On Monday, Google would not explicitly rebut the idea that it had been tricked but said that the cause of the temporary blockage appeared to be elsewhere. “It appears that our anti-spam filters caused some Blogger accounts to be blocked from creating new posts,” Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich said in a statement. “While we are still investigating, we believe this may have been caused by mass spam e-mails mentioning the ‘Just Say No Deal’ network of blogs, which in turn caused our system to classify the blog addresses mentioned in the e-mails as spam. We have restored posting rights to the affected blogs, and it is very important to us that Blogger remain a tool for political debate and free expression.”Of course, Google can't disclose its methodology. It would tip spammers off. New techniques would be needed. But Kovacevich — unless he's lying — revealed something about the technique. Google monitors email. (Sidenote: You might want to worry about how Google monitors email.) Was there a big mass emailing listing the anti-Obama bloggers that resembled the kind of email that points people to spam blogs? If so, they were crossing into or close to the territory of spamming.
Mr. Kovacevich would not give further details about Google’s spam monitoring techniques or their relationship to the Blogger service.
Now, last May, Google saw my blog as a possible spam blog:
Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. (What's a spam blog?) Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive.I read its information about why this had happened:
If you make a large number of posts in a single day, you will be required to complete a word verification for each one, independent of whether your blog has been cleared as a potential spam or not. If this happens to you, simply complete the word verification for each post, or wait 24 hours, at which point it will be removed automatically.So my frequent posting looked spammy to robots. I had to deal with that by doing word verification, which was annoying. If I had actually been barred from posting, it would have really upset me. I don't understand why the anti-Obama bloggers got more than just word verification. Perhaps it is because a mass-emailing with a set of linked blogs is stronger evidence of spam than just posting a lot.
If it is the case that a mass-emailing with a set of links gets the linked blogs blocked, then political opponents do have a way to get Google to censor blogs they hate. They'd have to fake advertise the blogs to do that, and they'd have to be spam emailers too, but it's a little disturbing to know there is that path of attack.
Google needs to make a special effort to protect the political blogs and to let us Blogspot bloggers know it will vigorously protect us. I'm not going to be one of those people who try to punish Blogger by leaving in a huff. I'm too stubborn, and I enjoy being part of the vast Google empire that is taking over the world.
But maybe Google wants us to see Blogger as a place to blog small-time or to get started and expects people like me to break away.
Talk to me, Google! Is that what you think? I'm stubborn, but I don't stay where I'm not wanted.