Google Hates Public Library’s Blog

    “I read with amusement your recent piece on the rapid resolution of the google blog deletion, since of course blogger kills blogs every day (just browse the blogger support google group for head counts). One of the kill tactics that is especially swell is their spambot. Now I have no sympathy for true splogs and I appreciate that they’re trying to combat this. But as our small public library just found out, spam isn’t all they’re killing.”

They’re also killing dreams.

Google picks on a little public library in Alaska, after the jump…

Savannah writes:

    “I logged on the other day to update our library blog with the week’s new additions to our collection. But apparantly that’s somehow too scary for google’s tastes, and I found that I was locked out with a big red and yellow notice that read:

    ” This blog has been locked by Blogger’s spam-prevention robots. You will not be able to publish your posts, but you will be able to save them as drafts.

    Save your post as a draft or click here for more about what’s going on and how to get your blog unlocked. “

    Only the “click here” takes me to a login page that, when I log in, takes me to a login page that, when I log in…aw, you get the idea, no? After I report it to blogger support (I’m kinda skipping over how long it took me to find that address, btw–it certainly wasn’t an option in the notice, although a little friendly “if you have trouble with this, contact [email]” might have helped out there if they really had intended to provide a remedy) I posted it in the google support group. The helpful regulars there made some good suggestions, although I’d already tried the clearing of caches and cookies and restarting stuff to no avail. I didn’t know that you could get to the captcha that is supposed to be on the other end of the “click here” by trying to save a draft post (I read that part of the message as “if you’d like to save your unpostable post and go shoot yourself instead of working on this”), but I tried that and, oh dear, login screen loop again.

    So there I am: that terrible threat to the internet, a library blog, is shut down and what is supposed to be a way of proving that you’re human and asking for a white-listing case review by another human is, sigh, turned off or broken or whatever.

    That email to support, you’re asking–what became of that? I got a nice, friendly botreply suggesting I read the help pages (oops–no entry for “we locked your blog and threw away the key”) and reply to the email with more details if I couldn’t find help elsewhere. So I did, and I’ll have you know I didn’t swear one single bit or anything (at least, not in the email and what I said aloud is just between the cat and me and she understands discretion perfectly). In fact, I replied twice, since by the time of the second one I’d learned more from the groups posting.

    And here I sit crying into my coffee, knowing that there’s no point to holding my breath much longer waiting for a reply since, well, I guess you have to be google itself to get service from blogger. I’m trying now to pull together my enthusiasm for finding another host and creating another blog and reposting everything there and republicizing the new url…when I could be devoting that time and energy to some of the many other things that need to be done at the library.

    I realize that blogger’s a free service (which just happens to be the amount our very small library’s budget covers for internet outreach) and the TOS says they have every right to withdraw that service without notice. Where I guess I misunderstood or miscalculated or (clearly) deluded myself was that I thought, especially with google
    behind them now, they understood that they supported themselves through our (users’) efforts in getting traffic.

    And when they close down real blogs and leave splogs, just how does that serve their business model? It’s an interesting service concept.

    Ah well, sucker born every day and all that. Now, excuse me, I have to go shop for a new home for our library blog. You know, that one that’s so full of spam.

    Savannah L.
    Dogsbody, Seldovia Public Library”

UPDATE: Looks like their blog got fixed. Savannah write:

    “Caught your post of our blogging adventures and wanted to followup with what happened next. As one of your commenters noted, we’re back in business at the blogger site.

    The news came by email with the message: “Thanks for writing in. We apologize for the delayed response. Your blog has been reviewed, verified, and whitelisted so that it will no longer appear as potential spam. If you sign out of Blogger and sign back in again, you should be able to post as normal. Thanks for your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.”

    It then went on to chew over the assumption that I couldn’t log in to my account (although I’d told them that only the locked warning was broken for me, not my account login), offered some tips on using IE (I wasn’t) and suggested I try Firefox (I already was).

    So despite my feeling as though I should be tapping the mike and asking if it were turned on, I did get the blog back and that’s the important thing. I’ll never know whether it was my emails, my group postings (including a mention on a support blog), a call for help another blogging friend posted where some of the right eyes might see it, or just karma in general coming back into better alignment.

    If nothing else, there has been a satisfying bit of happily ever after to this all. Saturday while I was at work I was telling our administrator about the problem and a grade school voice popped up from the junior fiction area with “The library has a blog? Really? Can I see it?” So we trotted over to the computer and waited for it to load while I explained that we post all the new books and movies every week or so. The young man carefully read the whole main page and came back to the desk and asked if I would help him find two of those new titles that took his fancy. I did, and he left happy, with two new books he wouldn’t otherwise have stumbled upon. Now that, blogger, is
    why we are online and want to stay that way.

    Savannah Lewis
    Dogsbody, Seldovia Public Library”

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