I've just received a call from a friend who, like me, uses the Blogger application to share his thoughts and to keep in contact with the world around him.
At least he did use the Blogger application. Because a few days back, without any warning whatsoever, his blog was deleted by Google, whose product Blogger is, on the grounds that it was allegedly a "spam blog". Despite his appeal for a review (which Blogger claims is conducted by human beings but quite obviously isn't), his content remains deleted and he has been told by a sneering customer "services" oik he will not be getting it back.
I had visited the blog many times before it was removed and can confirm that it was quite manifestly not a spam blog, no more so than this one. Google's robots, it would appear, identify blogs as "spam" quite arbitrarily, and the appeal process as far as as I can tell does not actually exist.
I like the feel of Blogger, its user-friendliness and its extensive range of applications that are easy to follow by a technological zombie like myself. I could probably transfer my work to a Wordpress site, but all the effort that I have put in to publicising this particular website address and building page rank will then have been in vain. For the time being at least I feel that sticking with Blogger is marginally the better of two problematic options.
But this new enthusiasm that Blogger seems to have developed for randomly decimating its own customer base does worry me somewhat. With well over 300 posts on this blog and counting the thought that it could just be switched off for no good reason alarms me.
So for the benefit of other Blogger users, I would like to offer two pieces of advice which they should heed urgently:
1. Always back up your blog. Go to Settings, click Export and save your blog to an .xml file on your hard drive. That way, if your blog is deleted you will have a copy of your material that you can either import to another Blogger blog or transfer to a Wordpress application.
2. Do not use Google AdSense. Including AdSense in your site would seem to trigger the interest of the Google robots and, frankly, for the absolute pittance that you will earn by incorporating AdSense into your blog it really isn't worth the risk.
Follow these two pieces of advice and there really isn't any reason to have any sleepless nights over this.
And enjoy your blogging!