We all wonder. And if you don't, start wondering now. Can Blogger (the platform we all love—or don't) delete your blog—put it to death—without your permission, without warning, without mercy?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Blogger certainly can delete your blog if you're posting content that violates their content policy—it's only fair. But that can't be the full story. You've probably heard somebody claim that Blogger sometimes deletes perfectly legitimate blogs, and unfortunately this is true.
About a month ago, somebody contacted me and asked for help with their Dynamic Views template, and needing to be able to play with the template myself, I used one of my spare blogs I had lying around. Up until then, the blog had been private, but Dynamic Views can only be activated when a blog is public (does this make sense? No, but I'll complain about that another time). And public it was. Once I had done what I needed to do, I changed the template again, did some exploring in the HTML, and then got sidetracked. About an hour later, I checked my email and just about exploded—or maybe I imploded. I don't know. Either way, I couldn't believe my eyes:
Fury—that's what I felt. Blogger had betrayed me.
In one of my previous posts, Is Blogger Really a Piece of Junk?, I touched this issue of deletion briefly. I titled the people who steer clear of Blogger because they had heard their blog could be deleted without warning "phobic", and called it just "another reason people dislike Blogger that makes no sense." I admit—the statement was somewhat unfounded. In my research, I had found that Blogger, when they "accidentally" flag your blog as spam, will send a nice email and give you the option to have it reviewed and restored. Yet there I was, blogless (well, not quite—I have around 10 others) with only a brief, unsympathetic email to ruin my day—and there I had been for years, a loyal fan of my beloved blogging platform. For the moment, I was anything but that.
Does this look like a spam blog to you? Ha!
Then I cooled off. Was it such a big deal? After all, it was only a test blog. So, no real loss. Right?
Yes, I remained composed for about 30 seconds. And then, "but—but—" I thought, "what if it had been Template Faerie?" Fury took over again. There is no doubt that in my post on Google+ I was frustrated. My trust in Blogger had been destroyed.
By now, the Wordpress critters are probably giggling with glee. But I'm not done yet.
If your blog has been deleted, it's not the end of the worldIt turns out that I was right: if your blog has been flagged as spam, it's not permanently deleted—only disabled—and it's possible to restore it. Unfortunately, Blogger failed to say so in their email, but they do say so in the Blogger Help.
I wasn't originally going to restore my test blog, but I decided I would, because it's about time there was some solid information on this.
How to restore your deleted Blogger blogBlogger mentions that after your blog has been disabled, there's a grace period, to allow you to request a review by a real human being. I don't know how long this period is, though I waited 29 days before I decided to restore my blog, so I expect it's at least 30 days. My advice? Don't use your blog as a test. Restore it as soon as possible.
On your Blogger dashboard, there should be a section called Deleted blogs, where your poor blog has been dumped.
When you click on the Restore button, you'll be directed to a page where you can verify your account by entering your phone number. I chose the text message option.
They sent me a 6-digit verification code, which I entered into the text box on the next page.
You'll then be directed back to the dashboard. Click on the Restore button again, and a popup will appear where you can request a review of your blog.
Your blog will be restored within one business day. I was delighted when I got this email:
And yes—they did say "for" twice. But at least it was slightly more friendly than the first email.
Blogger, I forgive youBlogger has every right to delete spam blogs; I think it's good of them to do so. But I'm still upset.
I don't think most people know their deleted blog can be restored. Blogger doesn't say so, at least, not in their email. What they did say to me was that my blog had been "reviewed and confirmed as in violation of [their] Terms of Service." Reviewed by whom? A robot?
And what about the people who have a large following? Poof—all of a sudden, their blog vanishes. What are readers left to think? And how are bloggers supposed to sleep at night when they have to worry that an undisciplined computer could accidentally flag their blog as spam? Yet another reason why you should always save your blog posts to your computer as well as regularly download an XML backup of your posts, comments, and template.
I don't think Blogger should stop fighting spam. But bloggers need a warning. If their blog is suspected to be spam, they should be given a chance to have a review done before it's disabled. Spam blogs aren't run by real people, and I don't think spam bots would know how to check their email, let alone comprehend the meaning of a warning from Blogger. If they don't request a review within a certain amount of time, fine—disable their blog, but still give them the option to restore it. That's how I would do it, by the way.
If your blog has been deleted and you nurse a hatred for Blogger, I understand. Even so, I'm not going anywhere. Blogger has been my platform of choice for years, and I can't see myself switching now.
But does this change my opinion of Blogger? Not really. While Blogger doesn't own your content (as they state in the TOS), they host your blog, and consequently, they have a right to delete it if they think you're a spammer. It seems fair to me. Unfortunately, they make mistakes sometimes. Nevertheless, I still think Blogger is an excellent platform. They would have to do something much worse (like deleting my Template Faerie blog) to get me to go somewhere else.
How can you avoid being flagged as spam?Unfortunately, I don't have an answer for this. Blogger describes spam blogs as containing "irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text, along with a large number of links, usually all pointing to a single site." How our legitimate blogs are getting put in such a category, I have no idea.
Granted, my blog had one post constructed of two sentences, but even so, it wouldn't be considered a spam blog. Blogger reinstated it, after all.
To avoid being the victim of Blogger's feared blog-deleting machine, the best thing you can do is create quality content, which, if you didn't know, is equally important for the development of a successful blog.