I have been writing a blog on Open Salon for about a year now (http://www.open.salon.com/blog/homelessscribe). Unfortunately, Open Salon has had major technical issues which take down the site for days at a time. OS Bloggers are leaving in droves, afraid their beloved work will soon be sucked into oblivion. There is such a community there, I hesitate to jump ship. But, I’m creating a second blog site, just in case.
This is actually my second attempt at establishing a backup blog. The first time, I made the dreaded mistake of using Blogger (Google’s blogspot site). I may miss some of the problems (there were so many), but here is a play-by-play summary:
1) Google doesn’t like the name “Homeless Scribe” and wants a “real” name so that “people can find me”. I don’t know who’s looking for me, but if they want to find me, they know to look for “Homeless Scribe” not some other “real” name that meets Google’s exacting standards. I have a YouTube account (which has since been corrupted by Google’s over-reach), a Gmail account, a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a Kickstarter account and an Open Salon account all under the name “Homeless Scribe”. But this was not good enough for Google’s “Big Brother” group, so I gave them a name, which they proceeded to attach to every account I’ve ever had! (The best part is, I made the name up! It “sounds” like a “real” name, it might even be a “real” name. It’s just not my real name.)
2) Next, Google decides I’m a spammer and locks my account. I receive an email (which looks a lot like spam to me) that tells me in order to unlock the account, I have to provide a private phone number and receive a text message containing a verification code. I say private phone number because my phone number is PRIVATE. I give it to NO ONE without knowing it will remain private. But hey, I can trust Google – look how well I’ve been treated so far! So, after I confirmed the email was not spam by going to Blogger site, with extreme trepidation, I give them my phone number and get a text with a verification code. I followed more links to enter the code, and the number was rejected – four times! Finally, after more text messages and more attempts, it finally went through. Now, I had to wait up to 48 hours to be judged worthy of Blogger.
3) Not so fast, I go to sign into my Gmail account, and it’s been flagged for “unusual activity.” Guess what, I have to give them (still Google) my private phone number again in order to unlock my email. At least the verification process worked this time on the first try.
4) Waiting for me in my Inbox was this message: Hello, Your blog at http://homelessscribe.blogspot.com/ has been reviewed and confirmed as in violation of our Terms of Service for: SPAM. In accordance to these terms, we've removed the blog and the URL is no longer accessible. The original posts I made to Blogger, locked without warning, had been summarily deleted before I could make copies. (I usually write in Word, then copy. But, for some reason, this time I hadn’t.)
5) After giving Google my private phone number with the implied promise it would not be made public, I received a spam text message. And, so it begins…
6) Naturally, I’m angry with Google, so I decide to change all my accounts. I established another email address and proceeded to change the settings on all my other accounts. It worked everywhere, except YouTube (which is owned by Google). It is literally IMPOSSIBLE to reset your email once you have established an account on Google with a Gmail address. The only option is deleting everything (videos, comments, subscriptions, etc.) and starting over with a different account.
Although I find their layouts cumbersome and inelegant, I used to like Google! When did they get so authoritarian? Not only that, when did they become complete and utter morons? How on earth could they decide an innocuous blog about being homeless was a ruse for spamming? Here I am, homeless, and I can’t even find “a home” in cyberspace to discuss my experiences.
I have been dealing with these issues created by Google for days. Instead of doing something productive with my time, I’ve been frustrated with stupidity and draconian processes which couldn’t identify cyber spam from “real” spam (by that, I mean the canned meat product).
Therefore, I bid a less-than-fond farewell to Blogger and move on to WordPress (assuming they’ll have me). So far, no one has looked up my skirt or crawled up my ass looking for more information. I also like the ability to search other blogs for topics, which I did not see on Blogger. Everything about WordPress promises to be an improvement over Blogger. I’m only sorry they were my second choice.
In the coming days, I’ll repost blogs from Open Salon to WordPress in order to establish a continuity of theme. If OS goes down, you can find me here: http://homelessscribe.wordpress.com/