Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Private / Team Blog Owners, Using Non GMail Based Blogger Accounts, And Lost Membership Invitations

For some time, we've known about a problem with non GMail based Blogger accounts, and comment moderation / notification email.

That problem, though mildly annoying to the blog owners affected, has an easy workaround - use a GMail based email address, for comment moderation / notification. That's a quick 15 minute fix.
  1. Setup a GMail account, if necessary.
  2. Change the comment moderation / notification email addresses, for the blog(s) affected, to use the GMail email account.
GMail email accounts are, after all, free.

Besides the ease of putting a workaround in place, that problem is not all that severe. The problem with comment moderation / notification email, being filtered, only affects blog owners who moderate before publishing. Owners who moderate after publishing can always use the Blogger dashboard Comments wizard, at their convenience, to moderate.

This week, we realised that the base problem - rejected email because of non GMail based Blogger accounts - may also affect owners of private / team blogs, who have prospective non GMail members. This specific problem probably affects less blogs - but it won't have as easy a workaround.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Please, Do Not Publicise Your Email Address

We've seen a few reports, recently, about stolen blogs, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.
Why is my blog not on my dashboard - and why is somebody else publishing, and using my name?
There are so many reports from people who are not using Google "One Account" login properly, that the significance of this problem report was initially overlooked.

More than a few such reports started with the blog owner email address being unwisely disclosed, generally on the blog. Too many blog owners want to be contacted - and they innocently provide their email addresses as a contact point.

We've known, for years, about disclosed email addresses, and brute force password guessing. That is not the only way your email address can be used, to gain access to your Blogger account, however.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Complaint Volume Affects Speed Of Abuse Resolution

We see various complaints, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, about perceived poor response, in removing offensive blogs.
I've reported this blog, repeatedly, for impersonating me - and it's still online!
or
That other blog was removed from service after only a couple of days! Why is this blog still online??
These bloggers do not understand that complaint volume, against different blogs, can affect how promptly Blogger Policy / Google Legal can take action, and remove problem blogs.

Various details affect how many complaints are placed, against any blog.
  • Offensiveness. A blatantly offensive blog will offend more people - and will be reported by more people, than a mildly offensive blog.
  • Traffic. An offensive blog that gets hundreds of hits daily will be seen by more people, than a blog that gets a few hits daily - and will be reported by more people.
  • Victims. An offensive blog that attacks hundreds of people will get reported more than a blog that is only personally offensive, to a few people.
Each of these minor details will cause some blogs to attract more complaints - and to be examined sooner, by Blogger and by Google staff.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Troubleshooting Custom Domain Issues

If you are trying to make your custom domain published blog work, see my guide Troubleshooting Your Custom Domain Problems.

If you want to know how to setup a custom domain properly, from the beginning - and avoid the need for Troubleshooting - read Setting Up A Custom Domain. Avoid the most basic mistakes made - read The Simplicity Of A Custom Domain Setup.

If you just setup your custom domain - and want to minimise the effects of the URL change upon your search engine relationships - read Managing The Migration.

If you're just browsing, then read on - but get a good cup of coffee first. And welcome, to Nitecruzr Dot Net.

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Troubleshooting Your Custom Domain Problems

Of the many accessories and features in Blogger, Custom Domain Publishing is possibly the most problematic.

Looking at the Labels index in this blog, I see the Custom Domains label on 334 posts (as of 2014/09/28) - which makes it one of the most heavily labeled single topics here. There are several challenges with diagnosing and resolving a custom domain problem.
  • It has various different causes.
  • It leads to many different symptoms, which can easily be confused for other problems.
  • Its symptoms can be chronic or intermittent- and may be immediate, or may take months to exhibit themselves.
  • It may require resolution by any blog guest, by the blog owner, by Blogger Support, and / or by a third party such as the domain registrar.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Custom Domains Do Not Always Need Ownership Verification

We're seeing a new source of confusion, in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, with blog owners trying to publish to a custom domain URL.
How do I get my second "CNAME"?
The Publishing wizard does not, always, provide instructions for ownership verification - and some owners don't understand that ownership verification is only necessary when it's demanded.

When ownership verification was first introduced, whenever a blog owner would use the Publishing wizard, to publish or re publish to any non BlogSpot URL, every use of the wizard would involve creating a new ownership verification "CNAME".

The ownership verification "certificate" is unique to both the URL being published, and the time the publishing takes place. If the owner waited too long between publishing attempts, a new "CNAME" would be again demanded. If multiple hosts were published in a domain, multiple "CNAME"s were required.

In some cases, each domain address being added would require at least 2 "CNAME"s - the DNS address for the published host ("ghs.google.com"), and the ownership verification (the long, random text). Domains with multiple hosts would end up with multiple, redundant, and useless ownership verification "CNAME"s.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Why Are Some Custom Domain Published Blogs Inconsistently Online?

I've been using affinity analysis, and differential analysis, as tools for diagnosing intermittent problems with custom domain published blogs, for several years.

Some people may be using a browser which is more forgiving of DNS problems than others - and people who use the right browser, when accessing a domain with righteous DNS addresses, should expect to generally get more consistent service. But that's only a small part of the story.

Confusion From Email Spam Detection, With Non GMail Email Destinations

We're seeing a few reports in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken about problems with email, sent by Blogger, when the destination is a non GMail email system.

Some email systems verify the sending email address, against IP address. With these systems, email which originates from a Blogger account that's based on a non GMail email address, and comes from a Blogger / Google IP address, is going to present a problem, to the account owners.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Your Right To Be Forgotten Does Not Supersede My Right To Retain Ownership Of My Blog

Thanks to a recent decision by the European Courts, many people are claiming the right to delete their blogs, and to have the search engines stop indexing their blogs.

Some people believe that this newly defined right entitles them to recover control of their blogs, published long ago, with access (account name and password) long forgotten. A few such people even have blogs owned by "legacy" Blogger accounts, never converted to Blogger / Google accounts.

Nobody has the right to unilaterally take control of a blog that may belong to somebody else. If you cannot prove yourself to be the owner of a given blog, Blogger Support should not provide to you control of that blog. Whether you want to delete a blog, or to change the content, you have to prove ownership of the blog.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Please, NEVER Share Your Blogger Account!

We see signs of naivete, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken. too often.
I gave my boyfriend (girlfriend, former spouse, Internet acquaintance, whatever) my account password - and now, I can't access my account.
This is a problem which Blogger cannot resolve, in any way.

Please, never ever share your Blogger account. Blogger accounts, like Blogger blogs, are free.

If someone who you know would like to read your private blog - or contribute to your team blog - add that person as a blog member, and let her / him use his / her own Blogger account (new, or existing).