Blogetery Free Blog Host is Taken Out

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, 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.

Make Money The Honest Way Blog

How to Lose Your Blog and Not Make Money Online

Oh dear, oh dear me… there’s trouble at the Old Mill and the boys are gunnin’ fer whippin’ up some strife! Blogger, the free blogging platform that has been used and abused by honest bloggers and spammers alike for the past few years has suddenly send a loud and clear message out to the entire Make Money Online community that they are losing patience with that niche and the people that make too much money from it using their free blogs.

Alan Liew’s blog, was deleted by the Google-owned blogging platform a few days ago… And yes, I am a few days late in reporting something that everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock or playing golf in Florida for the past week (cheap shot, sorry Griz LOL) already knows all about. I’m not writing this as a news event, however, but as my own personal thoughts on the matter and to give me an excuse for writing something in this honest old blog of mine.

The initial reaction was that of shock and then as it sunk in, of despair that the guy worked diligently on that blog for four years, posting almost every day and has now absolutely nothing left of it. All that content, which I believe was all (or at least almost all) original, gone, unless he had the foresight to back it all up which I hope he did. If a blog with so much original, relevant content can be dismissed at a whim for whatever lame excuse or reason can be invented, then what happened to the “Content is King” mantra that Google has us all reciting?

Isn’t that what is wanted any more?

If not, then it means there is a shift in the definition of relevance and it is one that all people who currently make their living online need to think long and hard about. It has already been mentioned by plenty of those in the know that the “Authority Site” is the way to go if you want to get to the top and stay there. Of course, you still need links like they’re going out of fashion to get ahead of the competition, but even the characteristics of those links will need to change to comply with the shift in the way the SERPs are defined.

What is also obvious to anyone who cares to read between the lines is that bloggers who have been using their MMO blogs for revealing how they do the things they do to make money with said blogs/websites are going to have to curtail their enthusiasm to reveal all. This, as current evidence seems to bear out, has probably been viewed with a baleful eye by the Google inspectorate for long enough, but now they seem to be taking more action by making examples of some of the bigger earners, especially those using Adsense to monetize.

So the general consensus is to re-visit your blogs and websites if they are using Adsense and clean them up if they are not up to scratch, by which I mean if they are lacking in decent content and are real in terms of they provide a service other than just to direct visitors to your ads. In other words, your money sites should do more than just sit there with the sole purpose to make money!

I know that sounds a little odd, but the days of throwing up thin sites targeting certain keywords with ads just to make money seem to have come to an end. Even big sites, as Alan’s certainly was, are not immune to the Big Stick if someone with the authority to wield it thinks a site is not providing anything useful other than to make money from Adsense.

One other thing that still leaves a nagging doubt at the back of my mind about this particular case of “blogicide” is the reasons for the deletion by Blogger. The general belief is that it was deleted because it was viewed as “spam”.

Well, correct me if I’m right but spammy sites generally have little useful content, or are full of PLR or other duplicate content with the visual emphasis on the ads, then they are promoted by bombarding the site with inbound links from dubious sources in order to get them to rank high in the SERPs for short term gain before they get slapped down for their obvious illegitimacy. While Alan’s site certainly existed to make money, it didn’t follow any of the other criteria for illegitimacy. If anything, it was the model authority type site with tons of original, on topic content.

What, then is nagging at the back of my mind? Elementary, my dear Watson.

The site sat on top of one of the most competitive niches there are online and clearly made a very nice wedge of loot for its owner. The people with sites sitting below his are not all honest, decent folk like me and you. Plenty of them will have been eying his top spot with a fair dose of envy. Envy is a destructive emotion that causes people to do bad things. It would not surprise me in the least to learn that a fair number of envious blog and website owners may have taken steps to cause trouble for that top site. Enough, perhaps to cause the Blogger employee responsible for the deletion to act?

I think its quite a logical assumption to make. After all, Google probably didn’t have anything to do with the deletion. It was Blogger and the blog was a free hosted blog on their system which they can do what they want with. And if they get enough reports of spam from other blogger members, it can be enough reason to delete a blog. You can appeal but you may not be successful. Its the luck of the draw, and if your draw is in the MMO niche, you might not be so lucky!

Which goes back to one of the fundamental things I wrote about when this blog was young and in the building stage itself there years ago. That is if you want a website or blog that you intend to keep, that you have full control over, then you better get some professional hosting, buy a domain and put your site on there. That way, you control the site and only you can delete it. Your host can ban you if you are hosting a really bad site that goes against the common rules of decency, but you still keep the domain and its content – no one can take that away from you. Google can de-index your site if it breaks their TOS, but they can’t take it away from you.

Just remember that when you are creating free blogs. They may be here one day, but no matter how hard you work on them and how big and legitimate and useful you make them, they are only one “delete” button away from being history.

Make Money The Honest Way Blog

Reseller Hosting Accounts

As a follow up to my last post here at The Honest Way Blog, where I gave a certain hosting account a hard time and deservedly so, I decided to take a closer look at reseller accounts for anyone who is thinking about going this route. Remember, you really only need a reseller if you are intending to either host a lot of domains yourself, or your online business caters for hosting customer domains.

First of all, what is a reseller account?

This is a type of hosting account that allows you to create individual hosting accounts for single (or multiple) domains withing one easy to control and administrate hosting account. Think of it like owning a department store, where each floor is sub-let to a different business, so that say the ground floor is your own where you sell electrical goods, then the first floor is owned by a company that sells clothes, the next floor sells kitchen equipment and the next sells furniture and so on.

Online, a reseller account does pretty much the same thing as a brick and mortar department store in which it allows you to have all those different users who sell their own stuff together under one roof. Of course the difference here is that a brick and mortar store is limited by its physical size, whereas a reseller hosting account is not so limited. You can add as many accounts to it as the hosting company has room for on its server!

I personally have two reseller accounts where I have my own domains spread out between them. It makes maintaining and administrating each domain much easier than with the more popular shared hosting account, where if you want to add multiple domains, you have to add them as “add-on” domains under the one account. There is a problem with that setup and I’ll explain that.

If you have more than one domain occupying a shared hosting account, under normal day to day running you should have no problems at all as long as each domain you host on there stays within certain operating parameters, such as the amount of bandwidth it uses and how much processing resources it uses. Problems start to occur when one of your domains either suddenly starts getting a load of traffic and stars eating up bandwidth, or has a script running that suddenly starts hoarding system resources.

Your host provider will suddenly take an interest in your account, you can count on it! If you start hogging too many resources, your account could get suspended until you do something about it, such as upgrading your hosting if its a bandwidth thing, or fixing your scrip if its swallowing up system resources. The upshot of this is that if you have multiple websites on their own domains all together on this shared host, they will all be taken down with the offending domain. That could mean your business going down the drain overnight until you can sort it out.

Downtime like that, even if its 24 hours can seriously damage some businesses!

This is much less likely to happen if you take out a reseller account. Because of its structure, you host each domain on its own account within your overall reseller. What this means is that if one domain starts hogging resources, only that domain gets singled out, not your whole reseller account. That means all the other domains keep active and your business carries on uninterrupted. The domain that is causing problems can be administrated by you by increasing its bandwidth allocation, which you can do within the bounds of your overall allocation. Of course if its running a bad script, your host will let you know and you can disable the individual account before any real damage is done,while all your other accounts remain active.

This level of flexibility is what attracts so many people to reseller accounts, especially those who own multiple domains and need their business to keep going without the potential problems associated with standard shared hosting packages.

Regular readers here will, by now I’m sure be quite aware of the hosting company that I endorse, but don’t dis-count other companies as there are many good ones to choose from. Discount Domains are one such company that are based in the UK and cater for most online business types. They have a good customer support section and will help you one to one if ever you need them. Discount Domains are a popular UK ICANN registrar and well worth checking out as an alternative to the usual suspects.

Whatever you do with your business, work hard, stay focused, keep at it and above all else…

Never give up!

Make Money The Honest Way Blog

Dreamhost Review: A Warning

Here at the Make Money The Honest Way blog, while this is actually not a full-blown review as such, I want to write a quick note about a serious problem that several people that I know about have had with their hosting company. This has come to light due to a member of the forum here who has really been dragged through the grinder over an issue which should have been resolved easily and without fuss.

The hosting company in question is Dreamhost.

First, the reason this is NOT a Dreamhost review is because there is a perfectly well written one that I have linked to at the end of this post. Second, the title says Dreamhost Review because it made you look and it also gives more weight to the keywords in the link I have sent to the author of the review in question!

Ok, my take on hosting, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you already know is that I have long been an advocate of hosting your sites with Hostgator. The main reasons for this are because I have been with them from my early beginnings in the online world of building websites and hosting them myself and have been extremely satisfied with their service. So much so that I even actively promote Hostgator with a small banner in the right column of this blog as well as other sites that I manage. That’s not for no good reason, and here are some of them:

  • Their customer support is fast, efficient and gets things done
  • Their servers are stable and downtime is negligible
  • They allow a variety of scripts to run
  • Their billing system is easy to use and it works every time
  • If there is ever a problem I need to know about, they email me

Ok, these are basic things that you should expect from your hosting company.

Well, it seems from the many reports I have heard plus this latest huge problem, that Dreamhost are not quite as accessible or amenable as they ought to be. The main problem arose from the customer having his main domain registered with Dreamhost as well as hosting it there. Now, from experience I have found this is not a good thing to do as happened in this case, should you want to move your domain to a different registrar, it is never straight forward and there can be problems.

This very website, was initially registered through Hostgator, but I decided upon advice to move it to Godaddy as their renewals were cheaper and I was advised that it was good working practice to separate the two. Luckily for me, the process went smoothly and while it did take a few days, Hostgator did not cause me any hassle over it.

When our friend tried to do the same with Dreamhost, it was an entirely different story. I’ll let you read his own account of the problems rather than paraphrasing them here, so please visit his site and read his first hand version of the problems with Dreamhost here: Dreamhost Review

Stay safe, don’t get scammed and if you want the best in hosting, I have to recommend Hostgator above all others! If, however you are having problems with your hosting company, then you’ll need to be firm with them and don’t be afraid to use the law if you believe you are definitely in the right, in order to get things done. Above all…

Never give up!

Make Money The Honest Way Blog