A friend of mine recently told me about some troubles he had when Blogspot’s spam detection system decided that his blog was a sblog (spam blog). The process of verifying that he was a person and not a spam robot was a little annoying, but the real problem is that he could have lost everything he’d done on the blog if he hadn’t acted in time.
Everyone who knows my friend thinks it is pretty obvious that he isn’t a computer program designed to create spam, and to folks that read his blog it is also pretty obvious that he isn’t spamming the web. But even then, when I heard about Blogspot making that mistake I thought it was a weird random crappy occurrence.
As it turns out that might not be the case. It seems the system Blogspot is using to find sblogs might need some fine tunning. Why? Well, Google’s own blogspot blog was temporarily erased and their account was deactivated. During that time someone else grabbed the blog url and started playing with it. Google fixed their mistake pretty quickly, but if that happened to someone else I doubt the process would have been so quick and painless.
This should serve as a reminder of the risks in allowing someone else to control your content (whether it is a blog or a DVD you bought). It is a fragile relationship. What makes things worse is that folks can’t easily backup a blogspot blog, though they do offer a complicated ten step procedure to save your blog. Why make what should be a one click process a ten step process, most likely to make it difficult for people to take their blog somewhere else. Blogspot benefits from hosting content.
WordPress.com allows folks a way to export their blog as XML in one click, which is great. Even then you don’t get the same control as hosting your own blog, but you do get much more safety than blogspot. Many folks learn the hard way that you should backup your computer files often unless you don’t mind losing all your stuff, the same goes for blogs. And if your blog host doesn’t let you do that then you should look elsewhere.