An Important Update

Dear Followers Of This Blog ...

If you did not use a Blogger / Google account when you Followed this blog, years ago, you are probably not Following now . During the past...

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Deleted / Locked Blogs Have Several Causes

Many blog owners are occasionally confused, by the effects of various Blogger / Google security processes.

We see the agony, daily, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from those who only want to login to Blogger and work on their blogs.

The side effects of the security processes are similar - and depending upon various owner specific details, can be easily confused for each other. The possibility of confusion requires careful initial analysis, when we are faced with an angry blog owner.
My blog was deleted, by Blogger. How could they do this? I do not publish spam!
This is a typical problem report, which can reflect any one of the processes, each requiring different action in the forums.

There are multiple Blogger / Google security / TOS enforcement processes, which encourage observance of various Blogger / Google requirements.

Each process may cause a Blogger account and / or blog to be unavailable for public access, at any time.


Each different process has a different effect on the Blogger account and blogs owned - and requires different attention by the blog owners, by the forum helpers, and by Blogger Support and Google Security. Not all blogs will be listed in the "Deleted blogs" dashboard inventory.

DMCA Violation

Accounts and blogs can be deleted, for progressive DMCA violations. The DMCA violation process originated with complaints made by the major entertainment industry content enforcement organisations, citing theft of "intellectual property" which they control.

In the USA, this would involve the "MPAA" (Motion Picture Association of America), and the "RIAA" (Recording Industry Association of America). I have been told that similar content enforcement organisations exist in other countries.

In more recent events, private citizens have been known to use the DMCA Violation complaint process, for miscellaneous copyright violation reporting. DMCA Violations have a formal complaint and appeal process.

Hacking detection

Blogger / Google network monitors are constantly analysing account login activity, and looking for signs of brute force password hacking.

When hacking activity is discovered, the Blogger account - and all blogs owned by the account - are deleted and locked, pending account verification by the owner, and blog integrity checking by Google Security.

The blog owner, after changing the account password, solving a CAPTCHA, and / or verifying account ownership by providing various personal details, is left waiting for the blogs owned by the account to be examined for signs of abuse by the hacker.

Until the blog(s) are returned to online status, they appear in neither the "Deleted blogs" or "Locked blogs" dashboard lists. The owner, even when logged in to the right Blogger account, simply sees the dashboard advice

You are not an author on any blogs.

In this case, neither the blog owner nor the forum helpers can do anything useful, except wait, anxiously - possibly, with no notice provided. The blog being offline may not be immediately observed by the owner - and this may cause more confusion.

Malware detection

Blogger robotic processes are constantly checking the various blogs, looking for malicious blog accessories, components, and scripts. When a blog is subject to "Malware" classification, the blog will appear in one of two dashboard lists, in sequence.

  1. Initially, the blog will appear in the "Deleted blogs" list. While the blog is in "Deleted" status, the blog owner will be able to do nothing, except request "Restore".
  2. Once the owner has requested "Restore", the blog is undeleted, and placed into the "Locked blogs" list. While the blog is in "Locked" status, all authors can access the blog to remove malware - but the blog remains offline, to all viewers. Once all malware has been removed from the blog, the owner can "Request Unlock Review".

If the blog remains in "Locked" status for over 48 hours, the blog owner may report this in the forums, and may request a manual review. The forum helpers, and online viewers, will generally see the blog displayed as "TOS violation".
This blog is in violation of Blogger Terms of Service and is open to authors only

Adult Content / Porn Detection

Blogger will soon classify and delete blogs with "adult content", which host advertisements to commercial porn sites. Like spam classification, this will probably involve both false negatives and false positives.

Spam detection

Blogger robotic processes are constantly checking the various blogs, looking for signs of spam activity and content. When a blog is subject to "Spam" classification, the blog will be displayed in the "Deleted blogs" dashboard list.

The owner can do nothing, except request "Restore". If the blog remains in "Deleted" status for over 48 hours, the blog owner may report this in the forums, and may request a manual review. The forum helpers, and online viewers, will generally see the blog displayed as "Removed".

Blog has been removed Sorry, the blog at xxxxxxx.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs.

Repeated Offenses

We have recently noted that repeated TOS Violations, involving DMCA, Malware, Porn, and Spam, are being dealt with in increasing severity.

Owner deletion or rename

Mistakes made by the owner can be confused with Spam detection. When a blog is deleted by the owner, it will appear in the dashboard "Deleted blogs" list for up to 90 days.

During the 90 days, the owner (or a team member, when applicable) may "Restore" the blog. After the 90 days expire, the blog will be removed from "Deleted blogs", and will be unrecoverable. Besides being unrecoverable, no other details have been determined.

If the blog is renamed (published under a different BlogSpot URL), the external symptom may be similar to deletion by the owner.

Blog has been removed Sorry, the blog at myblog.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs.

In this case, the blog will be listed in the dashboard "My blogs" list, under the right Title. The owner needs to setup a stub blog, pointing the readers to the new URL.

Team Ownership

Any blogs owned by a deleted / locked Blogger account may simply disappear from the dashboards of other team members. If the Blogger account is not restored / unlocked, the blogs owned by that account - including any team owned blogs - may remain deleted - and inaccessible to everybody.

The Confusion Accumulates

Because of anonymous blog ownership, loss of account control, team blog ownership, and use of inactive or non existent email addresses, any account / blog which is deleted or locked for hacking (actively / as a victim), malware, and / or spam may not be easily discovered or recovered by the owner.

And, not all scenarios can be easily diagnosed. Besides the deleted blogs, there are blogs that remain online - but have still disappeared from the dashboard of the owner.

All of these issues cause further confusion and frustration.

These scenarios may appear, to the untrained eye, to be signs of fraudulent, malicious, and / or petty actions by Blogger - and are loudly claimed so by spammers with their own agenda. None of these accusations are true - the above processes simply represent Blogger and Google attempting, in the best possible way, to protect everybody against the various hacking, malware, porn, and spam attacks which are constantly in progress.

Dude, hit me with a comment!

F.A.Ellis said...

Thanks for posting this.I just about read all your blogs you post.

zillermil said...

Thanks for posting this. I just started on blogger last month and am still getting my feet wet, but it's a blog idea I really like and that has potential. I just posted a new article that I worked on for a couple of hours and then suddenly everything was disable. It was so disheartening... Hoping they'll see it's a real blog quickly, and I can get back to work.

Much appreciate your post; it's walked me back off the cliff a little.

george senda said...

I had forgotten my password and sudenly one day, google deleted my blog because I couldn't remember it. My email account also is inaccessible. I believe that someone may have hacked both of them AND my facebook account as well. When I've written Google repeatedly all I get is robotic emails that keep telling me to go to pages that do NOT work. I cannot restore my previous blog no matter what I try. I had to create a new email account, blog and facebook account.

JE Males said...

i really appreciate the help but i hope they need to improve their spma robot ..because cause too much to all bloggers

The Wanderer said...

It seems an incredibly arbitrary process frankly. No warning, not even take it off line, and send an email to the owner to review their blog for issues. Just hammer the blog and let the user come back and beg for access back to the content they created. If I wanted some kid at Google's opinion of the content of my blog I would have invited them to read it. I have no problem with the computer telling me to clean up issues or it is deleted. Then the responsibility is back in my court. You can give whatever justification you want for the approach. I won't/can't use a Google product again. Google clearly can't be trusted with data. I'm not even sure why I ever did. But advice to anyone. BACKUP YOUR CONTENT every single time you enter new data. I know better, but never did it. Shame on me. Dismantling my Google Drive as we speak. Free always has a cost. I'm old enough to know better.

Chuck Croll said...

Wanderer,

Yours is a frequent complaint, from many spammers, caught in the act.