Blogsquat revisited

Doc Searls pointed to a note on Anthony Rickey's blog about the original home of the wonderful Volokh Conspiracy getting blogjacked by a Google-bombing SEO blogsquatter.

Same thing happened to me earlier this year - I was blogsquatted by some lowlife scumwad calling himself "SEO Dave". This totally sucked, and still does.

Google/Blogger were eventually able to take back the Blog*spot domain I used to own, but all the old content had been hosed. So I now have  "llareggolb.blogspot.com" back, but the only thing there is a single post redirecting people to my current domain, here.

The weirdest thing about this blogsquatting was that, at the time, the #1 Google result for my own name was pointing to this "SEO Dave" wanker. Really rather unpleasantly scary.

And the really, really stupid thing about all this is the way it happened:

1. After a few years of footling around and easing into this thing, I finally got round to switching my Blog*spot blog to a "real" domain: michaelocc.com.

2. I changed the publishing preferences in Blogger to switch things to FTP to my area of the shared co-op server on which my domain was going to live, away from the previous Blog*spot settings.

3. I ran a couple of tests to see that everything worked, then tried to switch things back, temporarily, so that I could post a final re-direct message to the old blog.

4. Doh! Blogger wouldn't let me switch back - stating that the Blogspot domain "llareggolb.blogspot.com" (my own one) was already in use. Yes - it was in use by me, you fools - fifteen minutes ago.  Give it back!

5. Spent a few hours and several messages to Blogger support trying to figure this out. No response.

6. Screw it.

7. Carried on blogging at new site regardless, but posted another message to Blogger's support forum, pleading for help.

8. Months later, accidentally discovered the old blog site had been hijacked.

9. Several weeks and many more messages to Blogger support later...

10. They reset llareggolb.blogspot.com so that it now shows up in my list of owned blogs, but none of the archive content could be found. Bollocks.

For the record, the last round of dialogue with Blogger Support (they don't call it "BS" for nothing) went like this:

BS: llareggolb is now yours again- log into your Blogger account and you'll see it in your blog list. Let us know if you need any further assistance.

ME: Thanks, that feels better. Good job. But have you any idea:

a.  what happened (and how)?
b.  where all my content went?

I'm still a bit bothered about this for a number of reasons.  Having moved my blog to a hosted FTP-able site, I don't think I can now switch back and re-publish all my old stuff to the old llareggolb domain.  But there's a lot of Googletracks out there pointing to the old llareggolb stuff. How do I get my old content back up to the llareggolb site?  Or set a redirect or something?  [... further polite supplications ...] Thanks in advance.

BS: I asked around, and it seems that when a blog switches from Blog*Spot to ftp publishing, its subdomain goes back to the wild... Your content went with you to the new ftp site, and I'm assuming the dude deleted and/or republished with new content at the old subdomain.

Thanks for nothing.

Good thing I'd already ported the entire archive across to my new blog - so no actual content was lost.

The irritating coda to this, however, is that my blog has been rendered essentially unsearchable.

As I often use this blog as a kind of giant online scrapbook, a personal catalogue of thoughts-in-progress, links I like, etc.; this inability to search is genuinely frustrating.  I can Google for anything on my blog prior to the switchover, the links all pointing deep into the archives of the old site (they still exist out there, somewhere in GoogleLand - but I'm buggered if I can access them directly. The Google string: [michael o'connor clarke doc searls], for example, still brings up this (complete with the hideous old template) even though that content was long since ported across to here).

Googling for anything since I switched, however, draws a blank. 

Getting Google to recognize and index the content on my site has proven, so far, impossible.  Their index shows that michaelocc.com exists, but they studiously ignore anything posted here since I stopped paying them for an ad-free Blog*spot site, while continuing to merrily direct people to anything on the old site (now once again carrying banner ads, of course).  Grrrrr...

I'm sure there are simple, technical reasons for this and equally simple, technical ways to fix it - but I'm simply not techie enough to be able to figure it out for myself. 

That, of course, is the role of my blog vendor's technical support department.  Alas - the tech support at Blogger, even with all of Google's millions behind it, continues to suck. A sparse handful of over-worked clueholders surrounded by a host of RTFMers.

On which note - is Google alone among the world's largest software companies in not having a clearly available customer support department?

Seriously: go to the Google "Contact Us" page. No customer help desk listed. Sure, you can post to the User Support Discussion Forum -- if you want to consign your problem to the purgatory of disregard -- but where's the help desk?  Do Google corporate clients and AdWords customers have a different experience? 

(BTW: I have one of the coveted early Gmail accounts - happy to say that the web UI does indeed include contact info for their Gmail support team. Still wondering what the deal is with their main engine, though...)

Instead of all this whining, I guess I should just get down to figuring out how to put a search box back on my site, using Atomz or something.  But given the omniscience of Google, adding a search box to a Blogger-based blog seems kind of redundant, really - doesn't it? Or it would do, if the darn thing worked the way it's supposed to.


[UPDATE: This is all now fixed.  Doc pointed to my rant.  Google responded.  Eric Case in their Blogger Support squad held my hand and coached me through fixing the problem.  It's all better now and I take back all the nasty things I said].