Blogspot Redirects to Your Country Domain

This one is for the bloggers who use blogspot to host their blogs, like me. Looks like Google and Blogger have decided that in a world divided about what is permissible and what is not, it is safer to redirect all blogspot.com pages to their respective country code top level domains. To a lay user like me, this comes with a whole lot of issues, and this post is about finding perfect answers for them by raising questions. I am hoping that the technically more knowledgeable readers of Subho's Jejune Diet will come forward to help all of us answer these questions.


From this month, all blogspot blogs will be redirecting to country specific URLs. This means that if you are in India, and you are looking at a blogspot.com blog, you will get to see the blogspot.in page. The same page if viewed from Australia will show you a blogspot.au page. This also impacts page ranks and stats for the blog. For example, this blog has an Alexa rank of 340,000 and a Google Pagerank of 2. But the blogspot.in page for this blog is not recognized at all by Alexa (it gives stats for http://blogspot.in only) and shows a N/A in Google Pagerank as of now. 

Blogger support has this to say about the reason for doing this:  "Migrating to localized domains will allow us to continue promoting free expression and responsible publishing while providing greater flexibility in complying with valid removal requests pursuant to local law. By utilizing ccTLDs, content removals can be managed on a per country basis, which will limit their impact to the smallest number of readers. Content removed due to a specific country’s law will only be removed from the relevant ccTLD."

The recent update to their Privacy Policy has already made it clear that if users do not like the fact that Google will use all the information it has about you uniformly across all its services, they are free to take their patronage elsewhere. In my opinion, for a service that brings the world together like the open web, this comes both as a solution and a let down in times of increased censorship and regulation of free speech.


Is my blog on blogspot.in or blogspot.com now?
It is on blogspot.com, but will redirect to country code top level domain (ccTLD) depending on where it is being viewed from.

So I have as many versions of my blog out there as countries that my readers are from! How does that figure with Google's policy of penalizing duplicate content?Blogger is very reasuring with regard to how this affects bloggers, by saying: "After this change, crawlers will find Blogspot content on many different domains. Hosting duplicate content on different domains can affect search results, but we are making every effort to minimize any negative consequences of hosting Blogspot content on multiple domains.  The majority of content hosted on different domains will be unaffected by content removals, and therefore identical. For all such content, we will specify the blogspot.com version as the canonical version using rel=canonical. This will let crawlers know that although the URLs are different, the content is the same. When a post or blog in a country is affected by a content removal, the canonical URL will be set to that country’s ccTLD instead of the .com version. This will ensure that we aren’t marking different content with the same canonical tag."

When I link my blog pages, what URL should I use, my .com URL or my country specific URL?
As things are evolving now, the .com URL is going to the mother URL for your content, so that is the one you should use. As yet, I do not see any aberration in page views, so other than the pagerank tools finding a way to translate the multiple domain data into one cohesive dataset and search ranking tools finding a way to figure out what is not duplicate content, there should not be a major problem.

Would a /ncr work with this?
For those of us who might be having a question about this question, a /ncr is a URL that runs a session based cookie that blocks the automatic redirect to country domain. This is what happens when you click on "Go to Google.com" from the Google.in search homepage, and works with all browsers and OS's for all Google pages. So no matter which country you are in, if you type http://subhorup.blogspot.com/ncr it will show you the pages that are otherwise "content removed" for your country as per law. When I  saw my page URL displaying http://subhorup.blogspot.in, I checked to see if this works with this change. It does as of now, though it would appear to defeat the purpose of this policy. At the time of writing, you can also set up an automatic redirect to .com/ncr in the blog header by using meta tags, JS, or PHP, and as yet, it does not appear to be a violation of Google's Terms of Service, though that might be in for a change, either at policy level or at the custom redirect level.

Looks like we have more question than answers right now. How is Google going to determine what pages are permissible for .in viewers? How will the traffic data and page ranks be converged? How do I know what content on my blog is blocked and where and why? The days to come will reveal these answers as the blogging community comes forward to understand and explain the nuances of these new developments in Google Policies.

For Indibloggers
Update (1130 IST Jan 31, 2012): For Indibloggers on blogger platform, it is likely that your Indivine submissions will not show up properly (till this issue is fixed) if you are copying the URL from the address bar, since it will have a blogspot.in or .pk or .au domain depending on where you are. For some reason, Indivine accepts this URL when you submit, but cannot display it as it is a virtual URL, and not a real page. I guess the terms I am using are not correct, but this is how I understand it from a lay perspective. So what you can do is paste the URL into the submission box and then edit the .in or .pk or .au back to .com, and then it will (should) work. Please keep updating me and other readers with what you are able to find out on this issue.

23 comments:

  1. Much needed info,,, glad to read from your blog !
    Why did they do this ?
    must have a bad impact ! it seems :(

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  2. new follower alert!

    i didnt notice the change until you pointed it out. anyways, happy blogging! =D

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  3. yes i can see ur blog url has changed. i hope wordpress doesn't do that.

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  4. oh! i realized it only just now after Deb pointed it out to me & redirected me to your post on the matter

    sigh!

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  5. nice post
    can you tell me how to post on indivine
    as when i trying to post there it says this post doesnot generate from the original blog
    which is liste as blogspot.com at indiblogger
    how you post this post there

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  6. @Dee - You are right, Deepak, I think there are several complex issues here which will be realized as time passes. Something I just realized was that the country specific URLs are really not pages, they are virtual URLs, which makes things a little more complicated now.

    @Raphael - Welcome to SJD. Hope you find more than what you came seeking and leave behind more than what you knew you could.

    @F&N - This is not on with Wordpress yet, Debajyoti, but with governments tightening the screws on user generated content platforms, it sets up a precedent that others might be pressured to follow.

    @Sujatha - I realized that people are having trouble with this and wrote about what I could put together quickly, but I am not tech savvy enough to understand the implications or offer solutions. I am hoping people will come forward to discuss and understand and hopefully find workable solutions for the problems that come along with this change inpolicy.

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  7. @Chirag - I have updated the post with how to submit to Indivine till this issue is resolved. All you have to do is paste the URL in the permalink box and then edit the .in back to .com and then submit. Glad to be of help. And I hope what I am suggesting works! Disclaimer - I am not responsible for anything that might go wrong as a result of this, e.g., milk boiling over, prolonged power cuts, unemployment rates in Japan, or a weakening rupee. :)

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  8. Thank you Subhorup for this very useful information. Last night few of my blogger friends complained they couldn't comment on my blog. I guess the transition from .com to .in happened last night for my blog. I guess I know the reason now. :)

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  9. :D i see am i the inspiration behind this post ....anyway u r a genius and your nuskhaa worked for me :D

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  10. Very informative post :)
    - Shanoj

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  11. Thanx a lot for this valuable info...how do you call yourself a lay blogger? not true!!!

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  12. right, i guess that why it failed when i tried to submit a post .. let me have a look

    Bikram's

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  13. Oh god..google is doing some big time shit!..

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  14. I hadnt noticed this transition before reading this. I just hopw the problem gets resolved soon. Thanks for the info :)

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  15. Hey you are right in most way but does this working for all countries. I mean had you ever noticed the changes for the domains in other countries i don't think so.

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  16. oh good to know about this....but why google? what is the need for you to do this...?

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  17. thanks for this important information buddy !

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  18. The information is quite useful and much needed.
    amitaag.blogspot.com

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  19. A must read information.

    Didn't like the way Google did this to millions of bloggers, but if there's a positive aspect behind this then it's fine! Agreed to your words, there are more questions than answers!!

    Well, most bloggers are still in a dilemma for their respective Page ranks!

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  20. Will it affect my PPC site ads clicks stats??? please reply...

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  21. Thanks a lot . For tech. challenged people like me, this is so useful.

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  22. Today Akshay (
    The Eternal Fighter, The Ultimate Comeback Kid!), had tweeted that he is not able to add my blog on his blog roll. Is it because of Google?

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  23. @Vetrimagal - This appears to be a known issue with the blogger blogroll widget for some time. I also noticed that Akshay's blogroll widget only displays blogspot blogs and independently hosted domains. Yours is a wordpress hosted blog. I do not know if that might be an issue. There is a thread on on the Blogger group on this. http://goo.gl/zCl1d

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