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Sunday, December 14, 2014

NeoWorx, And The Redirecting NeoCounter Gadgets

This week, we're seeing the anxious query, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
Is my blog for sale? I try to view my blog, and I see
This Domain Is for Sale
Have I lost my blog?
Fortunately, in most cases, the answer is "No, your blog is not for sale." - and "No, you have not lost your blog!".

In mid 2014, NeoWorx, the publisher of popular gadgets like NeoCounter, closed up shop. Back end code for their gadgets, installed on thousands of blogs and websites, had been served from their private libraries. Having closed their domains, the gadgets stopped working.

Initially, "neoworx-blog-tools.net" was purchased by a squatter.

The squatter apparently had hoped to capitalise on the traffic to the domain, provided by the blogs and websites that used the installed gadgets. In late 2014, the squatter gave up (or possibly, sold to another squatter), and "neoworx-blog-tools.net" is now showing a very plain parked page.
This Domain Is for Sale
Either the squatter made a profit on his purchase, by serving ads to the would be viewers of the host blogs and websites, and decided to cash in - or he lost his investment, and decided to cut his losses and move on.

In theory - and by early Internet rules of etiquette - anybody purchasing a domain that has accumulated traffic from the efforts of the prior owner, and expects to be receiving traffic from unwary people like our blog readers, should put advice on their home page.
Sorry, NeoWorx (publisher of NeoCounter and other blog / website accessories) is no more.
or
Looking for NeoCounter? Try their new website.
The advice, to at least accompany the ads displayed there, would provide a brief hint to the unwary reader, that what he sought (i.e., blog content - or a given gadget) is no longer available (as suggested by the first advice). If NeoWorx had renamed themselves, or been bought out, the second advice would have been useful.

The initial purchasers of "neoworx-blog-tools.net", in defiance or ignorance of etiquette, simply served a page full of ads, and no advice. The ads did not target the owners of the blogs and websites - they simply confused the unwary readers - and provided no hints of why they were there, instead of viewing the blog or website.

Subjected to waves of complaints from angry readers, the blog owners had earlier posted in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
Why is my blog directing to a page full of ads?
And we would examine the blog code in our browsers, find the gadget which references "neoworx-blog-tools.net", and instruct the blog owner to remove the gadget.

Now, instead of angry readers, who complain of ads, the blog owners suffer questions from confused readers, asking if the blog is being sold. And we continue to advise people to remove the misbehaving gadgets.

To the former owners of NeoWorx, and the subsequent domain owners:
Blogger blog owners are not cash cows.
We appreciate accessories, if you can support them. But please, don't produce gadgets that require your program libraries, run up huge volumes of traffic to your library domains, then sell out to spammers.

Here, we have one very real example why adding gadgets from third party developers may not always be in your best, long term interest.

Dude, hit me with a comment!

Shawna Martinez said...

thank you so much for this post - people kept getting redirected to http://neocounter.neoworx-blog-tools.net/ when trying to view my blog.

you helped me solve the problem!

thank you again,
~shawna