won't need to create a CNAME record.

One of the advantages of using "Buy a domain" is the ease of setup. If you use "Buy a domain", you don't have to bother with any of the details. This is generally - but not always - true.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Redirecting The Traffic From Your Blogger Blog

Some Blogger blog owners are confused about their ability to redirect traffic to, or from, their blogs. Sometimes this leads to problems, as in the need to report a problem with spam classification, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken
Why was my blog just deleted, for "Malicious JavaScript"?

Other people will want to know why, after renaming their blog, all the search engine references now point to a dead URL. Still others may want to rename specific posts, and yet have the post URLs match the new titles.

Blog URLs, and Post URLs, are complex details, for Blogger blogs. By default, both are managed for you. Not everybody understands how to manage blog and post URLs, when necessary.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Use A Well Protected Browser, To Block Redirecting From Misbehaving Code And Gadgets

Regularly, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, we advise people about problem code or gadgets in their blogs.

Generally, this follows reports by blog owners, that their readers are being redirected to unexpected and unwanted blogs and websites, from their blogs. Sometimes, we get the reply
I can't remove the code. Every time I login to Blogger, I am redirected, just as my readers are being treated!

When we see the latter complaint, we recognise yet one more blog owner who does not know how to properly protect himself, from malicious code and websites. Most people, who know about Layered Security, know that proper browser security is an essential complement to a properly chosen and maintained anti malware filter.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Add A Simple "Recent Comments" / "Recent Posts" Gadget To Your Blog

The recently observed problems with some third party gadgets, previously added by many blog owners to their blogs, leaves these (and other) owners lacking a useful feature in their blogs. For many blog owners, fortunately, this is not an impossible problem to resolve.

Blogger provides us with a native accessory, called a "Blog Feed" gadget, which will provide acceptable "Recent Comments" and "Recent Posts" functionality, for many blog owners.

Look at the sidebar of this blog, for "The Real Blogger Status - Comments", and "The Real Blogger Status - Posts". Those are "Recent Comments" and "Recent Posts" gadgets, based on the Blogger supplied "Feed" gadget - which is not a third party accessory, and is not subject to future third party peccadilloes.

Improved Spam Review / Undelete Option In Blogger

One of the more positive changes in the "New GUI" involves an improved ability to find, and correct, deleted and locked blogs.

Finding deleted / locked blogs, under earlier versions of Blogger, was always a challenge - both for the person looking for the necessary display - and for the people trying to instruct how to find the necessary dashboard display.

In the current Blogger dashboard, one simply logs in and looks for the "Deleted Blogs" button - right beneath "New Blog", when the blog owner has any self deleted blogs, or any blogs deleted or locked by the Blogger abusive blogs classifier. Clicking on "Deleted Blogs", we see a list of blogs - with either an "Un delete" button (for self deleted blogs), or a "Restore" button (for spam classifier locked / deleted blogs).

Monday, November 19, 2012

Using The Google Apps Domain Root Redirect Setting

Recently, Google Apps added a setting to the domain administrator desktop GUI, which controls the redirect of the domain root (aka "naked domain"). We initially observed this setting, as an option in working around the problem of setting the domain root redirect, in the Blogger Publishing "Advanced Settings" wizard. It's also possible that this setting should be used in recycling the domain settings, when faced with the "dreaded "Another blog ..." error.

Use of the Google Apps Domain Redirect setting is not complicated. It starts with setup of the domain administrator account. For any newly purchased domain - as well as for domains purchased directly from a registrar, it's a fairly simple matter to setup a Google Apps domain administrator account - then to set (or reset) the redirect.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blog Owners Seeing "Error 14" Or Similar Symptom, When Attempting To Publish To A Custom Domain URL

We're seeing a small but steady flood of reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from blog owners attempting to publish their blogs using a custom domain URL.
I am not able to redirect my blog from blogspot to my own domain! Blogger is giving me the error
We have not been able to verify your authority to this domain. Error 14.

This specific problem has been observed numerous times in the past, ever since Blogger added the domain ownership verification process to the custom domain publishing feature. Problem reports require careful diagnosis, involving examination of the basic DNS addresses setup with the registrar, to verify the "Error 14" as the primary problem.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Free Domain Registration Service "co.cc" Appears To Be Down

Some Blogger blog owners, trying to save a few dollars while publishing their blogs to a non BlogSpot URL, have used the free service "co.cc" for registering their domains.

As "co.cc" increased its base of "customers", their reputation for providing free registration grew - and they became popular with scammers and spammers.

Last year, Google, weary of the overall poor search engine reputation of co.cc customers, de indexed all websites registered by co.cc. This week, co.cc apparently stopped serving DNS information for its "customer domains".

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blog Owners Report Mysterious Blogs Added To Their Dashboard Blog List

We are seeing a small but steadily increasing stream of problem reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from Blogger blog owners, wondering where these mysterious blogs, being added to their dashboard "My blogs" list, are coming from.
Is anyone else experiencing random blogs being added to their dashboard? I login, and I notice that many blogs have been made - and they're all with names that are just a jumble of letters and numbers, but no posts. All of them lead to the same blog though.


Here's a random list of the names of 7 such blogs, which were recently created in the "blogspot.com" name space. If you wish to examine these blogs, and these have not yet been deleted by the Blogger anti spam processes, I strongly advise that you use a proxy server, or similar isolation technique. Never examine any hacking / spam attack component, unprotected.
yyxfkfgpiy
x24xd2wtu1
4o4fq0rqp9
26djmc3xyh
m9s5tdor2l
h62wo5uthr
bsojvu43gk

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Blogger Comments Being Posted Using An Anonymous Blogger Email Address

Some Blogger blog owners use their Blogger blogs as the center of their peer to peer networking life.

Many blog readers are expected to post comments - and to leave their email addresses, as part of their message or profile, to allow direct contact. Long ago, I used the email address of my commenters, as part of an easy "Contact Me" form, on this blog.

Recently, we've been noting that Blogger comments don't always include a useful email addresses - many comments simply describe the commenter as
noreply-comment@blogger.com
Not all blog owners - and readers - appreciate this change.
When I leave a comment using my google profile, it isn't linking my profile with my email address. How do I get my email address properly displayed?
and
Why do so many comments, published to my blog, show the email address of "noreply-comment@blogger.com"? How do I email my readers?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Blogger Won't Censor Comments, Or Accept Abusive Comment Reports

We have seen this question, periodically, in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?
When will Blogger provide me with the option to block an abusive commenter, from my blog?
This is a request that simply cannot be fulfilled.

The issue of blocking individual commenters won't be solved by a new Blogger feature.
  • It's technically impossible.
  • It's contrary to Blogger policy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Observe DNS Address Entry Conventions, When Setting Up Your Custom Domain

One of the more frustrating steps involved in setting up a custom domain comes with entry of the DNS addresses, into the domain host or registrar's Domain Manager wizard.

Whether you are setting up a new domain, just purchased directly from a registrar - or re publishing an existing domain, purchased using "Buy a domain" - the addition of the proper DNS addresses is essential to successful custom domain publishing.

Sometimes, you just can't get the domain manager wizard to accept what you are provided by "settings instructions". Other times, you enter the proper values, your Zone Update is accepted by the domain manager wizard - and the Blogger Publishing wizard rejects your attempts.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Blogger blogs redirecting to "scrapur . com"

This week, we've seen several reports in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from Blogger blog owners, reporting the latest hijacking of their blogs.
My blog is being redirected to a spam site - was it hijacked?


As is all too frequently the case, the redirection appears to come from third party code or gadgets, willingly installed by the blog owner. Examination of the website in question appears to indicate a long expired domain.
This domain name expired on Nov 7 2012 11:32:24:000AM
It's possible that, right now, this is not a maliciously planned hijack - though any expired domain can be re purchased for a devious or malicious purpose.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

You Cannot Have The BlogSpot URL With Your Business Name, If That URL Is In Use

We see the naive queries by small business owners, in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, about setting up a blog with their business name, too frequently.
The BlogSpot URL for my business is in use. Can Blogger have it re issued to me?
and
I own "xxxxxxx.com", can Blogger give me "xxxxxxx.blogspot.com" so I can publish my Blogger blog to match?
These are all people who do not understand the reality of the Blogger policy
First come, first served.


If somebody already owns the Blogger blog with your desired URL, it's their blog - and it's their blog until they tire of owning it.

Accessing The Registrar's Domain Manager, After Using "Buy a domain"

Setting up a custom domain, and publishing a blog to a non BlogSpot URL, is a simple enough task - when we are able to use the "Buy a domain for your blog" wizard. Sometimes, after using "Buy a domain ...", we may still have to access the registrar's Domain Manager wizard.

When we use "Buy a domain", along with setting up the domain for us, the Blogger / Google wizard sets up a new eNom or GoDaddy domain owner account. To let us later login to eNom or GoDaddy, the "Buy a domain" wizard saves the login information, for our new account - in a Google Apps desktop wizard.

Here is yet one more reason why we absolutely must setup the provided Google Apps account, after receiving the Google Apps email. Be aware of the oddities of the Google One Login wizard, and Google Apps, when logging in.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Use Third Party DNS Servers, For Domains Registered By 1And1, And Similar Registrars

Not all registrars are able to support the new Blogger domain ownership verification requirement.

Some registrars won't allow a second "CNAME" in the same subdomain - and others can't handle the excessively long target address. Ever since Blogger added domain ownership verification, we've been seeing complaints from some blog owners, who have purchased domains directly from registrars who can't provide the required DNS addresses on their servers.

Even though not all registrars have DNS servers that will provide the right DNS address entries, most registrars will allow us to use third party DNS servers. The use of publicly available DNS servers, which can provide the required DNS addresses, will eliminate the need to transfer domain registration - when the registrar is unable to provide the right DNS addresses, using their own servers.