When a small WordPress MU free blog host gets de-indexed or taken down by its server for whatever reason, then no one really takes too much notice apart from the people who had created blogs on them. When it happens, you lose any links you may have created on the blog and in the worst case scenario, you completely lose your blog complete with content.
But when a big, stable and popular free blog host that has been around for a while gets taken out of the picture, then a lot of people are going to have their noses put out of joint.
This has happened to blogetery.com, a pretty big free blog host that I personally had several free blogs on and I know there are a huge number of people who did too. Well, it seems that the hosting company, BurstNet, took the server down by order of law enforcement officials who apparently paid them a visit on 9th July. The issue was of sufficient seriousness to cause the host to kill the server immediately and not give any notice to the owner of blogetery, who had been a pretty good customer for several years. When he contacted them, he was told it was a critical matter and he could not have access to the hard drive to retrieve files or the database. That pretty much kills blogetery, at least for the time being.
No one knows for sure why law enforcement have taken this action, but chances are they found some material published on one or more of the free blogs hosted on there that was illegal and sufficiently sensitive to cause them to take the server from the host. It is quite likely that the authorities will need to investigate all the material stored on the hard drive, which means it could be a long time, if ever, that blogetery and all the free blogs hosted on there can be reinstated.
This highlights one of the real risks that we all take when hosting blogs on free platforms. Sure, when you are building a large network of sites, you have little choice but to make use of the free blog hosts to keep costs down and spread the net as wide as possible.
But there really is no sure alternative to hosting your own domains. It is certainly more costly as you have to buy and maintain the domains as well as pay for hosting, but at least you are in control of what is published on them and as long as you create legit websites, you should not have any real problems. That is unless of course you happen to strike a rich vein of traffic and suddenly a domain can outgrow its server’s limitations, but at least you can either upgrade your hosting account to cater for it with only minimal downtime. Plus you are the keeper of your own content. In other words you have your own backup of all your data on your home PC (at least you should have), so if a server gets shut down or crashes, you can be back up and running usually within 24 hours on a different host.
For all the bloggers and network builders who lost blogs on blogetery, its tough luck and this is a tough business that will have it fair share of hard knocks. For all the backlinks you may have lost in the process, they will take time to replace. Your main sites (that were the recipients of those links) may even take a drop in the SERPs until you can get new ones.
Just remember, no free blog host is completely safe. You may think WordPress or even Blogger are practically bullet proof, but they’re not and if something gets hosted on their servers that law officials do not like, they can be taken down at the drop of a hat pending an investigation. The bottom line is to have all your stuff backed up! At least that way, if the worst happens, you still have a copy of the content you may have spent several hours writing.