Saturday, August 02, 2008

Hey, look!

I can post again!

On 31JUL I received the following e-mail:

Hello,

Your blog at: http://thelawdogfiles.blogspot.com/ has been identified as a potential spam blog. To correct this, please request a review by filling out the form at http://www.blogger.com/unlock-blog.g?lockedBlogID=22957834

Your blog will be deleted within 20 days if it isn't reviewed, and you'll be unable to publish posts during this time. After we receive your request, we'll review your blog and unlock it within two business days. If this blog doesn't belong to you, you don't have to do anything, and any other blogs you may have won't be affected.

We find spam by using an automated classifier. Automatic spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and occasionally a blog like yours is flagged incorrectly. We sincerely apologize for this error. By using this kind of system, however, we can dedicate more storage, bandwidth, and engineering resources to bloggers like you instead of to spammers. For more information, please see Blogger Help: http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=42577

Thank you for your understanding and for your help with our spam-fighting efforts.

Sincerely,

The Blogger Team

P.S. Just one more reminder: Unless you request a review, you won't be able to use your blog. Click this link to request the review: http://www.blogger.com/unlock-blog.g?lockedBlogID=22957834


I noted several things about this e-mail -- one of which was that the e-mail was sent to my TheLawDogFiles-at-g-mail-dot.com address.

Since my account here at Blogger (and this blog, which is, obviously, part of the account) uses a totally different e-mail address ... I would have thought that the folks at Blogger would not only have known this, but would have had access to my account e-mail.

Since the notification came to the public -- and blind -- e-mail address located prominently on the front page of my blog, I figured it was a clumsy attempt at phishing for personal information, or my Blogger account details.

Because, you know, if the Staff at Blogger needed to contact med about my account/blog, they'd use my official account/blog e-mail in their records, right?

Shows what I know.

Got in from work last night, log in to the old blog -- and I find a chirpy little note informing me that posting to my blog has been locked due to it being a spam blog. If a mistake had been made, the note went on to say, then I should click on a link, and my blog would be reviewed with posts allowed after a review which would take place sometime in the next two working days.

Until then, sayeth the note, I could save 'Drafts' of any posts -- which could be posted after the review -- in two working days -- and ... if ... my blog was determined not to be, in fact, a spam blog.

This front page notice is about as much explanation as Blogger apparently deems appropriate for this kind of situation.

*sigh*

You know, renting some web-space and setting up The LawDog Files someplace free from the foibles and whims of a faceless someone else is starting to look pretty good about right now.

LawDog

37 comments:

Miguel said...

The same thing happened to an old blog I had. If they are dumb enough to block a blog for spam without reading it, they can do even worse if given a chance.

If you get your own domain, make sure the Webhost has Wordpress installed with the package. If I am not mistaken, you can transfer all your files from Blogspot to Wordpress but I am sure one of your readers is more informed about how to go about it than me.

Old NFO said...

Welcome to the net... Free to all and free to publish (kinda, sorta) they can take down a REAL blogger, but can't catch the @%$^& spammers that send millions of emails a month... sigh...

Anonymous said...

Hi Lawdog,
Long time reader. This has apparently happened to a bunch of bloggers; if you aren't a rabid lefty, your account gets marked as "spam".

Via the Instapundit, Dr Helen had the same thing happen to her, although her blog has been "restored". Wordpress doesn't seem to have the same problems.

If you read slashdot.org, the censoring of blogs has been an ongoing topic of discussion, along with Google's selective "results" when searching. And since Google owns Blogger, one wonders...

Steve Sky

Chris said...

What the heck is a spam blog? A blog with unwanted content? Spam emails are emails sent to unwilling recipients but I can't imagine someone being unwilling dragged to a "spam" blog.

Regarding anonymous's comments regarding the censoring of less-than-leftwing blogs, I've noticed a trend in email censorship as well. For about a year now, my ISP, Centurytel.net, has blocked emails and newsletters from NRA/ILA, missouricarry.com, iowacarry.org, David Kopel, David Hardy, gunvoter.org, and a few others that I only suspect. I wouldn't know of this at all if the admin of one of those sites hadn't contacted me via an alternate account and shared the headers of the bounced messages with me. This censorship occurs at the system server according to secret third party blacklists.

I knew this was going on with emails but had not heard of blogs being blacklisted as "spam" before.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to media-induced censorship, kiddies. Then go vote for Osama and his frothing at the mouth wife and see just how bad it can get.

Zundfolge said...

Look at the top blue bar on the home page of this blog.

Note the button that says "Flag".


Basically whats happened lately is that operatives from the Obama campaign (and other devotees to the Messiahbama) have started flagging any blog with anything remotely anti Obama on it as Spam in hopes of shutting down people they don't agree with.

More proof that Obama is a clean shaven, darker complected Stalin.


God help us if this SOB becomes President.

Zundfolge said...

forgot to post this link

http://bloggasm.com/whos-responsible-for-shutting-down-a-number-of-anti-obama-blogspot-accounts

Angry Professor said...

Conspiracy theories are fun and everything, but I am a "rabid lefty" and my blog was shut down yesterday, too.

I still can't post. I'm glad LawDog can.

bogie said...

Lots of noise about this happening lately... Mostly to gun-type folks. I think someone in their cube farm did a quickie search on a few terms, and then went after some folks.

Dawg, you really need to give Derek a yell... FWIW, I bought the "www.lawdogfiles.com" domain (and promptly pointed it toward whatever this thing is) because i never could remember the damn address - I will -happily- transfer it to you. It'll cost you a Shiner should we ever occupy the same general area.

"gunner" said...

so that's why i couldn't visit here last night, blocked out no matter what i tried, even tried sneaking in from "atns"'s blog but no joy. is there any way i can whack these people upside the head with a large wet fish.
"gunner"

Chuck Dye said...

'Dog,

Going independent sounds great to me! At the first sign of a valid address or account number, my check or credit card hit is on its way. No huge amount will be forthcoming but something on the order of another magazine subscription: the Files are, after all, a cover-to-cover read.

Chuck

Rorschach said...

I've got a little experiment going in this vein. I've created a "dummy" blog with a title that should be a honeypot for the OsamaObamaYoMomma morons. wherein I ask people to flag the blog and post a comment on my regular blog so I will know how many flaggings it takes for it to be pulled down.
http://googlelovestheobamamessiah.blogspot.com/2008/08/this-is-test-this-is-only-test.html

Tam said...

I love the conspiracy theories in various Blogger comments sections around the web.

"zomg it's teh Obamahippies / Karl Rove!"

No, Google updated their automated Splog-finder.

Lefty blogs, righty blogs, mommy blogs, gun blogs, puppy blogs, knitting blogs, music blogs... They got automated emails seemingly at random (or at least as generated by some indecipherable algorithm) and were temporarily locked. Blogger's customer service forum (for those who checked) was clogged with thousands of comments. Blogger's main blog (again, for those who checked there,) contained a big apology and a promised rapid fix.

Most folks were too busy folding Reynold's Wrap into sailor hats to go check, though...

Lugosi said...

Good grief. How did Obama get dragged into this "spam blog" mess?
My site got shut down yesterday but you don't see me blaming one candidate or another. That's because I have enough sense to blame it on the people who are REALLY responsible for the fiasco: Illegal aliens.

bogie said...

Hey, the web space is a cheap rental - in fact, if our favorite canine works it right, a group of blogs could be hosted off the same server... And if it goes down, well, we have the added bonus of watching Derek melt down in public on the support forums...

Of course, if support is required - you could always sell t-shirts...

Anonymous said...

Blogger has been on the down slide for yeas IMHO. They haven't kept up with the growth of traffic and the problems with what I call troll blogs. Too cheap to hire sufficient and good enough help.

ditto said...

I think Sailor hats are getting a bad rap.
What ever happened to the standard foil beanie?

Evil Lunch Lady said...

Could this have anything to do with I.E. having problems?? Hammer stated it was because of sitemeter?? Damn internet!

Kelly(Mom of 6) said...

"Basically whats happened lately is that operatives from the Obama campaign (and other devotees to the Messiahbama) have started flagging any blog with anything remotely anti Obama on it as Spam in hopes of shutting down people they don't agree with."

Really? That's worth testing out...

Jeremy Pope said...

Hey Lawdog,

I use www.nearlyfreespeech.net for (most of) my hosting, and they are super-cool. Libertarian,(really) cheap, and funny.

Hope this helps.

bogie said...

Problem is that any system where others have even minor editorial control is open to abuse.

Dog, you've already got your own domain (just fax me a Shiner). Bother me at bogie7 with mindspring period com, okay? Your blog has achieved critical mass - it can be moved with no problems. Now call Derek.

Anonymous said...

In some areas of thought, blogs are considered part of the media, largely because of their accessibility and influence on large numbers of people, many of whom are susceptible to the last thing they read or the last thing they heard.
Having been a journalist for many years, I know how manipulative the media can be, and I know how to do it. It only takes a word. Note that I said 'journalist' rather than 'reporter.' I am manipulating your concept of me with just that one word. (I could have said 'single word' there and achieved a minor shift in your concept of what I'm saying.)
Blogs are the only remaining 'media' which have not been censored for content. Freedom of speech is alive and well in the blogs.
That's fortunate, as the so-called professional media is unethically in my opinion, pushing Barack Obama into the White House. They are playing on the awful American capacity for ancestral guilt, combined with a reverse guilt when it comes to Moslems. It's a win-win(or lose-lose) situation.
IF the blogs are suddenly censored-and I'm not saying that they are-then fairness and justice in many things, not the least of which is the political scene, and consequently the government that controls our lives, is out the window.
I view this entire manipulation of the American public with considerable wariness, remembering, among other things, the media promise to bring down Richard Nixon.
I hear the wails now: "Look at what he did!" Oh, yeah? Look at what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, or what William Jefferson Clinton did-or, reaching back to an icon and a man of great brilliance and foresight, what Thomas Jefferson did.
Not saying that any of this is right and good, but that 'doing' is common among the men (and women) at the top. Pun intended.
Give it to the media, and they will make a non-judicial decision to emphasize the pro or the con of it, and glory in the numbers that follow their lead.
Let's take a couple of recent examples:
Michelle Obama's purple dress.
On the one hand, "it really pinged against her skin" (that's a positive)
On the other, "it was gaudy as hell" (that's a negative)
Cindy McCain's ponytail.
One the one hand, " her hair is a beautiful and shining cindre' swept tastefully back" (positive)
On the other, "old-fashioned style and not age-appropriate" (negative)
These things are trivial, but they build a picture in the voters' minds.
All of which is to say that politically-influenced censorship of blogs is possible, and a little paranoia in this political climate won't hurt.
LawMom

bogie said...

Back in the day...

(I was a mass com/journalism/public relations major, worked Army public affairs)

...we were told that we -had- to be impartial reporters. There was the front page, and there was the editorial page, and you didn't mix the two.

I suspect that if I sat in on a "modern" journalism course today that I'd likely become disruptive...

Anonymous said...

Hey, bogie-I AM disruptive. My ethics may be old-fashioned, but they are, at least, ethics.
LawMom

J.R.Shirley said...

Jesus' balls.

Kind of like how PayPal suddenly decided that I need to verify all my information months after I went to Afghistan- and then froze me after I called them idiots via email and gave them logical reasons for the title.

Most of Derek's customers seem very content.

streetsweeper said...

LawDog; LawMom, et all

*Un-named service* has been selectively searching blogs for anti-you know who comments, ect.

LD? Anything is possible with *you know what service* & someone flagging your excellent blog as spam....

If you like a friend of mine will most likely host your blog free of charge.

His service is based out of Houston. He is very good at what he does & you run it how you want without repercussions.

Lemme know, I'll gladly hook you up with him. Same goes for anyone else that might be experiencing problems with *un-named service*

Kelly said...

As I understand it, there was an issue a couple of months or so back with there being a weekend where many conservative bloggers (and not just with the Blogger service) found themselves having been flagged/reported over the weekend, and the ones who use Blogger were temporarily locked. And it looked like that very well could have been a bunch of Obama supporters flagging/reporting them. On the one hand, Tam is right... this is unrelated, and folks should read up on what's going on. On the other hand, I'm inclined to say people shouldn't do rotten things if they don't want to be suspected the next time something similar to what they did happens.

I believe I remember reading that some of the bloggers who'd been locked down in that incident were looking at moving over to WordPress because they will investigate a reported blog and then shut it down if necessary, rather than shutting it down until you prove you've done nothing wrong.

Bob Durtschi said...

Apparently it's a form of harasment

Munchkin Wrangler reported the same thing
http://munchkinwrangler.wordpress.com/2008/08/03/screw-blogger/

"It seems they just shotgunned those out to everyone in an effort to shut down any blog that’s not updated anymore or something. (Either that, or someone’s reporting a shitload of pro-gun leaning blogs as “spam”.)"

Tam said...

Bob Durtschi,

Go read the post at Atomic Nerds entitled "Tin Foil does NOT make the internet run faster". It's nice and explanatory, if not as exciting as conspiracy theories.

All helicopters are black after midnight... ;)

Dad29 said...

LawDog,

It appears that the 'splog' flags came up around the same time as a SiteMeter code-release.

That code-release prevented all IE7 (and older) users from seeing blogs using SiteMeter--and in some cases, also caused an 'endless loop' reaction for Blogger.

SiteMeter fixed the problem late Saturday afternoon and Blogger seems to have re-instated 'splog' blogs as the loops stopped occurring.

Crucis said...

You can download Wordpress blog software and install on your own server. I have one setup on my home server to support the Cass County (MO) Amateur Radio Emergency Service (http://www.crucis.net/aresblog).

The difficult part is setting up the Logos and theme.

Anonymous said...

It's not just blogs. I recently started my business (making custom concealed carry holsters), and got my own website. Before I ever sent out an unsolicited email, my domain was flagged as a spam host, and now my emails are automatically filtered as spam unless I'm replying to an email someone sent me first.

I've sent a grand total of two emails that were not replies. I called one person and he dug my email out of the spam can, and the other person luckily routinely checks her spam folder before they get deleted.

It may be a concerted effort on the part of the companies which determine what is spam. I believe the spam filters subscribe to a service which keeps them up-to-date on the latest spammer hosts. That company simply tells the subscriber that all gun-related emails and blogs are spam... and the rest is history.

Wyatt Earp said...

I moved from Blogger to WordPress in June and never looked back. Blogger has far too many "bugs" that it still refuses to work out.

Stingray said...

Crucis: Don't forget bandwidth concerns. Not to put too fine a point on it, the man does get a *lot* of traffic. It's a good idea, but with as popular as he is, I don't think it'd be too long before his ISP said "Um, 'scuse me, you're a tad over your monthly limit there. See you next month." Not to mention, is there even infrastructure in Bugscuffle to support the sort of speeds that would make The Lawdog Files run at a decent speed for more than two or three people at a time?

Same idea with a hosting package, now that could work a treat. Provided Mr. Dog either has or can acquire the skills to wrangle wordpress or typepad or something on his own and keep it up to date and secure (not that hard, but he does seem to have a life after all, and I'm baiased on how difficult anything digital is), or has someone to keep an eye on it for him.

Anonymous: If you're renting server space somewhere, it's more likely that another user on the same server is running a spam site, and the shared IP address is what was added to the spam blacklists. The machines don't care if your *name* is "I'm Not Spam.Com", but if the *number* matches up with a known spammer, and it is entirely possible to have more than one name per number on these here tubes, you're lumped in with the baddies. It's probably worth talking to your hosting company about.

bogie said...

Heh, heh...

One of my sites is on shared hosting on Godaddy... And it got hampstered with their "first Monday of the month crap" - some bureaucrat seems to have decided that it's a good time to do their optimizations or something - or something. A 5 second page load turned into 40 plus.

So I got pissed.

And one of the outfits I called was Rackspace. And being I speak sort of the same language as their phone guy (geek), we got to talking about web problems, attacks, etc... And it turns out that Rackspace was hosting Hillary. And they had mondo security guys dedicated to that... And guess who had Obama? Yup. Godaddy.

And I got to hear dirt - seemed that some Hillary supporters ddosed Obama, and even routed some of the Obama pages to Hillary. So now his campaign is STILL doing serious short-term hiring for security stuff...

bogie

Anonymous said...

The problem with Blogger from the get-go is they reserve the right to delete any blog any time for any reason--it was written into the signup agreement back when my blog was there. The funny thing is, the blog they most famously deleted? (By accident.) Google's. The owner of Blogger.

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