August 01, 2008

Has your blog been flagged as spam? Here are some tips

Update: The Blogger team have worked hard to restore all blogs mistakenly marked as spam. Take a look at my post on the issue or read the official statement on the Blogger Buzz blog. If your blog is still locked due to suspected spam activity, the rest of this post may still offer some useful tips for you. It seems that Blogger's algorithm for flagging suspected spam blogs has gone into overdrive! I've received a few emails just this morning from Blogger users whose blogs have been locked because of suspected spam activity. While I am not affiliated with Blogger (and cannot provide an official explanation for this activity) I have found a few resources which I hope may be able to help you. Blogger have just posted an update on Blogger Buzz about this situation:
While we wish that every post on this blog could be about cool features or other Blogger news, sometimes we have to step in and admit a mistake. We've noticed that a number of users have had their blogs mistakenly marked as spam, and wanted to sound off real quick to let you know that, despite it being Friday afternoon, we are working hard to sort this out. So to those folks who have received an email saying that your blog has been classified as spam and can't post right now, we offer our sincere apologies for the trouble. We hope to have this resolved shortly, and appreciate your patience as we work through the kinks
If your blog has been locked because of suspected spam or malware, you should have received an email (or a message in your blog's dashboard) like this:
Your blog at: has been identified as a potential spam blog. To correct this, please request a review by filling out the form at
Your blog will be deleted within 20 days if it isn’t reviewed, and you’ll be unable to publish posts during this time. After we receive your request, we’ll review your blog and unlock it within two business days. If this blog doesn’t belong to you, you don’t have to do anything, and any other blogs you may have won’t be affected.
First of all, don't panic! Your blog has not been deleted. Instead, you will not be able to post until your blog has been reviewed and cleared by a member of the Blogger team. Provided your blog does not contain any malware or spam, your blog will be restored once you have filed your request for review. Here are some of the steps you can take to remove the lockdown from your blog:
  1. Immediately follow the link to the review form found in your email (or in your Blogger dashboard). This will initiate the review process.
  2. Ensure the email address you use for your Blogger account is current! If the Blogger team do need to get in touch, they will email you at this address, so be sure it is correct and accessible!
  3. Take a look at your blog, review your posts and check widgets to ensure no spam or malware has been inserted without your knowledge.
  4. If after four days your blog privileges have not been restored, you need to fill in this form which should hurry the review process along a bit. Note: you can only use this form if you have already submitted the initial review request AND four days have passed since you submitted it.
It may also be useful to post in the Official Blogger Help Group. I've noticed several bloggers have had their blogs restored after posting polite and helpful messages that attracted the attention of Blogger Employees. This is not guaranteed to work (especially as there are so many members posting about this same problem), though it's worth a try. When posting about your problem in the Blogger Help Group, be sure to include the following information which will be helpful for Blogger Employees to review and restore your locked blog:
  • Your blog's URL
  • The date you received notice of your blog lockdown
  • The date you filed your initial (and possibly consequent) review request
  • The nature of your blog

You should be able to add/edit widgets in your sidebar

Serendipitybrenda posted a useful message in the Blogger Help Group to inform others that it's possible to add/edit widgets in your blog layout. This enables you to add a message (or perhaps a Twitter widget) to let readers understand what's happening with your blog.

Why is this happening?

It seems Blogger is trying to delete REAL spam and malware blogs from its' system, and unfortunately many innocent blogs are being caught in the crossfire! Many believe that people are abusing the "Flag this blog" link which appears in the Blogger nav-bar. It's also possible that malicious readers are reporting innocent blogs as spam. Rather than reviewing blogs first, the Blogger system appears to lock down suspected spam blogs instantly. Update from Pete (see comments below):
The "Flag Blog" button never ever causes automatic spam classification of a blog. Instead, it brings the blog to the attention of human content policy reviewers. See:
Thank you for this useful information, Pete :) I subscribe to news about Blogger through Google Alerts and many of the stories recently added about Blogger have been related to the revelation that Blogger has been branded the number one host for malware. In light of this news, it's understandable that Google wants to clamp down on spam and malware to restore its reputation. I truly understand the upset and frustration you must feel if your blog has been unfairly locked, and am sure the Blogger team will do all they can to restore locked blogs as quickly as possible. In the meantime, I'll update this post with any further information on this issue and appreciate any tips you could offer in the comments below.

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