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Monday, August 26, 2013

Repeated TOS Violations Are Punished Gradually

Some blog owners don't understand the serious nature of repeated violation of TOS Policy, in Blogger blogs - and how offenses are handled, by Google.

We've seen several reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from blog owners who appear to be unclear about the consequences of repeated TOS Violations.
I got email from Blogger, about my Blogger account.
We'd like to inform you that we've received another complaint regarding a blog that you administer. Upon review of your account, we've noted that you've repeatedly violated the Terms of Service: http://www.blogger.com/go/terms. Given that we've provided you with several warnings of these violations and advised you of our policy towards repeat infringers, we've been forced to disable your Blogger service.
How do I get my blog restored?

This example appears to represent the final step, in a multi step policy.

It appears that Google takes a multi step approach, towards repeated TOS violations - such as hosting of malware, porn, and / or spam - in Blogger blogs. This is similar to the DMCA Violations punishment process.
  1. Unlike DMCA violations, individual posts are not deleted.
  2. Deletion of offending blogs.
  3. Deletion of offending Blogger account(s) (and blogs).

TOS violations may involve blog content, as much as post content.

DMCA violations generally involve content hosted in specific posts. TOS violations are just as likely to be found in blog content, such as various gadgets - and to involve an aggregated evaluation process. TOS violation does not include deletion of individual posts.

TOS violations must be resolved by owner requested review.

With a TOS initiated blog deletion, the blog owner is expected to have the blog reviewed. If the review determines the blog to be unrighteously deleted, the blog is restored - though there may be side effects.

If the owner accepts the TOS violation - righteously accused or not, and simply deletes / leaves deleted the offending content, this counts as a guilty plea. The owner must have all TOS Violations appealed - and be found not guilty - or the account will be terminated, after any additional violations are detected.

If the owner does not have the blog reviewed, he / she may start over.

If the blog owner does not wish to have the blog reviewed, he / she is allowed to start over, with a new blog - but will have to publish to a new URL. Content lost must be recovered by the owner - and the owner should be more careful with future blogs.

In some cases, we've seen suggestions that offending blogs can affect reputation of the owner, and of other blogs owned by that person. It appears that search engine reputation, of other blogs owned by the account affected, can be affected - even before deletion is necessary.

Repeated offenses will produce a deleted / locked Blogger account.

If the blog owner continue to publish blogs which violate TOS, any Blogger accounts involved, along with any other blogs owned by the deleted accounts, will be deleted. If the offender is a team member of a blog, the team membership can cause incidental deletion of other blogs.

We see that an appeal is possible.
Next steps for suspended accounts: If you believe your access to this product was suspended in error, contact us.

With any blogs published to a non BlogSpot domain, the domain URL(s) will remain in use, in the Google database - though the domain owner is free to use the domain outside Google address space. If the offender wishes to start over, both new BlogSpot and non BlogSpot URLs will be required.

Does all of this seem unfair? Yes, it probably does.


Email, warning the account owner, may or may not be received.

As with other issues with email delivered warnings, there will be cases when the owner may not receive warnings in a timely fashion. Even so, the owner is responsible, when he / she offends, repeatedly.

Team ownership will complicate TOS violation assignment.

Blogs under team ownership are apparently vulnerable to action taken against any team member. In some cases, blogs will simply disappear from the dashboards of the other team members, with no appeal or review request being possible.

It's possible that legal notice, provided by Google through email, will supercede ongoing forum advice - even if email sent is not received by the owner. Some cases, also, may involve imaginative research.

Dude, hit me with a comment!

Thomas Landen said...

I agree with this policy as I had five slanderous, harassing and impersonating blogs posted about me and three about a victim in a felony case. Eight blogs using someone else's name and/or middle and last name without our consent. Should result in a ban on the posting person's account period.