Friday, March 17, 2006

I seem to exist again. It's been a long, strange trip. On Tuesday, my blog disappeared completely and my dashboard page on Blogger showed that my blog did not exist. It was Kafkaesque. I didn't feel any different, but, apparently, my four years of blogging had vanished with just a few traces left in Google Cache.

As I was beginning to think that I had been singled out by a cruel universe, I heard that other blogs had had their identities erased: Viking Pundit, Stolen Thunder, and Fausta. As we commiserated with each other in the virtual limbo in which we now existed, we also sent many plaintive emails to Blogger asking what had happened. We got form letters back telling us to look for an answer on their useless help page and that they would look into this. It was impossible to hear from any human being. Their status page kept telling us that they had, at one time, had server problems, but had now fixed those already. Everything was hunky-dory in Bloggerland.

Then I found out that someone named Sam had hijacked my URL and set up a blog with nothing on it except my name. The plot thickened. Angrier emails to Blogger went off.

So, what would you do if you had a blog problem and weren't getting any help from Blogger? Exactly.

I reached out to my friends in the blogosphere to tell them what happened to me. And they responded by putting up posts telling of my plight. I am so grateful to Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds, The Anchoress, Kim at Musing Minds, Lorie Byrd, The Sensible Mom, Joanne Jacobs, Don Singleton, Ed Driscoll, Enlighten NJ, and, of course, my husband, for publicizing my plight. Duane at The Forest for the Trees even set up a special Helping Betsy blog to recover my template. Wow. I'm sure I'm forgetting some of my other blogbuddies who put up posts to help me. And, check out the post at Political Humor telling the alternate history of the blogheist. I can laugh about it now. This is a good sign.

I got dozens and dozens of emails from people all over expressing their dismay at the blognapping and offering help. All sorts of bloggers offered me the opportunity to guest blog and/or to help me start up a new blog. It was wonderful and helped to assuage the depression I was feeling. Thank you so much for all your messages. I really appreciate all the warm fuzzies that you guys sent me.

Then, today, I got a message from Blogger saying that they had recovered my blog and that somehow I had gotten caught up in some massive “automated spam prevention system" action that had thought that my blog was spam. Huh?! Then, the kicker was that they weren't yet ready to give me back my URL but would try to negotiate with the blogjacker who had put up a false Betsy Page using my URL. Huh?! The guy had just appropriated my URL yesterday and they had to ask him pretty please to give it back? Fortunately, after about five hours, they decided that, since all the content and comments had been deleted on the fake Betsy page, that they would kindly restore my URL to me. Thank you.

Google, I think we have a problem. If you're going to start deleting blogs and then take four days to figure out and correct what happened, you're going to lose more and more people. DJ Drummond expresses what a lot a people are thinking about Blogger at this point: they are interested in seeing how Google and Blogger address these problems that they have been having. You may think that we have no reason to complain since we're getting the service for free. But, presumably, Google is not in the blogging business out of charitable impulses. They hope to make money from Blogger. And they will not be able to if they have these sorts of problems. I know that I'm going to be looking into other options.

Thank you, everyone, for all the support in my blogless days. I really appreciate it.

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