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 23, 2013

How To Unmap Google Sites To Solve "Another blog or Google Site is already using this address."

The literal cause of the error "Another blog or Google Site is already using this address." is that the Google Sites service is mapped to the address in question, in the Google domain services mapping database.

Some help articles published on the Internet imply that Sites mappings are the only cause of this error. This misconception creates some of the confusion associated with the error. Sites is not the only service in the services mapping database - but it is the only service with web address mappings.

The Sites service contains both service address, and web address, mappings - and both mappings can cause this problem. This oddity creates complexity, and makes a linear check list impossible, when using Google Apps to clear the error - as well as diagnosing the error, in a typical dialogue in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Browser Cache, And Blogs Locked After Hacking

The effects of browser cache, upon our Internet life, are not always understood.

Most of us know, by now, to clear cache and restart the browser, after updating a blog, for consistent testing. Some folks know that blog security changes don't always take complete and immediate effect.

Recently, we're seeing a new effect, reported by owners of Blogger accounts locked, after hacking activity is detected.
I got a message mentioning suspicious account activity, when I logged in to Blogger. I provided my phone number, and I received a code on my phone, that I had to enter before I could then log in. My blog was working fine just after I logged in. A short while later, though, it was gone. Why was my blog deleted, because I unlocked my account?
This blog owner is just slightly confused, about the cause and effect here.

If You Moderate Comments Using Email, Mark The Spam Properly

One evidence of confusion, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, comes from blog owners who are moderating comments, to their blogs, using comment moderation email.
I am constantly assailed by spam comments, being published to my blog, delivered to my Inbox! Is there anything I can do, about the spam, except just keep deleting?
Comment moderation, using email, offers several choices for action - but only one action will have any actual effect upon the spam.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Malware Classification, And Country Code Redirection

We're seeing a few complaints, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, about overly aggressive malware classification.

Many of the complaints are from blog owners who only want to publish their blogs without fear of side effects from the latest controversial feature, Country Code Alias Redirection.

Spurious malware / spam detection is a painful topic to discuss - and it's even more so when the question of country code alias redirection is discussed. Like auto pagination long ago, country code alias redirection appears to be another case of Google manipulating its customers, maliciously. If you consider this issue from the viewpoint of Blogger blogs in general, though, you may see the full picture.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Custom Redirects, And Old FTP Published Blog URLs

Long ago, Blogger blog owners would publish a blog as part of an existing website.

With the website published as "www.mydomain.com", they would create a website subdirectory "www.mydomain.com/myblog", and publish the blog there.

The option to publish a blog as "www.mydomain.com/myblog" required an externally maintained domain / website - and the Blogger feature "FTP Publishing". In 2010, Blogger, with many man hours spent fixing a constant stream of problems, retired "FTP Publishing", in favour of "Custom Domain Publishing".

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Country Code Aliases Are Not In Use, In All Non USA Countries

One source of confusion, about the occasionally misunderstood country code aliasing of BlogSpot published blogs, comes from the way the aliasing is being installed, world wide.

Country Code Aliasing is a new feature - and it's still being tested. Since it's being tested, it's not being immediately installed in all countries, world wide - and this will cause confusion, until it is fully installed.

How To Solve "Another blog or Google Site is already using this address."

Of all of the problems that are typically reported, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, surely the most frustrating has to be
Another blog or Google Site is already using this address.
or possibly
Key already exists for domain ...

One of the reasons for the frustration is that this is not a descriptive error - it's more of a symptom - and this symptom has a number of causes. Since many Blogger blog owners don't understand the principles of problem solving, the solutions for this error may not be obvious.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

How To Use Google Apps To Solve "Another blog or Google Site is already using this address."

The Google domain services database lets one or more Blogger blogs, and / or various Google services, be packaged as part of a domain - giving your organisation its own virtual web server.

Google Apps is used to manage this virtual web server, as you install and un install various domain services. Sometimes a domain, newly setup in Google after the domain has been purchased from a registrar, will have one or more addresses unexpectedly mapped to various Google services. This will be inconvenient to the blog owner, who may wish to use a given URL for a Blogger blog.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Control The Email Settings, Relevant To Your Blog

Some blog owners don't always think about the various email settings, which are part of their Blogger blogs, and the possible effects to their email - or somebody else's email.

There are several settings, where a blog owner may enter an email address.

  • Email posts to
  • Comment Moderation.
  • Comment Notification Email.

These settings don't require acceptance by the recipient, making for some interesting possibilities for causing problems in other people's email, as well as one's own email.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blog Owners, Logging In To Blogger, Receiving Malware Warnings

We've been seeing a few problem reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from blog owners seeing malware warnings for unknown blogs or websites.
I get a warning from Google Chrome, when I login to Blogger.
Content from www.unknownblog.com, a known malware distributor, has been inserted into this web page. Visiting this page now is very likely to infect your computer with malware.
We know that our blogs are subject to malware and spam classification - but now we see that we can also get warnings for other blogs and websites, that we don't own.

Monday, February 11, 2013

When You Publish Your Blog To A Custom Domain, Almost Always Publish To The "www" Alias

Of all of the known problems with Blogger, in general - and of the known problems with Blogger / Google Custom Domain Publishing, specifically - surely the most frustrating single problem starts with the well known monolithic error
Another blog or Google Site is already using this address.

The most frequently seen solution to this problem, contrary to the opinions expressed in some blogs and websites, starts with correction of the domain DNS addresses. But even after careful DNS address correction, some blog owners still report the well known "Another blog ..." error.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

When You Create A Blog, Only Type The Blog Name!

Too many would be blog owners are unable to create a blog, because they don't understand how to check for availability.
I can't seem to type in a URL, without it saying it's not available.
Some people don't understand that you do not type a URL - you just type a blog name, when checking for availability.

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.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Without The PostID, A Deleted Post Is Not Easily Recovered

If you delete a post (page) in your blog, it's a simple matter to recover the post - as long as you know the PostID. Unfortunately, once the post is gone, finding the post (page) id is not a simple matter - especially for those who would typically delete a page or post without planning. Blogger does not provide the PostID in any list, that we might save, periodically, to reference later.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

"Nice Blog" Spam Is Recently Becoming More Obscure, In Content And Style

In 2009, we discovered an odd style of spam comments which, from all appearances, served no purpose.
I recently came across your blog, and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
When discovered, Google Search suggested that over 22,000,000 copies of these comments had been successfully installed, on various blogs and websites.

A couple years ago, I suggested a possible reason for the spam - and later showed how Google+, and various Blogger security measures, were making the spam less useful.

Last month, we began to see suggestions, from some blog owners, that this "nice blog" spam was morphing, into more obscurely phrased and structured styles.
A lot of spam comments are being published on my blog. This problem started a few weeks ago - though previously, Google almost always put them in my Spam Folder.
Upon examination of examples of the spam comments, we see the same spam style as observed in 2009 - yet more imaginatively phrased.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

A Blog Deleted, As A Suspected Spam Host, Is Not Subject To The 90 Day Limit For Restore

We see signs of panic, periodically, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, about blogs deleted as suspected spam hosts.
My blog was deleted for spam 2 months ago. I need my blog restored, this month, as I don't want to lose it!
This is a common misconception, about spam deletions, and the mysterious 90 day limit.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Check Your Template, And Look For Unfamiliar JavaScript Code, Following Odd Blog Behaviour

Recently, we've been seeing some odd problem reports in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, suggesting deviously hijacked blogs.
My blog is requesting me to login, using a user name and password, when I view it.
Given the URL of the window requesting the login, it's a simple matter for us to use the right forensic Internet software, and to locate a relevant snippet of code, frequently installed as part of the blog template.

Sometimes, when we reply to the blog owner with advice to remove a bit of dodgy code, we get a response suggesting disbelief. Our advice
Use the Template Editor, and remove the highlighted code snippet.
may receive a confused or skeptical response.
Where did that bit of code come from? I never installed that!
How did the code in question get installed? Discussion of one possible scenario may require thinking outside the box. Not every unrecognised blog change is being caused by memory loss by the blog owner, after an intentional accessory install or template tweak.

Friday, February 01, 2013

How You Should Backup Your Blog Will Depend Upon How You Plan To Restore It

We see signs of naivete, in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, from blog owners concerned with malware / spam deletions, and with other unexplained disasters in Blogger.
How do I backup my blog, to protect the contents against unfair spam deletions?

Not many concerned blog owners realise the first principle of backups, known by any experienced network administrator.
  • Never plan a backup, without first planning the restore.
How you backup your blog depends upon several details.
  • What problem do you expect, to require a backup?
  • How do you plan to recover, from a problem?