Blogger is a free service for setting up and hosting blogs. It was one of the earliest web-publishing services and it remains very popular. The bruceb news page has been hosted by Blogger since 2001. Blogger is broken in an interesting way – bear with me while I tell you a story to explain why the news page looks different today.
Blogger was acquired by Google in 2004. It was never clear why Google bought the company – Google has moved the blogs over to its own servers and lightly integrated some Google services but it never felt like a very natural fit. Nonetheless, Google has taken reasonably good care of it and the service has mostly been reliable.
The bruceb news page was being published using an antiquated Blogger service that would copy pages over to bruceb.com using FTP. That was never a particularly good way to handle things – FTP is not particularly reliable so I spent a lot of time fiddling with things to make the news posts appear. Besides, most of the features introduced by Blogger in the last few years could not be used by authors using that old style of publishing.
Last week I moved the bruceb news page to a new home more tightly integrated with Blogger. It was still published by Blogger but now publishing was fast, all of its widgets and toys were available, and I could publish and make changes more easily. It was a lot of work to get things set up but the result looked great.
Then I searched for something I had written a few months ago.
I’ll spare you the next few days of research, frustration and despair. The conclusion is that my articles for bruceb news could not be found by any search. Everything was there on the news page and in the archives. The actual words had not been lost. But ten years of news posts could not be found by Google – not using the Blogger Search widget supplied by Blogger, not using the Navbar installed by default on the top of the page, not using a Google Custom Search, not using Google Blog Search, not using a standard Google search.
What’s more, the pages also could not be found by any other search service. My articles disappeared from Bing and Yahoo and anywhere else I looked.
What I found was not an isolated problem. Something happened this summer and blogs hosted by Blogger began to drop out of sight. Google and Blogger have almost completely refused to acknowledge the problem, even for people who are trying to earn a living from ads on their site. There are hundreds of posts in the Blogger forum from people in the same position. The problem was first reported four months ago, and there is no solution in sight. Here’s one forum thread full of complaints (including mine), and here’s one with hundreds of posts.
So do you understand the irony? Web sites hosted by Google cannot be located in a Google search.
You’re seeing bruceb news today at its new home, hosted by WordPress, a blogging platform used by hundreds of millions of blogs worldwide. Yet another template has been customized within an inch of its life to look like it belongs in the bruceb empire. There may be some more twiddling but with luck we’ll be able to find all this deathless wisdom again when we do web searches.
From your perspective, nothing has changed except the look of the page. It’s still located at www.brucebnews.com. I apologize for the disruption and changes!