Mar 28, 2012

Google's Redirection of Blogger-Domains Is Problematic

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Google, Google... what are you doing with the .blogspot-domains? I think it's not thought-out well. There is a problem for users in specific countries. But lets start at the beginning.

Google are redirecting blogspot-domains now in over 15 countries. That means if you are accessing an blog like <your blog>.blogspot.com from Russia, it gets automatically redirected to <your blog>.blogspot.ru. Google is doing this for law in different countries. If a jurisdiction wants to block out your site, they can do this by ordering Google to stop access to the site. Other countries could still access the site. While this is a double edged sword, it's understandable. But for the blog author, there is some questions now open. I'm not talking about statistics, which is also questionable, but legal stuff.

If you are blogging with a com domain, in english and not intended to target a special local audience outside, US law will apply. But if there is another domain-ending involved, you need to apply to the countries laws. That means in this example, you need to apply to Russian law. But you also need to apply to ALL other jurisdictions where from your blog is visited. There are even countries that require to ridiculously have an imprint with your personal address and telephone number even for non-commercial blogs. Insane.
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Now how are you supposed to blog without getting in touch with legal problems? Don't think it's enough not to live in this country.

It's a bad move from Google. It leaves many legal questions unanswered. To prevent redirecting you can add a piece of javascript to the header of your blog.
Put this right under the <head> tag:
<script type="text/javascript">
var blog = document.location.hostname;
var slug = document.location.pathname;
var ctld = blog.substr(blog.lastIndexOf(&quot;.&quot;));
if (ctld != &quot;.com&quot;) {
var ncr = &quot;http://&quot; + blog.substr(0, blog.indexOf(&quot;.&quot;));
ncr += &quot;.blogspot.com/ncr&quot; + slug;
window.location.replace(ncr);
}
</script>
But that requires the user to have javascript enabled. Very bad.
You can visit a blogspot-domain by adding /ncr after the domain like <your blog>.blogspot.com/ncr . Then it wont get redirected. That doesn't help if someone just visit your blog normally and thinks you need to get a letter for abusing local laws somewhere.

Solution anyone?