Friday, October 27, 2006

Notes On Blogger's Worst Week Ever

Allow me to apologize for something completely beyond my control.

Blogger's service this week was abysmal, and you may have been one of the many visitors who were turned away from Think In Pictures at various points by a generic "Internal Server Error" message. Needless to say, I have spent much of the past several days trolling the Internet for advice on just how difficult it is to import a blog to Wordpress.

Google promises that once we blogspotters are allowed to upgrade to the beta version of the new Blogger, all of these problems will be solved. But there is no telling when that will be, and what problems will await us when we attempt to convert. Will we be kept busy tinkering with a host of wonderful new tools, or spend our days struggling to correct archived posts blooming with new bugs?

Google has (finally) moved its own Blogger Status blog from blogspot to the new beta Blogger, which they claim will prevent it from going down along with everyone else's. I'd love to see a friendly redirect or explanatory page when the server's down, as well as more honest real-time statistics on the Blogger Status blog when it is up. (Several "planned maintenance" downtimes declared to last 90 minutes were actually emergency situations and kept blogspot offline for hours. What non-blogspotters don't know is that even after Blogger comes back online, the image server is often still completely fried, and we can't blog anything but text for hours after that.

An engineer later wrote, charmingly, on the Blogger Buzz blog:

It’s been a bad week for Blogger, and, as I hope you can tell, we’re not denying it. Instead, we have taken and will continue to take specific steps that make Blogger a more reliable, overall better service for you to use.
I say, prove it. I will wait and try to upgrade before making any move. In the meantime, all I can do is apologize for the downtime.


Anonymous said...

How much do you pay for this service? Oh, I forgot it's free!

Go pay for a service.

Jeremiah McNichols said...

Blogger is a good free, basic service, one of many good free basic services Google has released over the past few years, all of which make it an amazing and dynamic company right now.

That being said:

1) Paying for a service is no guarantee it will be better, so this is not very practical advice. Many pay services are worse than their free counterparts. Welcome to Web 2.0.

2) Offering something for free does not mean that you should not complain when your free thing fails you. Reading my blog is free, yes? You don't like, you criticize, offer suggestions, whatever. Makes sense to me.

3) Google did not buy Blogger for altruistic reasons. This does not change the fact that blogspot is free for bloggers, or that we should be any less grateful for the service. But it does mean that Google should care if we don't, and have an interest in making the service good enough that people don't sign up for it and then leave when they learn about all of the deficiencies, and of the other blogging services - some free, some just dirt-cheap - that they could be using instead.

4) Google does great things with free. They also do great things with basic. And there's nothing wrong with either of those approaches. But you have to make it work, or you shouldn't be doing it. Google knows this, and we're all hoping that the Blogger beta solves the significant problems that face this free, basic service.

manny hernandez said...

You are not alone, Jeremiah... and I should say I agree with your comments about why Blogger should still get its act together in spite of being a free service.