Friday, March 16, 2012

Admin Note, Especially for German and Canadian Readers

I mentioned before that Google is restructuring Blogspot so that people from different countries are redirected to country-specific addresses; Australia and India were the first to undergo this treatment. New Zealand followed shortly after. I see from logs that this has now spread to Germany and Canada. I get almost no one from India or New Zealand, and only a small number of Australian readers, but Canada and Germany are third and fourth behind the U.S. and U.K. as source countries for my readers here, so this will have some effect.

The main effect, of course, is that Echo/JS-Kit comments, which I use, don't work well with this change; commenting is possible on the country-specific pages, but I have no moderation ability, the comments don't show up in my comments queue, and the comments don't synchronize with Blogger comments. I sent a tech support query to Echo about it, and the response I received was not only seven kinds of useless, it was pretty clear that they had no clue what I was talking about, and so I'm very sure they won't be fixing this issue at any point in the near future.

For the nonce, readers can get around this by using a No Country Redirect. Instead of going to the usual address, go to the following one:

That will keep you at the plain .com address. I could put code in the template to force NCR, but I'd have to do it for every single country Google does this for. And also the NCR is temporary fix: Google will certainly break it at some point.

In the meantime, though, if you are Australian, Canadian, German, or one of the very occasional Indians, please comment on the U.S. address (the plain .com) by using the NCR, if you can. If not, it's not a huge issue; I'll just probably not discover your comment for a considerable amount of time, unless I just happen to be nosing around the country-specific posts for your country at just the right time to catch it. (You also won't be able to see any comments on the plain .com version of the blog.)

ADDED LATER: Also, while UK readers don't currently seem to be undergoing forced redirect, I note that the version is already up and running, so it's only a matter of time.

ADDED LATER II: And it looks like it has started for the U.K., too. It looks Portugal is also one of the countries currently undergoing the redirect.

...And France.


  1. Rebecca Stark12:26 AM

    Just testing....

    I couldn't log in with my Google account to comment, but logging in with Twitter worked fine.

    This seems like a really annoying change to make. I can't understand why they're doing it.

  2. branemrys8:59 AM

    I think the idea is that they are trying to make sure they can avoid losing access to whole countries due to internet content laws while at the same time avoid shutting down people entirely -- if some kind of content is illegal in one country but not another, they can simply shut it down on request in the country in which it is illegal, without having to take responsibility for shutting it down entirely. It's clever to that extent, but the complications for everyone are extraordinary. And annoying, as you say.

  3. Cat Hodge8:00 AM

    I don't know if it's related to the changes, but I've found it well nigh impossible to log in and comment using my Google account anymore. The thingie that links to Facebook seems to work, though. Why can't it all be simple like it was back in the good old days?

  4. branemrys8:09 AM

    It does seem that other people have been having trouble logging in with their Google accounts; another thing I'll have to look into.

  5. Brian Schimpf6:06 PM

    I love the commenting system, in principle.  The idea that you can comment with whatever online profile you happen to have just makes good sense.

    This new re-directing business just doesn't make any sense.  Part of the reason that a person registers a domain instead of a .com is to let the readers know where in the world the website orginites from.  Your readers already know where they live!  What is google thinking?

  6. underverse12:08 PM

    Ugh, I've just discovered this issue. I wonder if Echo is working on a way to consolidate comments across all domains?

    Thanks for the workaround.

  7. branemrys5:44 PM

    I sent a message to them and got a completely useless answer -- it was pretty clear that they didn't have any clue what the problem even was. It would be nice, but I'm not expecting much from Echo at this point, particularly since they seem to be planning on slowly phasing out their comments system.


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