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Showing posts from January, 2013

Blogger Blogs And Commenting Permissions

Not all Blogger blog owners know that the ability to comment is a privilege which they control.

Like the ability to publish and read posts, it is also a responsibility which they need to control, carefully.

Any blog owner who wishes to publish a blog, and not be subject to frequent deletion of the blog, as a suspected malware or spam host, needs to understand the responsibilities, and the risks.

Be Aware When You Install Third Party Code

We've been seeing a few problem reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from blog owners who are not aware of the risks from installing third party code, on their blog.

Some blog owners are not even aware that the code being installed is not supplied by Blogger - and is not subject to the same coding standards as code supplied by Blogger.

Third party accessories and code - from simple JavaScript that installs in the blog template, to attractive XML gadgets installed using the "Add a Gadget" wizard - has always been a challenge, to Blogger blogs.

Knowing when you are installing code provided by someone other than Blogger / Google, and taking appropriate precautions, is your responsibility. What you install can affect your reader activity - and even your reader's computers.

If You Cannot Prove Ownership Of Your Blogger Account, Your Next Step May Involve Court Action

We've explored the issues of Blogger account and blog recovery policy, repeatedly.

We've mentioned the business concerns, the personal support issues, the strategic hacking possibilities, and even the personal implications of prevention.

With all of the warnings, we continue to see evidence of blog owners who just don't understand the message, posting in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.I started a blog under an alias, to be able to post anonymously, and can't remember the login details or the e-mail recovery. How can I regain access to my blog?

Country Code Aliases Cannot Be Bypassed

Occasionally we see the innocent query in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, about the recently introduced Blogger feature - country code aliasing.Is there any way I can opt out from this constantly changing of the .com termination, into .be, .bg, or .ro, depending on where I travel?
Not many Blogger blog owners realise the benefits of country code aliasing, which is, like auto pagination, a feature which is not optional. There are publicly available workarounds, which may bypass the effects of country code aliasing - and which may cause more trouble than simple URL confusion.

Blogger Magic - Republishing A Custom Domain

Sometimes, when you have a Blogger blog, published to a non BlogSpot URL, you may need to repeat the publishing process.

Maybe, you want to change the BlogSpot or domain URL, or change the blog - or maybe the previous publishing did not complete, properly. If the blog is currently published to a non BlogSpot URL, you can't just publish it, again. You have to start by publishing the blog back to a BlogSpot URL, before you can again publish the blog to a non BlogSpot URL.

Given the right planning, and understanding of the tasks involved, you can do all of this in 5 minutes - less time than it will probably take you to read these instructions.

Custom Domain Publishing, And Spam Classification

We see the naive question sometimes, in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, about avoiding spam classification by publishing to a non BlogSpot URL.Can I keep my blog from being deleted, by publishing to a non BlogSpot URL?This is a complex question, because custom domain publishing provides several possibilities. But will the possibilities provide an opportunity for avoiding spam classification?

Blogger Magic - Redirecting A URL In Your Blog

In 2012, Blogger gave us a suite of useful utilities to control how the search engines see our blogs.

This feature suite includes the ability to redirect one URL in our blog to another URL in our blog. The "Custom Redirects" feature is easy to use - but like many Blogger features, not immediately so.

Neither its possibilities, nor its limitations, are obvious to everybody.

Removing The "/p/" From the URL

Ever since Blogger (finally) gave us the option to add static pages to our blogs, blog owners started askingHow do I make my pages URLs cleaner? The "/p/" in the URL is so messy looking.Our typical response would be simple.Sorry, you're stuck with the URL, as is, for a static page.And, that was that.

Later, Blogger gave us the ability to redirect URLs within the blog - and that changed.

Blogger Cannot Provide Advance Warning Of Deletion

One of the more intriguing tales, in the never ending saga of malware and spam interdiction, would have to be the confusion about the proper procedure for deleting or locking blogs, when suspected of hosting malware or spam. We periodically see, as part of a "Please unlock my blog!" request in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, the naive suggestion.It would be better if Blogger Support had immediately alerted me of this problem, before deleting my blog!The irony here is that, from a purely "customer service" viewpoint, I have to concur with the principle here.

It would be better, if Blogger Support could do this. Like many "it would be better" observations, this is probably never going to happen.

Third Party Gadgets And Recent Malware Detected Blogs

Earlier this week, we noted an increased level of activity in reports about blogs locked as suspected spam hosts, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken. Upon review of the increased volume of spam referrals, with the majority of the cases found to be spurious, Blogger Support provided advice, about a new reason for deleted blogs.Yesterday, our malware detection system began receiving reports of malicious content on some blogs. While the blog content on many of these blog may be malware-free, 3rd party widgets on these blogs may contain malware.
When a blog is locked for hosting malicious third party gadgets, the blog will be present in the dashboard "Deleted blogs" list - and should be unlocked, on the spot, using the "Restore" option in the list.

Recovery From Locked Blogger / Google Accounts

Not all blog owners understand the reasons behind the locked Blogger / Google accounts.

Even less understand why recovery of locked accounts, and of the blogs owned by the locked accounts, is not immediate. We see the occasional report, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.I had to change the password on my account - and now my blogs are deleted! Why should I wait another "24 to 48 hours" to get my blogs back?This blog owner does not understand the possible reasons for the locked account - and the work that goes on after the account is unlocked.

Brute force hacking of our Blogger / Google accounts, by hackers / spammers, who have use of the various botnets in the Internet, is a constant activity. Opposing activity, by the Security teams in Blogger / Google, to not let hackers and spammers take control of our accounts and blogs, is just as constant.

Some of the Security activity requires our patience - and blog owners, having to recover their deleted blogs, are no…

Everybody Won't Get Proper Notice About Their Blog

One problem that we're seeing in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken involves blog owners, who recently discovered their blogs deleted or locked, by Blogger - and without any notice received.

In other cases, people waiting for blog membership invitations - either as readers of a private blog, or members in a team blog - may wait, in vain.

Account actions may be required with a blog deleted for a suspected TOS Violation, such as hosting malware, porn, or spam - or locked because of "suspicious activity" on the Blogger account.Why was my blog deleted? I never got proper notice!Too many people depend upon email notification - and may not receive proper notification, in all cases.

Benefits Of The New Dashboard Based Spam Review Request Option

The improved spam review option has been available, on our dashboards, for slightly less than 2 months. For all it's usefulness, it appears that some blog owners see the new option as just another bit of red tape, which prevents them from publishing their blog. We see suggestions in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, periodically.Can't you just submit my review request now, without making me wait another 2 days? Is my dashboard review request really necessary?
Unfortunately, the better the dashboard based spam review option works, the more this confusion should be expected.

We Are At The Mercy Of Every Anti-Malware Protection Program Imaginable

We see reports, from time to time, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, about blogs which people can't read, from their computers.One of my readers claims that I have a virus on my blog. He provided the following information:
AVG anti-virus detected the following threat on the site: File Name: www.mydomain.com/favicon.ico

Threatname: Exploit Black Hole Exploit KitHow do I fix this?
Similar to the many reports that we process here, about spurious spam classification, the above report is frequently determined to be a false positive. An anti-virus alert, even if a false positive, is generally not as simple to resolve as a spurious Blogger spam classification, though.

Blog Readers Can't Remove Blogs From Reading Lists

We're seeing an occasional report, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, about inability to manage the Reading List, using the dashboard "Manage Blogs I'm Following" wizard.

Clicking on the dashboard "gear" icon to the right of "Reading List", one should expect to see a list of Followed blogs, in the familiar menu. In some cases, what is seen will be bad news.We are unable to load your FriendConnect data at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please try again shortly.
Upon trying again, the same error is frequently seen, repeatedly.

Anonymity, Your BirthDate, And Your New Blogger / Google Account

Not all new Blogger blog owners understand why they are asked for their birthdate, when they setup a Blogger or Google account.

Some folks see this as a violation of their right to privacy, and enter a fake birthdate. Some real serious privacy enthusiasts might enter "01/01/01", just to get through the setup process - maybe intending to correct it, later.

Nobody entering "01/01/01", for one's birthdate, suspects that claiming such a birthdate makes them - in 2013 - appear to be 12 years of age. Unfortunately, 12 years is below the minimum age for owning a Blogger blog.

Since Blogger / Google tries to protect the young people on the Internet from inadvertently exposing themselves - or their families or friends - to unknown dangers, people who may appear to be of insufficient age are subject to having their Blogger / Google accounts, and Blogger blogs, deleted or locked.

Stats Pageview Counts Fluctuate Daily, Not At Midnight

One of the many controversial issues about Stats involves the daily pageview counts, which are reset daily.

Most blog owners accept the daily count reset, in principle - they just don't understand why the counts should be reset during their day, instead of at midnight.My pageview count goes up during the day - but in the afternoon, it goes to zero, then starts over again. Why is Stats so unreliable?
The pageview count reset would be better understood, were it to happen daily, at midnight, for each blog owner. Unfortunately, there are over 24 different time zones, worldwide - and Blogger blogs are surely owned by some persons, in each of the time zones represented.