Friday, April 17, 2009

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid ...

from Jacqueline

I am the most technically illiterate among our band of merry Naked Authors, so I am the least qualified to be tackling this subject – and even though Friday is generally my day, Patty, Paul, Jim and Ridley, to say nothing of our friends, Cornelia and James G., are probably champing at the bit to get a word in edgewise (and yes, horses champ at the bit, they do not eat them).

Here’s what happened this week: Patty is the main contact person for all things technical on the blog. She’s our founder and general whizz, even though she may say she is not a whizz, as far as I am concerned, she’s a genius. Upon receiving the following email, she thought she had been spammed (it’s quoted here word for word):


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 in 20 days if it isn't reviewed, and your readers will see a warning page during this time. After we receive your request, we'll review your blog and unlock it within two business days. Once we have reviewed and determined your blog is not spam, the blog will be unlocked and the message in your Blogger dashboard will no longer be displayed. 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.

We find spam by using an automated classifier. Automatic spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and occasionally a blog like yours is flagged incorrectly. We sincerely apologize for this error. By using this kind of system, however, we can dedicate more storage, bandwidth, and engineering resources to bloggers like you instead of to spammers. For more information, please see Blogger Help:

Thank you for your understanding and for your help with our spam-fighting efforts.


The Blogger Team

P.S. Just one more reminder: Unless you request a review, your blog will be deleted in 20 days. Click this link to request the review:

Patty being Patty, she immediately followed up with the Naked Authors web people, who were nonplussed, and even after research did not know quite what to do because it transpired that the message was not spam. It appeared to be a real threat with real power behind it. But who from, and where were they?

I should add that at Naked Authors we have strict guidelines – alerts only go to people who have subscribed to our blog, and the links we provide have all been approved. We do not “spam.” (To do so would be the height of hubris, to say nothing of downright rude).

Patty immediately went into investigative reporter mode and tried to track down the truth of the matter. Here’s what she came back with:

“In searching Blogger Help I found that this is happening to many other blogs. I have asked for help on the help group page, sent an e-mail to Google Security, and today I called Google headquarters in NoCal. They told me to go pound sand. There is no Blogger support, no email address, and apparently no human beings who work for this company. I'm at the end of my ability to solve the problem. They may act on their threat to shut us down. Be prepared.”

So here’s the question: Does anyone know why this is happening? Does anyone know who is the source of our problem? And if our blog went somewhere it wasnt supposed to go, why didnt a human being alert us to the problem with an email? We’re nice people, we don’t want to be a nuisance and if you are receiving an unwanted alert from, heck, we want to put it right. What we don’t want to be is shut down. And I dont think our readers want us to be shut down either.

If you have light to shine on this dark cloud hanging over us, please share it here. Needless to say, we’re talking among ourselves. Here’s what Ridley said (before throwing the ball to Paul, our team lawyer):

“But to qualify as Spam don't we have to disseminate the blog? We don't do that, right? We don't send it (push it) anywhere, do we? If people come to it of their own volition, how is that Spam?”

As far as I’m concerned, being the techno-wimp, I’m finding it all a bit freaky. If there’s no who there, then where are the people behind this, or is some big scary machine trying to shut us down on its own?

PS: Latest written on Friday just before posting – looks like Google are now investigating our problem, and we think we’ve held off the internet wolves ... heck, what do I know?

PPS: Couldn't upload my well-chosen images today - hmmmm ,,,,

Oh, and finally - I missed yesterday's blog until this morning - and yes, Susan's voice was lovely and I ended up in tears as well. But you got it wrong - Britain's Got Talent came first (how do you think you guys ended up with that Simon Cowell over here?). Most popular British TV series are nabbed by the US (Life On Mars, The Office, Ab-Fab, and usually with not terribly good results. Works the other way too - The Apprentice sucks on both sides of the Atlantic.


  1. Pithily put, Our J. We have apparently now been "white-listed" by Blogger while they investigate the snafu.

    And yes, we have pirated many things from you Brits with mixed results. I heard that Donald Trump of The Apprentice is trying to copyright the words "You're fired," which I find totally ridiculous.

  2. from Jacqueline

    Well, I am glad we're white-listed while they look into it. Thanks, as always, Patty!

    And as for trying to copyright, "You're Fired." Sorry, Don, millions of disgruntled bosses got there before you.

    Actually, I am currently in Las Vegas (not my favorite place by a long shot), here to watch the World Cup Dressage Championships. I snagged a steal of a rate in a condo-style room at the Trump Tower - all very lovely and with a whirlpool bath (and a glass door on the shower that leapt out and hit me on the head yesterday and the bump still hurts!). At this price, Donald must be losing squillions.

  3. Patty's little-known background as a cop came in very handy here.

  4. Actually, it was my sense of righteous indignation at being falsely accused that spurred me on.

    Did you take your noble equines to Vegas with you?

    The Donald reportedly believes he has a 50/50 chance of owning the phrase.

  5. well jackie, you got me afraid alright! i have become an absolute "naked" junkie and would hate to have to do without it. the weekends without the daily dosis are bad enough - not to mention the weeks and months last year when you all left poor little me to stare at the same message time and time again......

    so you ran into a door, huh! now where did i hear that before!

    hope you're better soon.

    have a great weekend everyone. i'm just finishing ILLEGAL and loving it.


  6. Lovely to hear from you, as always, Sybille! Hopefully Our Patty's hard work will win the day - what a cheek, threatening to shut us down! These people obviously don't know what they are dealing with when they come up against Patty - she doesn't get awards from the LAPD for nothing!

    Oh dear, Patty, no I didn't bring my equines - this event is for the very best in the world, not for rank amateurs like me! I can dream though - hey, it happened to Susan the Singer from Scotland, so you never know ....

  7. Unfortunately, you are suffering from an all too common problem with Google hosted services. This happened to me with a legitimate website and Google ads.

    Google will not publish the methods and techniques they use to "automatically" flag sites. (don't want to help the spammers work around the system) Google is horribly understaffed and doesn't provide personalized help with these matters. So, you're lucky you got through to a real person.

    I guess that's the tradeoff for having free services. Unfortunately for me, my Google Ads site was a money making venture and Google left me high and dry. :-(

  8. Is it possible that the "naked" part of the name is what set off flags? That someone decided anything with the word "naked" in it had to be spam?

    Stranger things have happened.