Blogger: a help-free site

I find yet another blogspot blog stealing my posts. I login and decide to see if Google have yet changed their absolutely stupid rules regarding stolen content displayed on their domain:

See the Help link?

Google has no help

Takes you here:

See the Help Center link? Takes you here:

Google has no help

So not only do Google help spammers and sploggers by making it just about impossible to remove them (flagging stuff is a joke. I’ve flagged many blogs and many youtube accounts and it’s has not made the slightest difference) but it also does not let you find out.

And the DMCA?

To file a notice of infringement with us, you must provide a written communication (by fax or regular mail — not by email, except by prior agreement)

As they don’t provide free fax, and as they probably know fax machines are not easily available they choose to use it because it slows everything down to what must be a complete stop for your average blog creator. That’s being pretty evil to your average person.

Edit:
http://www.google.com/dmca.html

If you are sending a large number of URLs in one removal request, please also send an electronic copy of the notice to removals at google dot com.

Why don’t they have an actual email link there? Don’t they trust their own spam software? Are the people on the end of that email afraid of, well, work?

Provide information reasonably sufficient to permit Google to contact you (email address is preferred).

So they want the easy way but you take the hard way?

Apparently Google are hiring. I looked through several pages of their jobs. I couldn’t find a single one that was focused on user support. Now what does that tell you?

A big free clue for Google

If you have a paid link on your blog Google will throw you out of their results.
If you have any links hidden on your blog the same happens.
If your site has been compromised and links inserted the same happens again.
If you are seen as harming Google they punish you. That’s fair enough because it’s their business but what it should be doing is looking after people whose work is being stolen. And it’s not just stolen it enriches the thief and also Google. Is there therefore an incentive to do what I’m going to describe? probably not…
The point here is that Google can tell a lot about your site.

Like many bloggers I can spot a splog in less than 10 seconds. The common features:
– Every entry has “wrote an interesting post” “read the rest of the post here” “..talked today about”
– Most entries are uncategorised
– There is an absence of comments
– The theme is one from a selected range no doubt sold for the “SEO friendliness”
– The posting frequency will be high and fairly regular
– There is no easily obtained webhost information (so no ToS, AUP, DMCA addresses)
– ads. And more often than not contextual ones which means Adsense.
– there are more clues but scoring more than half the above means you are looking at content theft.

Now if I can join those dots why can’t Google? Why can’t the other search engines? After all if the big advertisers don’t care about content theft why should the other guys? Why is it not possible to suspend those accounts that meet most of the above? Why can’t you grab the publisher id and suspend automatically? Why can’t the above raise some flags and a single abuse complaint ensure it is seen faster? I really do find it amazing that a company which can bring us so much good cannot add up what a splog looks like without being told.
And the bonus is that your blog search would be cleaned up – which pleases everyone.

Matt Cutts wants an idea of something to do – there you go.

Google Earth killed my laptop

About 2 weeks ago J called me because the laptop had crashed. She uses it for Firefox, IE7 (for the BBC iplayer) and that’s about it. Nothing major, nothing that can even remotely stress it. She said she was checking the village out in Google Earth and it crashed. She didn’t know to hold the power button down to switch it off so I did that and it rebooted without a problem it seemed. The end of last week J is using the laptop – she uses it daily. She cannot get to the places she wants to so it brings them closer – and again opens Google Earth to check something. And in the middle of that it crashes again. Only this time it’s terminal. Nothing can bring it back. It switches on, the HDD light flickers once and then nothing. The HP people – it’s a HP dv2104eu – a very nice little laptop indeed – went through some basic ‘hold the keys when you start up’ type stuff and they declared that the graphics part of the computer is dead.
So Google Earth killed my laptop.

There is no guarantee now – it’s 4 months out – so we are looking for a new one later this week. An eeepc is too small – that’s what she is using right now for email and her website – and the others you buy have Vista on. So my plan is we buy a machine, probably in the £300-400 range, and when we get it home I ‘reinstall’ XP onto it. I’d go with Linux if I could find somewhere local that offered them and there was saving involved but I can’t. XP does not seem to be an option though I will be asking when we go to check some machines but I have a real copy anyway. Annoying all the same.

And even if Google Earth was not guilty (but it is) J will probably not use it on a laptop again. It’s the association thing. She is sure that Google Earth killed her laptop.