Google mislabels Blogger sites as splogs, locks them

A bug led Google to misidentify as splogs a number of blogs hosted on its Blogger service.

In an attempt to rid its Blogger service from spam blogs, or splogs, Google mistakenly flagged a number of legitimate sites last week, prompting the company to scramble to unlock them.

A bug in Google's data processing code caused the problem, leading the detection system to lock Blogger blogs that had otherwise passed the inspection by the company's spam algorithms, Google said on Saturday in an official blog.

"We are adding additional monitoring and process checks to ensure that bugs of this magnitude are caught before they can affect your data," wrote a Google official named Siobhan in the Blogger Buzz blog Saturday.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, so the scope of the problem isn't clear, but it apparently was significant, judging by the contriteness expressed in various official postings.

"We want to offer our sincerest apologies to affected bloggers and their readers," the official wrote. "At Blogger, we strongly believe that you own and should control your posts and other data. We understand that you trust us to store and serve your blog, and incidents like this one are a betrayal of that trust."

Google, which sent e-mail to the horrified publishers of the flagged blogs notifying them their sites had been locked after being classified as spam, first acknowledged the problem on Friday afternoon.

"To those folks who have received an email saying that your blog has been classified as spam and can't post right now, we offer our sincere apologies for the trouble," a Google official named Brett wrote on Blogger Buzz on Friday. Google posted a similar announcement on another official Blogger blog called Blogger Status.

All blogs incorrectly flagged as spam have been reinstated, according to Google.

Blogger users began reporting the spam-identification problem early last week to the official Blogger Help Group, starting numerous threads about the issue.

The intensity of many of the complaints highlights the sense of helplessness individuals and businesses feel when a trusted technology provider fails them, even if the affected service is free, as is the case with the Web-hosted Blogger publishing platform.

With the popularity of cloud computing rising, many users, from individual bloggers to large corporations, are increasing their use of Web-hosted software, which offers a number of advantages but leaves them with little power to address outages or loss of data, since vendors have the applications in their servers.

Google's actions to clean up the Blogger platform no doubt respond to its broad misuse by scammers and malicious hackers to link to or distribute malware, a problem recently documented by Internet consumer advocacy group StopBadware.org.

Scammers' exploit of Blogger made Google the owner of the fifth-largest malware-infected network in the world in May, according to StopBadware.org, which counts Google among its supporters.

In June, a Blogger bug affected publishers that post to their blogs via FTP (File Transfer Protocol).

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?