Should you be worried that Blogger will delete your blog?

deleteA real concern for Blogger users is whether Blogger could (and would) delete their blog without warning or explanation. Indeed, there are many forums where people have posted their horror stories regarding the deletion of their Blogger blogs.

After reading such stories, many Blogger users begin to panic and make arrangements to “defect” to WordPress believing this to be  safer place to home the hard work they have put into their posts.

Should we really be concerned that our Blogger blogs will be deleted without warning?

In short, the answer is “NO”!

The vast majority of Blogger users should not feel concerned in the slightest. Only blogs which are believed to violate Blogger’s Terms of Service or Content Policy will be deleted; even then a warning will be issued to the owner of the blog to explain these issues along with the means to appeal against the threat of deletion.

Why would Blogger delete a blog?

Those who complain their blog has been “suddenly” deleted by Blogger generally fall into one of two categories:

  1. Those who have consciously broken Blogger’s terms of service (spammers, scrapers and malicious hackers)
  2. Those who have not logged into their Blogger account for a long time  (and whose contact details are not up to date) whose blog was flagged under suspicion of malicious content and did not respond in due time.

Blogs which have violated Blogger’s terms of service are likely to contain:

  • Spam or transmit malicious code (viruses)
  • Infringements of copyright (where the author has unlawfully copied copyrighted content without permission)
  • Hateful content, which is directed to any group of people (based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity)
  • Violent content, where threat is directed towards a person or group of people
  • Private or confidential information (such as social security details, credit card numbers, and other personal information)

In my opinion, only a small percentage of Blogger users would deliberately violate Blogger’s terms of service by publishing such content on their blogs. Since these bloggers bound themselves to these terms when signing up with Blogger, they should also be prepared for their service to be suspended when found to be violating these terms.

My blog has been suspended/deleted – But I haven’t done anything wrong!

Unfortunately, some innocent Blogger users find their blogs to be suspended (or worse, deleted) because they are suspected of publishing content which violates Blogger’s policies.

innocent

There are literally millions of blogs using the Blogger platform (a Google search today produced 305,000,000 results!). Policing this vast number of blogs manually would be a mammoth task requiring thousands of participants. Instead, Blogger uses automated systems to analyse blogs for potentially malicioius content; sites which are suspected of violating the content policy are then suspended. When this happens, a notice will be sent to the owner of the blog in question, and a notice will be posted on the owner’s dashboard along with details of how to appeal:

If your blog is disabled, it will be listed on your Dashboard, but you will not be able to click on it to access it. If this is the case, there will be a grace period during which you can request that it be reviewed and recovered. The disabling is a result of our automated classification system marking it as spam. Because this system is automated there will necessarily be some false positives, though we’re continually working on improving our algorithms to avoid these. If your blog is not a spam blog, then it was one of the false positives, and we apologize (from Blogger Help).

Blogs which are suspended are not deleted right away. Instead, the owner has around two weeks to respond to this suspension by means of appeal. Each appeal is examined personally (by a human) to determine whether a violation of content has actually happened, or whether the automated systems identified a false positive.

Where a genuine mistake has occured and an appeal filed against the suspension, the blog will be fully restored (usually within a few hours).

In cases where an accidental violation of content has resulted in suspension of the blog (for example, after embedding a widget or script which seemed innocent but violates content policy), more details would be provided to the blog owner so the offending content can be removed before the blog is restored fully.

Blogs which potentially contain content which violates Bloggers terms will be deleted after a certain time unless the owner appeals against the decision. Therefore, it is very important to keep your contact details up to date with Blogger!

If your email address is outdated, you will not receive such notifications from Blogger and risk having your blogs deleted in the (unlikely) case that your blog is flagged as “spam”.

To update your email address simply sign in to your Google account and add/edit your email address in the “Personal Settings” section. The “Primary” email address is that which such notifications will be sent to, so be sure this is an email address you check often!

If you have not updated your Blogger account to link this with your Google account, you can log into Blogger using your old log-in details and will be prompted to create/manage your Google account. After this, you will be able to update your email address in your Google account settings.

My blog has been deleted. Can I get it back?

Even if your blog has been deleted and your grace period has expired, there may be a chance you could have your blog restored. Check your dashboard to see if there is any notification of suspension and if so, follow the steps offered to appeal against this decision.

Alternatively, contact Blogger support by filling in a form from this page or by posting a polite request in the Blogger Help Group which is monitored by members of the Blogger Support team.

What about “Adult” sites?

Blogger does permit “adult content” to be published using the platform as outlined in the content policy. Those who choose to post adult content are advised to have a “content warning” page before the main content is shown which advises visitors of potentially objectional material. This setting can be toggled through the “Adult content” setting in the Settings>Basic section of the Blogger dashboard.

This setting is useful to prevent minors from accidentally accessing the page, but as some Blogger users have informed me, this also prevents results from their blog appearing on “safe” searches of major search engines.

Those who publish adult images/video in their Blogger blogs may find their blogs subject to a mandatory content warning page as outlined in Blogger’s Content Policy:

Image and video content that contains nudity, sexually graphic material, or material that is otherwise deemed explicit by Google should be made private. Otherwise, we may put such content behind an interstitial.

Adult sites published for commercial purposes are not permitted at all.

Are Blogger’s Policies Fair?

Although there are a handful of web hosts which turn a bline eye to malicious code, copyright infringement and other unwanted content, these are few and far between. Reputable blog hosts and blogging services have similar terms of service to those imposed by Blogger, and would delete/suspend accounts which violate these terms in much the same way.

balanced

Blogger seems to have attracted an unwarranted bad reputation for deleting blogs which violate the terms of service, especially when cracking down on the number of spam blogs in the system (when innocent bloggers are caught in the crossfire).

We must understand that Blogger hosts millions of blogs with few limitations on what we can post. Our blogs are hosted for free with no limitations on the number of posts or size, and there are no time limits for how long a blog will be available to read or update.

Due to the sheer scale of Bloggers service, there are also many voices of complaint. But when you consider the terms of use, and the methods Blogger use to try and make the community a spam/virus and friendly place to blog, is it reasonable to accuse Blogger of being unfair?

Think about it this way: if Blogger was to delete blogs “willy nilly”, there would be a massive outcry from the whole blogging community. Blogger does not delete blogs for no reason: only those which are suspected of malicious activity will be deleted, and only then after a suspension and grace period where the author can appeal.

Would you prefer Blogger to be a service where spammers, hackers and content scrapers run riot or one which looks after the community as a whole, removing questionable blogs where nescessary and ensuring false-positives can be rectified where innocent blogs are suspended?

I imagine 99.9% of Blogger users prefer the latter option; those who choose the first would be better posting elsewhere…

How to ensure your blog is not deleted

To ensure the safety of your blog, you only need to do two things:

  1. Adhere to the terms of service
  2. Ensure your contact details are up to date

Blogger continually refines the methods used to automatically scan and suspend blogs suspected of questionable content, though a tiny percentage of false positives occasionally occur. By ensuring your email address is up to date, you can deal with any issues quickly. Rather than complain about blogs being suspended, feel safer in the knowledge that Blogger is working to make this service a safe and enjoyable experience for us all.

Image credits: Delete button by .::HIMU::.; Silence by circo de inviern0; Balancing child by Pink Sherbert Photography. All via Flickr Creative Commons.

Disclosure: In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that the site owner is benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website. This is not to say that is the case with all content, as all publications on the site are original and written to provide value and references to our audience.

12 Comments

  1. Heather April 20, 2009
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