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Should you be worried that Blogger will delete your blog?

Posted by on 20th Apr 2009 | 12 comments

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.


Amanda is a freelance blogger and web/blog designer. She writes about Blogger at www.BloggerBuster.com and maintains several other blogs on various subjects.

12 comments - Leave a reply
  • Posted by Heather on 20th Apr 2009

    I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want to host my site where there is even the slightest chance that it will be deleted. Sure, you might be able to get it back if Blogger shuts down your blog, but why should I have to jump through hoops to access all of the content that I worked so hard to write? For me, WordPress is the only logical choice.

  • Posted by PC on 20th Apr 2009

    As long as we were on Blogger, the very thought that one fine day they could suddenly delete the blog in one click was really scary.

  • Posted by Roseli A. Bakar on 20th Apr 2009

    If you are following the rules, you have nothing to worry about.

  • Posted by Simran on 21st Apr 2009

    Really useful information for bloggers

  • Posted by Joseph Martel on 27th Apr 2009

    I feel rest assured after reading that article. I will continue as I have before. Thanks

  • Posted by Tonio on 28th Apr 2009

    Very interesting post. Thanks !

  • Posted by gautami tripathy on 29th Apr 2009

    My blog was deleted without any prior information on 27th of April.

    It was supposed to have malware. It was a book blog, nothing which violated anything.

    I am trying to get it restored without much help from any source.

  • Posted by Timothy Lyrics on 7th May 2009

    Good post, detailed and well-written, which is rare these days.

  • Posted by @jackyan on 21st Oct 2010

    This was my experience with Blogger:
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091228/1803277

    It took the intervention of Rick Klau, Blogger’s product manager, before the blog was restored, after six months—not two days or two weeks.

    The blog remained accessible through a back door, but no new posts could be published between July and November 2009 (though they could be queued and composed). We kept submitting it to the reviews, to no avail. By the time we got to the forums, it was a total disaster.

    Admittedly, there was something on the page that triggered the Google bot (I am not at liberty to say what, but it was not malware), but the review process is extremely flawed and does not work the way you state.

    After that, we moved everything off Blogger. After that and the Google Buzz débâcle, I lost a lot of trust in the Google brand. I even search on DuckDuckGo now.
    My recent post Wellington needs a new brand for a new decade

  • Posted by Krishna on 26th Dec 2010

    Yes, I think the process is not so simple. I have visited the help forums as shown in the RESTORE button and found that most of the deleted blogs were NOT restored. Moreover, it is a quite insulting experience for a person who does not violate terms and DO NOT spam, because he is shown as a SPAMMER or something like that. The best way to recover the content and use them in a new blog is to recover them from apps like Google Reader, from where the contents are NOT deleted.
    My recent post WP announces WordPress 31 Release

  • Posted by @the_middle_man on 21st Apr 2011

    This is the story as given by Google/Blogger but the reality is completely different. I have just had a blog deleted which was filled with original content, absolutely no spam, no scraped content, not even any advertising other than Google AdSense. The blog was arbitrarily deleted by the robots but was then supposedly "reviewed" by humans. It cannot possibly have been reviewed by humans because any human would have noticed that it wasn't a spam site. When I sought assistance through Google Help the guy there subjected me to taunts and verbal abuse as I pleaded with him for some help to try to reinstate my blog. They treat the whole thing as one big laugh and if you try to plead with them that you have put hundreds of hours of work into the site they think that is funnier still. I am no PC wizard and find WordPress more difficult but I am going to need to crack it just for the security of my remaining blogs. In the meantime I would urge anyone who is with Blogger to back up their work (Settings/Export/Download/Save) because this is becoming commonplace. Also don't use Google AdSense as this is what seems to trigger off the robots in the first place.

  • Posted by Sabre on 8th May 2011

    The Middle Man is exactly right.
    I have had two blogs deleted by Blogger as "Spam" this year, after they both had been running since 2007.
    There were no ads or affiliate links, just Google's own Adsense.
    The content was so unique, I had to continually file DMCAs because it was being copied like you wouldn't believe.
    Over 40,000 hits a month, lots of followers, but it's spam.
    Riiiight.
    I guess all those people just love spam huh?

    My recent post American and Canadian Luchadoras