Tuesday, December 4

Communicating Change: Blogger Hits The Fan

If you want to read about tracking Santa, you can read about it on the Google blog. If you want to know about blogging from YouTube, you’ll find on it on Blogger Buzz. But if you’re a blogger with a blogspot blog wondering who dramatically altered how your blog comments function, well, happy hunting.

The new rules of communication for Internet conglomerates seem to be: if you have a great idea, host a press conference. If you aren’t really sure, bite your tongue, flip a switch, and see what hits the fan. BLOGGER!

Sure, it’s a tactic most people have come to expect from Facebook, but only because it needs a mom. We saw it when Yahoo! merged MyBlogLog accounts too, but that was just being a fast company. And now Google via Blogger has joined a new school of thought that suggests passive communication is best when you just aren’t sure if what you are doing is a good idea.

How passive? Here are a few ways a blogspot bloggger might have learned about the comment changes that affect their blogs:

1. You happened to click “Known Issues” on the dashboard help section of Blogger because it's something you like to do, um, just because.
2. A group member happened to open a case study discussion thread on BlogStraightTalk.
3. Maybe you stumbled onto the discussion at BlogCatalog, where many bloggers have vowed to migrate.
4. You happened to catch it on Twitter, either mine or Dave Delaney’s followup.
5. You happened to read one of several blogs or help groups that had less than flattering things to say.
6. Someone you know, maybe your mom, happens to know someone who knows someone who reads Blogger In Draft daily, on the off chance that it is updated, which is about every three months or so.

Okay, sure, right, communicating change is never easy. But what will it take before Internet companies come to the conclusion that viral marketing is not the best way to communicate change? Flipping the switch and seeing if anything hits the fan is nothing more than non-communication.

So what happened? Blogger removed the URL field for unauthenticated comments, which is their way of aggressively supporting OpenID. OpenID is a fine idea, which allows people to "sign" your comments with your own URL while “preventing others from impersonating you.”

The tradeoff in using the new OpenID comments seems to be the steep division between the choice of allowing anonymous posts without allowing any link backs or choosing OpenID to allow the link backs to other blogs but eliminating anonymous comments. Of course, the anonymous can always create an fake Blogger/Google ID that they’ll forget about a few weeks later, which is why I decided to flip the switch on this blog’s comments for now (use the pull down menu).

However, in the interim, Google/Blogger proves once again that most communication challenges occur from the inside out. But maybe that is part of the purpose of OpenID anyway. Migration becomes easier and exodus more likely when Internet companies fail to communicate change before springing it on their members. Hmmm … now that’s something Internet folks seem to get.



Rich on 12/4/07, 10:00 AM said...

FYI On Comments: If you have an AOL/AIM, LiveJournal, Typekey, Wordpress, or OpenID account, you can supposedly comment here very easily by using the Sign-in drop down. I'll leave it up for a few days and see what happens before deciding if I'm better off leaving the anonymous comment option. If you have an opinion or preference, I'd love to know, assuming you can comment. :)

Rich on 12/4/07, 10:13 AM said...

More Words:

You can read another great post on how this is all suppose to work here.

Rich on 12/4/07, 10:50 AM said...

Will Taft (http://willtaft.com/blog/) leaves a great comment, but I have to run into it and then post it myself...

Rich - I read your great article. I was going to comment there, but your Blogspot set up requires signing in with an open ID or something similar. No anonymous or nicknames. Oh well. That is a good example of how Blogger discourages commenting. I think even most new visitors who might have been inclined to comment, look at that and just go on by. I know it was easier for me to just come back here to thank you for the publicity on this issue.


Rich on 12/4/07, 12:07 PM said...


It now seems that allowing anonymous comments and the OpenID features works. I imagine time will tell if this fixes some of the issues some bloggers are having with the change.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Rich, that this was very crappy communication on Blogger's part. I have moved The Thin Red Line to a privately hosted WordPress set up.

People like Dane Morgan have warned for some time about the folly of having your blog hosted beyond your own control and Google's recent phuque up really brought it home to me.

I hope all my friends will visit and comment at my new location.

PS--I tried to leave this comment using my WordPress sign in through Open ID and that did not work At All. To me it looks like a scheme to make Everyone in the blogosphere sign up for a Google account. Feh.

MS on 12/4/07, 12:46 PM said...

"But maybe that is part of the purpose of OpenID anyway. Migration becomes easier and exodus more likely when Internet companies fail to communicate change before springing it on their members."

Exactly. I already have one for another place, but I'm still testing it out. And I really want to believe that Google isn't this lame. If something doesn't happen soon, if they don't both communicate and give me the choices I once had, I will be switching. I've already dropped the little bit of AdSense I had. Too annoyed to want to put another dime in their pockets right now. I'm going to resist clicking on AdSense too. Might be bad for the sites in question, but I just don't feel like helping Google earn another penny at the moment.

Ike on 12/4/07, 1:54 PM said...

I wonder how this works... will it let me comment with my Wordpress ID?

Anonymous said...

Wow - it punted my Wordpress login, then looked like it accepted it, but only after reverting to my Blogger account (which I never use.)

I'm trying this again.

Rich on 12/4/07, 3:29 PM said...

@Alan, Keep me posted on your migration. It's something to think about.

@MS, I want to believe the same. We've been encouraged to move more than once. Hmmmm...

@Ike, Thank you so much for testing out the new feature. On the one hand it seems like your test work. It links very nicely to the WordPress blog on this end. However, I can ample room for confusion based upon your comment.

Something to watch for sure.



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