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Blogger Comments Being Posted Using Anonymity

Some Blogger blog owners use their Blogger blogs as the center of their peer to peer networking life.

Many blog readers are expected to post comments - and to leave their email addresses, as part of their message or profile, to allow direct contact. Long ago, I used the email address of my commenters, as part of an easy "Contact Me" form, on this blog.

Recently, we've been noting that Blogger comments don't always include a useful email addresses - many comments simply describe the commenter as
Not all blog owners - and readers - appreciate this change.
When I leave a comment using my google profile, it isn't linking my profile with my email address. How do I get my email address properly displayed?
Why do so many comments, published to my blog, show the email address of ""? How do I email my readers?

For some time, we've known of the dangers of revealing your email address to the world, in general.

Blogger blog owners have been a known special risk, with their email addresses. Google developed Google+, with the Google+ profile, to allow everybody to network with their friends - both old and new - without the risk of revealing one's email address.

Google+ replaces email completely. You can share comments, messages, photos, and videos with anybody, in a self contained universe - and you can define your own, personal universes. This leaves the need to reveal your email address completely unnecessary (though you can use email, if you wish, without knowing anyone's address - or revealing yours).

After Google+ became popular, Blogger added the option to link our Blogger blogs with our Google+ profiles. Blogger profiles, based on Google+, are cleaner, and use the Google+ displays to update.

To encourage people to use Google+ for peer to peer networking activity, and to make our Blogger accounts and blogs safer, Blogger has eliminated our email addresses from all outside correspondence - including when we publish comments on Blogger (and non Blogger) blogs, using a Google+ based Blogger profile.

If we publish a comment on somebody's blog, and the blog owner has enabled comment moderation or notification, our comment shows up in the email inbox of the blog owner - but with our email address displayed as "".

With email addresses not displayed, this helps protect our Blogger account names from becoming unnecessarily revealed. Blog owner - reader comment communication is still possible - but again, without the email address of the reader being known.

By eliminating our email addresses from our comments, Google is helping to protect our accounts and blogs, while letting us continue to comment on each others blogs - and to eliminate one type of unnecessary spam from our blogs.

Google+, which replaces email for networking, uses a "Friend of a Friend" relationship to let you expand your universe infinitely, with each comment, message, photo, and video that you share. It lets you control the expansion of your universe - if you wish. And, it helps keeps your Blogger blog under your control.


VP said…

Question - if the blogger removes the email mining comment before anyone leaves a comment with their email address, presumably the email mining can't happen?

I'm reading the backlog of messages left in the spam rollup problem on the Google Forum (having added my recent woes on there), hence my tardy response to your post from last year.
VP said…
Rather sobering stuff and helps to explain why so much of this spam is happening.

I suspect the hackers are not only mining to get the info to play havoc with our blogs, but will then go on to see if that info gives them access to bank details etc. Of course no-one uses the same details for multiple accounts these days do they? *hollow laugh*
Chuck Croll said…

I asked that question, of Blogger Support, several weeks ago. The reply I got indicates that once the email subscription is established, deletion of the comment (or moderation and removal) does not affect the subscription.

The comment is only required, to allow the selection "Send followup comments to my email address" to be accepted. Once the selection is accepted, the subscriber has access to the stream, and to all comment content published - including email addresses.

I have not verified the exact details - but it appears that right now, the only way that email address mining, using comment threads, can be prevented is for Blogger to anonymise all email addresses in comments.

I'm trying hard not to sound like a "black helicopter" fanatic - but right now, I suspect that anybody who posts a non anonymised comment may be exposing the associated email address (and by extension, the Blogger account) to mining by the bad guys.

If you have your account locked and / or blogs deleted a couple times, you'll probably decide to use Google 2-step verification, as a defense against the hacking that is enabled by the address mining.

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