Blogger Bans NonBloggers: Boo!

12 Dec

Anybody who’s visited Blogger recently might have noticed that you can no longer leave your URL behind unless you’re on Blogger too. Fine doings from a company that famously promised to do no evil when it first floated its shares in the market. Of course, that was before it made several billions.

Half the people I love to read are currently hosted on Blogger, so it annoys me even further to realize that Blogger is using the talents of people I admire to make me participate in my own exclusion. Thus far, I haven’t boycotted the blogs I read as Ruhi suggests but it’s a classic Catch 22: do I withdraw from these blogs for no fault of their own or do I continue to interact and let Blogger get away with its strongarm tactics?

Look, I don’t like leaving anonymous comments. Other people are free to do so, but I don’t like it for myself. Sometimes, for example, I don’t agree with a certain post and if I say so, I’d like them to have an opportunity to see me in my own element and get back to me if they so wish. Nicknames are very cute but mean squat unless you’re a regular on that site. And I don’t like to end my comments on other blogs as “Amrita (IndieQuill)” like it’s official in some way. Again, I don’t have any problems with people who sign off that way, that’s their style. It just isn’t mine and I see no reason why I should let Blogger’s greed for the top spot make changes in how I function.

So right now, I’m stymied. But if you’re on Blogger, then you might want to write about this coz they’re basically fucking around with your readership. And considering you’re their biggest draw (especially if you’re an AdSense enabled blog coz then they’re even making money off your work), you might want to put up a post about this.

You guys have done a million tags, so why not do this? Stick it to the man! Tagging all those I know on Blogger. Credit for above badge goes to Ruhi. Please leave a trackback to her post if you decide to take this up, so she can add your name to the list.

Update:- “OpenID commenting is now available for all Blogger blogs. This means that your friends and readers can leave authenticated comments on your blog using their blog URLs from OpenID-enabled services such as, LiveJournal, and AOL Journals, or with their AOL/AIM accounts.”

Thank you to all those who wrote about this issue and those who brought the above info to my attention (that means you – Abi, Dinsan and Extempore). I tried it out and while the linked comment immediately showed up in the comment box, the post itself still showed “0 comments”. I then tried again on another blog and this time I clicked the button marked “Yes, trust this site always” instead of the more cautious “Just this once” and voila! Everything was linkalicious once more in the blogosphere.


Posted by on December 12, 2007 in Personal


26 responses to “Blogger Bans NonBloggers: Boo!

  1. ruhi

    December 12, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    Hey Amrita,

    Thank you for showing your support. It is indeed a catch 22 situation. People who host their blogs at Blogger are paying the price, I think. But I strongly feel that we need to do something about it and dish out the dirt too. I do read blogger blogs, but I’m not commenting anymore (because I can’t leave behind my URL). Plus, people from blogspot CAN comment on my blog, but I remove their URL too…just like blogger does.

    I know lots of Blogspot blogs are really suffering because the less-than-state-of-the-art commenting system is almost non-existent now.

    Anyway, thank you for doing this 🙂 I’ll add your name to the list. I hope more people show some support. I know lots of people at Blogger who are taking up this issue.

  2. ruhi

    December 12, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Btw, could you ask your readers to track back to my blog so that in case they do decide to join the movement, then I can add their names (along with the link to their blog) to my blog post? Thanks and sorry for the trouble. 🙂

  3. Amrita

    December 12, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    Done Ruhi 🙂

  4. dotmom

    December 12, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Thanks Amrita. This is ridiculous. I thought I saw somethng like that when I went to put in a comment.. but I am on blogger and sign in to leave comments… I will do a post on this.

  5. Extempore

    December 12, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    I didn’t even know that the so-and-so-es were being such prize champs about this… went right back to my blog and checked out that stupid nickname thing. What the point is… tch!

    Right then, if not the outing of bloggers then this one for sure! 🙂

  6. DesiGirl

    December 12, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    What a bunch of skankies eh those Blogger folks? Sock it to them, Ams!

  7. Amey

    December 12, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    Yesss… and I was wondering why I cannot leave my URL anymore. I have a blogger/blogspot ID, but I like to leave my wordpress address for comments on blogs with book-related stuff. I cannot do that anymore, which is going to hurt a lot 😦

    And I am not sure how I can ask for a ban on blogger/blogspot, while posting on my blogspot blog. Talk about “jis thali mein…

  8. Abi

    December 12, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    Um, I am not fully with you here. What blogger has done may actually be better than the earlier situation. The current system actually protects you from identity theft. In other words, it may be a feature, not a nasty, evil bug. Please hear me out.

    In the earlier system, people could impersonate anyone — you, for example. They just needed to use your name, and leave your blog in the box for URL, and say any old thing they wanted. [And some people did! See Rahul’s post on this issue.] There was no verification, because verification of non-Blogger commenters was impossible.

    Under the current system, though, if your name is to be associated with a site, you are forced to login as a Blogger user. Now, verification is possible. All the others are treated as anonymous commenters (and if they wanted, they could use a nickname, but that’s about it).

    For a non-Blogspot user/commenter, there is a simple workaround: login with a blogger id (You don’t need a blogspot blog for getting this). I know that this is a little bit of extra work, but you will have to decide if it is worth it.

    [BTW, I think WordPress should also implement such a system (and when every blog platform gets on board, it may force us to think in terms of a unified identification mechanism such as OpenID). For example, is there anything here that guarantees that this comment is actually from who I claim to be? 😉 ]

    As of now, Blogger’s user profile page allows you to list your website or blog. When Blogger decides to diable this feature, I will then get on board and start calling Google evil.

  9. ruhi

    December 13, 2007 at 12:02 am

    So Abi, what makes you think that someone can’t impersonate me now? They can use my nickname and leave a comment.

    Why should we login with a blogger ID? no other blog services places such a restriction.

  10. Abi

    December 13, 2007 at 1:57 am

    Ruhi: I don’t have to tell you that a nickname — I mean one without a website associated with it — is just that: a nickname. I think there is a a big difference between a bare nickname and one with link: With a bare nickname, the blog owner has no clue about which Ruhi he/she is dealing with! Or, if there is indeed a Ruhi behind the commenter …

    Now, as for your second question: I think I have answered it in the paragraph within square brackets.

    Bottomline: I would want the world to move to a place where identity theft is *more* difficult. OpenID is one way to get there, but there probably are others. While’s move is not the best way to get there (OpenID is far better), I believe it is in the right direction.

    I realize that you are unlikely to share this view, but I have tried my best to explain my side …

  11. Bikram

    December 13, 2007 at 8:52 am

    Blogger is popular [in the sense, most used] platform just ‘coz it is free and is from Google stable. Otherwise, blogger is nowhere near the WordPress. All the major problem in blogger are in its comment system. 1st of all, to leave a comment, the user needs to click one more time, navigate to one more page by which time he / she might forget what he / she was thinking. There was problem with comment follow-up. Comment feed is not of much help. EMail updates are only recently added. And now, this no ‘link for non-blogger’ problem. Google is running a monopoly as it knows that loyal-casual bloggers aren’t gonna leave it.

  12. Anita Marie

    December 13, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Way to silence the voices

    I have some old blogs over there, maybe I should put posts about the joys of wordpress ( you can import blogs to their site )

    anita marie

  13. lekhni

    December 13, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    I agree with you. I noticed this more than 10 days ago (I think Blogger started doing this in end-November) and also read about the workaround – to create a Blogger profile and add my (WordPress) website to it. I have done that and people do click on it to get to my blog.
    But here are my issues with it:
    1. It’s much less convenient for people than just clicking on my name on the comment;
    2. I would like to know which comment people clicked on to get to my blog, this is not possible if people come via my Blogger profile;
    3. Protecting from spam is one thing, verifying who left the comment is quite another. Why does Blogger need to verify that I left the comment? We are not exchanging legal documents in the comments section, are we?
    4. Why do I think this is just a sneaky way of Blogger trying to get email ids and details (like IP addresses) of non-Blogspot blogs for future targeted marketing?
    And if you happen to use a gmail id and also have Google checkout associated with your id, voila, they even have your credit card number!

  14. Amrita

    December 13, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Dotmom – thank you 🙂

    Extempore – I don’t have a link to your site, so leave me a link 🙂

    Amey – well, obviously you can’t 🙂 but you might want to put in a word and say you don’t appreciate it. that’s not thaali related.

    DG – nothing like a new convert! Lol!

    Abi – okay, I hadn’t thought of that and you make an excellent point. But the thing is, this isn’t a foolproof system and it does nothing to fix the existing problems with blogger’s commenting system – which others have pointed out. I guess what I’m saying is, this is just such a half assed patch up job that it seems to work a lot more against people who use other platforms than actually help those who use blogger. I’m with you on the OpenID thing – i’d love to see that happen.

    Bikram – true 😦

    AM – i have an old blog there too and I’m thinking of updating it to read “Blogger Sucks. Gone to WordPress” 😀

    Lekhni – wow, I hadn’t even thought of the checkout thing! Now I’m really uncomfortable.

  15. ruhi

    December 13, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    Abi- That is exactly what I meant. Without a URL, my nickname is just that- a nickname. It doesn’t really matter if someone else copies my name along with my URL or not. It’s stil a ‘security’ issue. Frankly speaking, I haven’t come across such an issue here at WordPress.

    I do totally agree with your over the OpenID stuff. But your first argument is kind of incomplete.

    I saw your post on this. I’m not commenting on Blogger anymore. So I couldn’t respond.

  16. Sharath Rao

    December 14, 2007 at 1:27 am

    Impersonation can still happen.

    I am still free to leave any URL as my nickname ? Yeah, the link appears as a text rather than a link but then if the purpose of impersonation is discrediting someone, thats achieved already.

    There is little difference between a URL and text. We will then get into the same war between spammers and anti-spam format email addresses.

    Yes, an advantage of disallowing URLS would be they wont get picked up by an indexer and will not contribute to inlinks/pagerank and such. But if impersonation is directed towards humans, the message is through already.

    Btw, this comment is almost verbtatim from my comment on Abi’s blog.

  17. Extempore

    December 14, 2007 at 2:52 am

    Amrita, I just checked this morning and Blogger now allows you sign in with a few services providers like WordPress, AOL/AIM, Livejournal, Typekey, and “Any OpenID”

    A friend just tried to leave a comment using wordpress but the authentication process wouldn’t complete! May be they’re trying to work out the kinks, eh? 🙂

  18. Abi

    December 14, 2007 at 9:30 am

    Good news: has announced that its comment system accepts OpenID for authenticating the commenters’ identity. Better news for you: is one of the OpenID service providers. Now, with this mechanism, your URL will also appear as a link on your name! I have not tested it (I have a blogger account), but do test it and if it works, please do publicize it.

    In this case, Google has certainly done the right thing. I think it’s worth celebrating.

  19. DesiGirl

    December 14, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Well, I tested it but drew a blank. Everytime I typed my Blog name, it kept returning the message ‘Open ID missing’ or ‘Open URL missing’. So I finally gave in and signed in with my google id! Sorry I caved!! Pls dont hate me!

  20. Amrita

    December 14, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    DG – ah, thats coz you own your own domain 🙂 see here for what you need

  21. Manoj

    December 14, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    OpenId was one thing which I was eagerly waiting from google and I’m really excited abot blogger’s openId support. As always many people misread it and that’s why (including you) made a big hue and cry about it. Anyway, thanks for updating the post.
    Why openId is important is, people “own” urls and there is an authentication mechanism for the url. Previosuly people could just use any url and say it’s their’s and give false impressions about the identity, now if someone leaves a url (using openId) then you’re sure that it is that person.
    Livejournal was one of the pioneers in implementing the openId, good that blogger now followed it and I’m way too happy with it.
    I think at least your post’s title should be changed a bit, it’s not “Blogger Bans NonBloggers: Boo!” but Blogger welcomes every other blogger! 🙂

  22. Amey

    December 15, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    OK, good news is that now you can login using OpenID. I guess the delay between removing the anon option and implementing OpenID caused a lot of problem.

  23. Amrita

    December 16, 2007 at 9:45 am

    Manoj – well if they’re going to go around testing stuff without informing anyone about it in advance, then that’s what they get 🙂

    Amey – yup.

  24. desiGirl

    December 16, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    that means you – Abi, Dinsan and Extempore).

    grrrr! so did i! :p

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