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Tell HN: Google drops blogspot.in, breaking hundreds of thousands of permalinks
525 points by sairamkunala on July 8, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 229 comments
When searched within India, Google's Blogspot points to username.blogspot.in as opposed to username.blogspot.com (also in search engines). Most permalinks users use to share are country specific which also reflect on Google Search.

Looks like blogspot.in was picked up by a non Google entity.

  Domain Name: blogspot.in
  Registry Domain ID: DE2DC9C0E8E694C28ADEF0F444F121B45-IN
  Registrar WHOIS Server:
  Registrar URL: www.domainming.com
  Updated Date: 2020-06-29T20:00:06Z
  Creation Date: 2020-06-24T20:00:05Z
  Registry Expiry Date: 2021-06-24T20:00:05Z
  Domain Status: inactive http://www.icann.org/epp#inactive
There is a ceritificate for the blogspot.in along with other blogspot.* domains. Would they end up revoking all the certificates if challenged?


This is one of the main reasons I tried garnering interest around a blogging app idea I had: If you blog with a third party service, eventually your blog will go away due to an acquihire, company shutdown, merger, or whatever happened in this instance (google forgot to renew a domain?). If you want to write seriously with a multi-decade perspective, you need to host it yourself, and I wanted to make that easy to manage for an average Joe. Unfortunately I haven't had any luck gathering interest! Technical people understand the idea but just roll their own using eg Jekyll; and Non-technical people don't get the idea, or dont seem to care.

The idea is here: http://www.splinter.com.au/2020/06/07/chalkinator/

Anyway if anyone has advice i'm all ears :)

This reminds me of the now-obsolete "Windows Live Writer"[1], where you could write everything on your Windows machine and "push" it to Sharepoint, Blogger, LiveWriter, Wordpress and much more. Ultimately, it got an open-source fork called "Open Live Writer"[2].

It sounds like a nice idea - a "Live Writer on steroids". Could be neat.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Live_Writer

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Live_Writer

For anyone wanting to take it for a spin, openlivewriter.org seems to be down since at least May, but .com works, and is also maintained by the same people.



This is a Windows only app. Is there any similar app for Linux?

Publii, Open-Source CMS for Static Site. For Linux, Windows & Mac OS. https://getpublii.com/

Haven't tried it but looks good.

More Linux alternatives: https://alternativeto.net/software/publii/?platform=linux

Might run on WINE.

Also since it’s .net it may compile/run with the Mono natively on Linux/Mac.

Did not run on Wine for me, sadly.

I have been using Windows Live Writer since around 2008 on a WP blog and just recently switched to Open Live Writer. I can't think about blogging without this tool. The fact that it allows me write offline and push my article to my blog with proper formatting is a big plus for me.

There was a Firefox extension called "ScribeFire" which did this and seemed somewhat popular. I used it for a while in the mid-2000s.

It looks like the Firefox extension isn't around, and the corresponding Chrome one [1] doesn't actually work any more and was last updated in 2014.

I suppose things were simpler back then when services had slightly more open APIs.

[1] https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/scribefire/elkkomi...

Thanks a lot! Yes, Open Live Writer sounds very similar to what I'd be making. To be honest I hadn't heard of it.

Honestly it doesn't sound like what you're describing. It's an editor and publisher for WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Moveable Type, etc. Basically MarsEdit but for Windows.

What you're describing seems to be bundling an editor, a static site generator, an S3 syncing service and an S3/Cloudflare onboarding guide.

Thanks, yes you describe my concept quite well. Admittedly i'm not very familiar with OLW so made some assumptions. So perhaps it could be said that if i developed my idea, there's more 'value' in it than OLW in that sense.

There used to be several desktop blogging programs at the past, both commercial and free/open source, but they died because apparently putting everything in the browser is sexier or something.

Anyway, here is one i found out recently and seems to be able to do the job:


And a blog i made with it myself:


Having said that, the first thing a friend of mine (who has managed a few blogs professionally) asked when i mentioned it to him was "can you make posts from your mobile?". Of course the answer is "no" since this runs as a desktop application, manages everything locally and just generates HTML files that can optionally upload/sync to your server for you. But apparently every single non-technical client he had wanted to use their phone to write blog posts way more often than their computer.

And yes, i know this also explains the "because apparently putting everything in the browser is sexier or something" part i wrote at the top, but, dammit, i do not care about mobiles at all, do not go and kill stuff i (might) like.

(though TBH there are several things i dislike about Publii, e.g. the themes are both ugly and too overcomplicated to work with and modify and the program is written in Electron with for real benefit - it doesn't do real WYSIWYG, just a rich text editor almost with the same capabilities as the one you could find even in Visual Basic 4 and it doesn't even preview the site inside it but launches your browser instead, but there isn't really any other alternative that i know of and at the end it seems to work... though i'm itching to go and write my own :-P)

Ok first up, i think your blog title is hilarious "Yet Another Dev Blog That I Will Abandon After a While" :) And very excited to see some love for Paint Shop Pro! Ah memories.

As for Publii, yes it really does appear to be everything I was thinking of making. Except it's Electron and I was thinking native - which users wouldn't notice likely.

Really interesting to hear that people want to post from mobile. I must be in a developers' bubble - i assumed this kind of thing would be done from a desktop! You've really got me thinking there. I guess you could totally do it from mobile. But then you have to fight the app store's distribution/marketing model. Which isn't appealing - at some point you have to ask yourself 'would I just make an easier living as an electrician than do this?'.

Again, interesting to hear your shortcomings with Publii. I think the killer feature would be doing it all from mobile. Which is fine I guess, but then how do you get your data to desktop, backups, etc etc. Lots to consider!

Thanks again for the food for thought :)

> I guess you could totally do it from mobile. But then you have to fight the app store's distribution/marketing model.

I don't know much about the mobile world, so this may be a stupid question, but could you route around the app store problem by making a progressive web app?

I assume a backend of some sort would be necessary, since JS in the browser is a pretty limited environment, but if Chalkinator Desktop is handling your server setup anyway, it could install a personal backend on it for you, and the PWA could talk to that.

My skillset is native iOS apps so it'd be going against my strengths to make a PWA. Plus i'm skeptical of their usability. Having said all that: I mulled it over overnight, and i could use an extra private S3 bucket as the 'backend' for my app, therefore having both desktop and mobile versions with the same 'drafts' prior to publishing. That could really work I think, however it's more work than i was thinking of doing.

This is a great idea and a desktop app is the right fit for a product that aims to give sovereignty to the user. The app should be able to generate HTML files and then upload them to one of the supported providers (netlify, private vps, etc), and at the same time it should also support a list of DNS providers so that it can point the user owned domain to the correct hosting provider. That way the user maintains ownership of the domain and can switch hosting providers at the click of a button.

This means that you as the app developer would be out of the loop and couldn't easily sell the user out. You would only be there to provide updates, include more providers etc.

edit: reading the description of you software better, I think this is what you are going for. The thing you haven't added yet is domain management.

Thanks for reading my idea! Yes i think you understand the concept pretty well. I'd like to be 'out of the loop' as much as possible: Write what you like! As for domain management, I think my app could help with that but I suspect that since it's a once-off thing, a couple of tutorial videos for how to do it yourself with amazon or azure would hopefully do the trick.

The most famous still maintained offline blog editor is Open Live Writer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Live_Writer , previously known as Windows Live Writer). It's Windows-only, which is a big improvement on average-joe-managability and multi-decade-perspectivity fronts to your idea of macOS-only app.

If the problem is longevity, then they should just be able to easily export the contents to a format that can easily be archived and then turned back into a working blog with another platform.

Most blogs are as simple as markdown files, with maybe some complexity in referring to other media files like images, and a key/value map in the form of front matter. That's not very difficult to serialize.

Regarding longevity. Here is a nice setup that should last well until after you are dead:

Write your articles as plain .txt when you don't need images. Or as handwritten html when you do (use relative links and dump the images into a subfolder) You can simply have pre-made templates for this that you copy and paste manually.

Create an account at archive.org Upload your writings root folder. As suggested here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23650600

your writings can live on in a url like https://archive.org/download/test_blog_2020/test/blog/

You can even add custom metadata so that it is searchable in some future incarnation of archive.org (doubt they will ever break the existing metadata even if at some decades down the line someone decides to redesign the whole thing)

archive.org is becoming such an important "ark" of knowledge that in theory there will be a very high chance a copy is preserved somewhere for decades to come. (barring some large scale digital societal collapse)

I was thinking about that issue too! My idea was that my app would have an 'export to Hugo' option so at any time you've got that as an 'escape hatch' or upgrade path, so no risk.

The other day I followed an HN link and downloaded https://www.zettlr.com/ . It's "basically" a manager of Markdown files, and its syntax highlighting was compatible with the Hugo Markdown syntax. For a minute I wondered if I could take the source code of the editor and make it understand my Hugo-specific shortcodes (I put up a lot of pictures so I have homebrew {{ <gallery> }} and {{ <figure> }} shortcodes), but that's in my ever-extending "To Do Someday" list.

The idea would be: it would read the Markdown as I write it, let Hugo render it, and return the HTML to be rendered in the editor window.

Looking at your editor, it really looks like Zettlr (I'm guessing they're both Electron apps).

I guess you have 2 almost separate problems: the editor and the hosting. On the topic of hosting, I guess if a "blogger" can get his own domain name, the actual infrastructure can be swapped under it (and the data republished from the local machine), as long as the reader can load the blog using the known URL, it's fine.

Yes, my app would be a lot like Zettlr but tailored specifically to blogging, with the publishing built-in; it appears to me that Zettlr is more a generic .md editor.

FWIW: my app isn't Electron, it'd be native macOS, that's just my skillset. Maybe i should just use Electron so it could run on windows/linux to be honest.

Yes, the plan would be for the blogger to get their own domain. Bloggers generally already do that when setting up with Wordpress so i don't think that's a problem.

Hugo 0.62 added Markdown rendering hooks so you can do custom processing of a standard markdown image. I was able to use this to get rid of my <figure> shortcodes. The render hook generates the figure tag and also uses Hugo image processing to generate multiple image sizes for srcset.

This way I'm able to keep the markdown completely standard which makes it easier to move to a new platform in the future.

I wouldn't do this as desktop app. That way you are fighting the existing ecosystem. Instead have a webservice that eats the RSS feed of an existing blog and mirrors it, also keeping track of uploaded images, and then when need be spins up a blog instance on digitalocean.

Wouldn't know how to price that, and with RSS often containing just a few items you'd need to think about that when setting up the blog. Though maybe blogspot supports range requests for RSS?

How do you ensure your domain name still remains registered after you're dead? Registrars only allow 10 years worth of registration at once and all the solutions I've seen generally rely on you putting details in your will and trusting family members to continue maintaining. In 50 years time, I have much more faith in google.com still resolving than my custom, boutique domain.

I wish there was a service where you could just buy like, a $1000 US 100 year T-Bill and use the payments from that to guarantee your domain remains alive/hosted for at least 100 years.

Presumably you could set things up through lawyers, trusts, and so forth. But that's obviously not a casual (or cheap) undertaking.

Oh that's not really the problem I'm trying to solve here. Mainly my concern is 'i want to have a blog that spans my entire career' which has been personally difficult due to posterous dying, wordpress upgrades and hacks, etc etc. Static has really stabilised things over the last decade for me.

I'm actually working on one of those third party services :) (see my signature). IMO it makes more sense to have a CMS in the cloud which takes care of backups, etc, and can be accessed from any device.

I agree about the risk of the blog going away in the future which is something that simply cannot be avoided if you're relying on someone else to publish your content. Anyway, we're going to offer an easy way to export your data (maybe markdown files or HTML files or something like that).

If you want full independence and have the skills then yeah a static site is probably the best option. But even for people with technical skills it's a hassle to setup, design/buy a template, figure out the best hosting, no CMS, etc.

Good luck with pluma! I agree CMS in the cloud has strengths such as backups etc. Just in my experience that cloud projects seem to have a half-life of around 5 years :)

I was thinking the same as you: Having an export to some format (i was thinking Hugo or Jekyll) to give people that assurance that there's a plan B if things go bad.

As for the hassle to setup etc, I totally agree! That's a large part of what my idea would solve. And even with technical skills it's a hassle, i agree - which is why i initially thought posing this at devs would be good. But now i think they tend to DIY these things so perhaps not a great target market.

Thanks! Hopefully it will last longer than 5 years! :)

Wouldn't this mean that you just become another blogging service to trust? Even if the users have their own domains, if you close up shop, their blogs will close since you have all the contracts with AWS/whatever. How will you manage the transfer of them to the users?

Or is the idea that the tool registers an account to a server provider for the user? So the user has to pay both you (for the tool) and the server provider (for the server).

Maybe I have misunderstood the aim? In any case, due to what you mentioned, I think it's a difficult niche, since technical people can set up their own and I'd guess most non-technical people don't really care enough.

The idea is that there's no trust required: My app handholds people through the process of setting up on AWS/Azure, then it uploads to their account via their API key. So if i close up shop, they wouldn't even notice (although they might notice a lack of new features after a while).

So yes they'd be paying me and the server. However the server fees would be cents a month. I would aim to present this as a strength to the user: you get billed direct by AWS/Azure because you're not at ransom to me - you hold the keys to the kingdom.

I suspect you're right though: Technical people will DIY, and nontechnical won't care, and will simply use Wordpress (it's the IBM of blogging: "nobody got fired for buying Wordpress")

> Wouldn't this mean that you just become another blogging service to trust?


At some point the desktop app will need updates too. If the developer stops updating it it will be as good as dead.

You're spot on right, especially with the pace of change in macOS. I was thinking that i could angle this as a good reason to charge for the product: "If you want this app to stick around for the long term, paying will ensure that". Combined with some sort of code escrow perhaps, plus a hugo or jekyll export as an 'offramp', i think it could be presented as reasonably 'safe-enough'.

> especially with the pace of change in macOS

Exactly. Windows and Android apps last forever. Not so much in Apple land.

It's not only that though. For example, something could be deprecated in the AWS SDK. If the app has to deploy somewhere it will be coupled to that too.

Have you tried https://getpublii.com/?

No i haven't - having just had a brief look at it, it seems to be exactly what i was proposing (except it's not a native app, which is probably neither here nor there for most users).

I seem to remember someone trying to build a blogging service on top of Matrix. I don't really understand the specifics but I assume since it's decentralised and federated, any other home server could then connect to your home sever and also host it/mirror it?

That doesn't sound like his idea. Posthaven says they plan to exist long-term, but they aren't doing it in a way that if they do fail, you don't lose your blog.

Exactly: All your eggs are still in posthaven's basket (and i'm sure they have all the best intentions in the world!).

Thanks for the pointer! Yes, that's the concept that i'm aiming for, except that the user would bring their own hosting for even more chance of longevity (i assume posthaven has a bus-factor of 1 or maybe 2).

How about Hugo+cms editor on netlify https://www.netlifycms.org/docs/hugo/


No need to be snarky. I think his idea is quite good, even if not 100% unique.

Lack of uniqueness can be a good thing: It proves there's a market out there for your idea. Thanks for the kind words :)

I'm surprised no-one mentioned Mark Monitor[0] (no affiliation). A lot of big brand corporations use it to protect their intellectual property. Can you imagine, for example, someone getting their hands on `apple.com` or `icloud.com`. They could wreak havoc since a lot of iDevices use those two domains in order to function and you could pwn many devices if you were determined enough. I imagine MM solves the 10-year time window problem by ensuring the domain lives well on into the future. It's what they do.

[0] https://www.markmonitor.com

Yeah, and I checked a few whois history sites and the domain had been registered with Mark Monitor as the registrar. That's a major mistake on their [MarkMonitor's] part.

Edit: clarified that I meant the error seems to be on MM's side.

What's the major mistake? I don't follow.

Companies hire MarkMonitor to safeguard their protected marks, which generally involves registering these marks under basically every TLD available. MarkMonitor themselves is an ICANN registrar so companies generally don't need to worry about renewals: MarkMonitor just handles it (how it actually gets billed back likely depends upon the contract).

So unless Google explicitly told MarkMonitor to release the domain, this seems like MarkMonitor dropped the ball.

Google doesn't use MarkMonitor as far as I know.

Despite having it's own generic registrar service, Google uses MarkMonitor for most of it's domains, for reasons people have already outlined.

TIL, thanks!

For at least google.com, they do:

    $ whois google.com
    Registrar: MarkMonitor Inc.

I read it as that blogspot.in was registered via Mark Monitor and that MM made a big mistake here.

I think you misunderstood, MM is a company that could have prevented this.

The domain was registered with MM.

Oh shit! Then it was me who misunderstood. Thanks!

Do large corps pay for their domain registration in small increments or buy up 10 year blocks at once? If you're Apple or AMZN or similar, paying upfront for 99 years won't exactly break the bank.

The original reason for the per-country domains was to allow Google to "continue promoting free expression and responsible publishing while providing greater flexibility in complying with valid removal requests pursuant to local law."

It arose around the question "Does a judge in country A have the ability to censor content in country B?". Google has long argued that a judge does not have this authority.

https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/2402711 https://www.theverge.com/2012/1/31/2761454/google-blogger-au...

> Google has long argued that a judge does not have this authority.

Google, and anyone with a functioning brain stem.

Jurisdictions exist for a reason, and with a number of exceptions somewhere in the low single digits (and maybe zero), all jurisdictions end at the borders of a country.

Kind of. Countries have jurisdictions within them, such as states and there is the EU of course, and then countries make treaties with each other so there can be influence across countries.

Influence but not jurisdiction. Outside of crimes against humanity/universal jurisdiction, I cant think of a situation where a country A would have jurisdiction over an event that happens in another country B involving nobody of nationality A. Even in the EU there's a lot of guidelines and processes for figuring out which member country gets jurisdiction over cases.

I cant think of a situation where a country A would have jurisdiction over an event that happens in another country B involving nobody of nationality A

Trade sanctions. Banking regulations. It happens all the time.

Those still involve people of nationality A. The people importing/sending out funds to the bank etc.

Not necessarily.

Country A can put an embargo on certain products to Country B. When Country C sends those products to Country B, Country A refuses to do business with Country C, or fines it, or levies some other penalty.

Country A is still involved in their transactions with country C. The only way they are exercising any power is through their direct involvement in the trade network. This also isn't a legal court case with a crime and jurisdiction so it doesnt even really fit the idea of where crimes are evaluated in a court of law - international trade wars are not criminal law unless there are crimes against humanity involved, which I already put a disclaimer about as one of those crimes considered having universal jurisdiction. Though you still have to invade them to be able to prosecute people, in which case you extend your jurisdiction by turning the country into a territory as in ww2

That doesn't give A any jurisdiction over B or C. They're simply retaliating.

It's important to talk about the same thing.

This isn't what jurisdiction means.

Taking the example of Julian Assange, a UK judge gets to effectively choose his fate, even if that is deciding which jurisdiction he ends up in next.

You are technically correct. In practice the UK is making the decision of his ultimate fate, so I think that is worth highlighting.

However it may not apply at all to the original argument made, so sorry for the typical HN detour.

Apparently YouTube has had to deal with that because media companies have licensed content on a per state (and even a per city) basis!!

Honestly the whole notion of losing your domain if you accidentally don't pay is pretty silly. A domain in usage is obviously meant to continue, even if an organization misses a process to renew.

Far better would be that a domain is yours in perpetuity until you explicitly cancel it. If you don't pay, you get bills, or it goes to collections, or the domain temporarily stops resolving or something... but you shouldn't lose it. (If a person passes away, their estate figures out what to do with it.)

The notion that if you forget to pay, 60 days later it's gone (poof), just seems like a dumb policy in the first place.

And for those wondering how a business forgets to renew, it's pretty easy: the employee (A) in charge of managing renewals is let go, and so is their manager (B) at around the same time, so the manager (B) doesn't transfer responsibility from (A) to a new person, and their manager (C) doesn't realize the original employee two levels down (A) never had their responsibility transferred, because that was B's job.

There is already something in place where if you forget to renew, the domain is place in holding for a specified amount of time before it is released.

domains are an asset just like anything else. personally i don't see why if you are a business, you don't register you domain for 10 years or more. just as a test i went to godaddy and looked at how much it costs to register a .com domain for 10 years... it was less than $100. honestly... if you are a business and it costs you $1000 to register you domain for 100 years, why wouldn't you do it.

First, you can't renew for more than 10 years.

Second, long-term renewals are precisely the scariest ones. It's actually tremendously difficult for a business to keep a process in place that happens once every 10 years. The employee who registered the domain (and their e-mail address) are probably long gone. The responsibility has been passed along 5 different employees during that time, and the last one got fired and nobody knew they were the one in charge of renewals. And then you find out, suddenly you don't own the domain anymore!

This is the whole problem in a nutshell. Counter-intuitively, if it were a bill sent monthly, it would be much harder for people to forget about (and you could rely on USPS forwarding for changes of address).

If you believe that Network Solutions will be around and in the domain business long term, you can have them handle it for you.

They offer 20 and 100 year "registration". I put registration in quotes because the max underlying registration is still only 10 years. They implement 20 and 100 year registration by registering for 10 years and then extending that one year per year.

The 100 year "registration" used to even be a good deal. It was $999, which for .com and .net and .org brought the effective per year price down to around what the cheaper registrars charged and locked it in.

I actually thought of using it for my domain, until I remembered that I'll be long dead before getting anywhere near even half of that time out of it. Even taking into account likely price increases in year by year registration at the cheap places, which make the break even point for $999/100 years much earlier than 100 years, I was unlikely to be around that long.

100 years is now $2000, making it a much less interesting deal. Still, assuming a modest annual increase at the cheap registrars it still does eventually win so if you are going to need the domain a long time it might actually be worth it (if you are confident NS will last that long), and does make it so you don't have to think about the problem for another 100 years.

The 20 year option, also for $20/year, is almost certainly not worth it unless not having to worry about renewal for 20 years is an overwhelming concern for you. The prices at the cheaper registrars are probably unlikely to rise fast enough to make the break even for $20/year less that 20 years out, assuming you start with a 10 year registration now so that the current ~$10/year is locked in for 10 years.

>Still, assuming a modest annual increase at the cheap registrars it still does eventually win

I know it's not the main point of your comment, but if you're going to consider future annual increases you should also consider the net present value. If you have to pay $2000 up front and the cost of a domain stays at about ~$10/year but goes up with inflation, you'll never win. Financially, you're better off investing your $2,000 (even very conservatively) and then paying the $10/year registration fee out of your earnings while pocketing the rest (and still having your $2,000 in principal at the end).

> The 100 year "registration" used to even be a good deal.

Yeah, but then you're dealing with Network Solutions for 100 years. That's not a good deal at any price. :P

You can set it up so you renew up to 10 full years (from the remaining 9) every year. That way you have 9 chances to fail before it becomes an issue.

Also for a fairly small organization you can have all the domains listed in one place with the renewal dates and review that every 6 months or year (to make sure all the new ones were added, the contacts are still all valid [hopefully you setup things like [domains]@[companyname].com or something but..., you have noted any that you no longer want or were transferred away...

> You can set it up so you renew up to 10 full years (from the remaining 9) every year. That way you have 9 chances to fail before it becomes an issue.

That's also a good idea because it gives you plenty of time to switch domains if you have to.

Consider the recent almost-sale of .org which had a lot of people worried about large price increases. If you want to move to a cheaper TLD after such a thing it could take a lot longer than a year. Remember, it's not just web stuff you need to address. There's also email. My primary email has been at my personal domain for over 20 years--getting everyone who has it updated with a new address at a different TLD would not be quick.

By keeping it 10 years out, I've got at least 9 years to deal with moving everything if I have to switch.

I use namecheap and just use their auto renew feature. Do other registrars not have that option?

Auto renewal doesn't help here.

Credit cards expire, e-mails get deactivated, addresses change.

If you're not getting notices about your domain expiring in the first place, auto-renew isn't going to stay working after your credit card expires, which is only a couple years.

I use Namecheap, and I have deliberately avoided their auto-renewal service because it doesn't offer me anything.

The key point is that a human needs to be involved in an audit process which occurs regularly. And so I renew all my domains once per year in December, a year in advance.

Now that I think about it, I suppose I could extend one year at a time, but keep a 1-2 year buffer (or larger) in case of dire emergency instead of a 0-1 year buffer.

> I use namecheap and just use their auto renew feature. Do other registrars not have that option?

That still runs into the 10 year problem. Whatever payment information an organization sets up will probably be invalid in 10 years.

This is good solution.

There’s really absolutely no problem with that.

The expiration date is public information, so even if the person left and you have no idea which email is registered on it - you still own the business (and thus can reclaim the account) and can check publically whether the renewal is due.

That's exactly why I renew all my domains on a yearly bases, even for personal ones. It forces me to remember to do it in a way that I never risk forgetting about it.

Just try to remember what you bought 10 years ago, and you'll understand why I'm scared of long-term renewals.

> Second, long-term renewals are precisely the scariest ones. It's actually tremendously difficult for a business to keep a process in place that happens once every 10 years.

Renew for 10 years and then have a process to extend the renewal every year.

If you want a monthly reminder that something exists, you can set that up. Why use the billing service of another company for that reminder function?

A monthly reminder for a person is great. A monthly reminder within a business organization is what? A calendar event for everyone in IT? For the whole company? The nice thing about monthly billing is it comes from the outside and would get bounced around until it found the right desk.

There are plenty of outside reminder services that send reminder emails. Are you saying that the company has a physical address it will always answer but not an email address? Or that it will ignore regular emails to this address unless they contain a bill? (If bills do get reliably paid, why not just make them every 10 years?)

Honestly, what is with that? Why is there a limit on how long I can renew for? Some TLDs I've seen 1 or 2 year limits. What the fuck.

"It's actually tremendously difficult for a business to keep a process in place that happens once every 10 years" "if it were a bill sent monthly"

there are so many calendar and reminder apps out there. just setup two of them to go off to remind you. respectfully, your forgetfulness is not an excuse.

If it was as simple as that companies such as Mark Monitor surely wouldn't exist

it is that simple, however people don't want the responsibility.

I'm an individual, and I really don't like administration. Why can't I just register and own a domain rather than effectively paying rent to exist?

Your point about business operations is totally valid, but business is just one sort of human activity and shouldn't be the yardstick for everything else. Most of these blogs on blogspot.in were likely just personal journals. Domain registration seems like the sort of thing a public blockchain would be ideal for in comparison to a centralized registrar.

Then name coin seems right up your alley!

Why yes, yes it does. Thanks for the suggestion!

This isn't true for all registrars. My domain expired and it was re-sold via auction within seconds of its expiration. Network Solutions used to have a retention policy, they don't follow it if your domain has been bid on. I lost a domain I had owned since about 1997 this way :/

ICANN does limit you to only being able to register for up to 10 years in advance.

You can’t register a .com for more than 10 years.

This would be too easily abused by domain squatters, I think. Maybe instead increase the 60 days to 90 or 120? But increasing to "forever" is unrealistic.

I'm in the minority of people when I say this, but I'm in favor of making domain ownership enough of a burden to reduce the number of domains registered and never used vs. making them extremely cheap and easy to own.

There are so many great domains that are registered and not in use. When starting a company these days, it's difficult to find a decent .com without paying thousands of dollars to a squatter or compromising with a TLD like .io

> This would be too easily abused by domain squatters, I think.

Why? Professional domain squatters are the ones that never forget to renew, because it's their main business. And if they stop paying on 1,000's or 100,000's of domains, the registrar will take them to court pretty quick to resolve the contractual debt. And either the company goes bankrupt or pays the bill, same as literally any other professional service. A contract's still a contract.

And if you're squatting on just a few domains personally and stop paying, it goes to collections, shows up on your credit report, and lowers your credit score like any other consumer debt not meeting payments. Which, if you want to open new credit cards or buy a house, is gonna be a big problem.

There are already avenues to address this, the same as any other debt you incur. "Forever" just means until it sends you to bankruptcy and you lose it formally, worst-case scenario. It's not some kind of blank check to register a billion domain names, not pay for them, and face zero consequences...

Your view here is entirely US / western centric. Billions of people have access to the Internet along with the right to buy domain names that don’t live in countries with collections agencies or credit reports.

You don't "buy" a domain any more that you "buy" your phone number -you rent it.

I assure you all countries have collection agencies even if its 3 guys with ak's in a technical with a DhskA

Most countries have state-enforced debt collection instead of private enforcement like in USA.

I was joking about failed states

It would take a ton of bureaucratic overhead, but you could have a system where you could apply for permanent ownership of a domain only after establishing that you're actively using that domain for the purpose of a business or project. Basically a trademark system for domain names. Perhaps with the caveat that a limited number of domains could be reserved for any one project, so that Google couldn't tie a thousand different URLs to Blogspot.

I'm very unhappy with the impermanence of online resources; some great websites that I used to rely on for information or conversation have just disappeared with time. Some have been archived by the Wayback Machine, some haven't. Obviously, a permanent server is a bigger concern (and a bigger problem) than a permanent domain, but I still think something like this could be a step in the right direction.

> Basically a trademark system for domain names.

Maintaining ownership of a trademark is not trivial. People pay lawyers to do it. Perhaps they should do the same for important domain names?


They do RELEX (Reed Elsevier) paid a third party to mange their domain portfolio.

I’d like some combination of both: increase the base price (or scale it with the number of domains owned by a single entity?) but have some kind of grace period based on the time you’ve held it where you accrue a charge with interest (to prevent squatters abusing it) but can get it back quickly if you pay in full.

If a business screws up, paying a few grand in late fees is much better than losing it to a squatter and that can protect users from someone malicious buying a domain used by an app or something.

I like your idea of having a time period based on how long you've continually held it, in a paid up fashion.

But even that should be capped to some reasonable time scale, like 90 to 120 days.

Definitely — the main thing I was thinking is that this could be a great value add for a particular registrar focused on businesses. Bake in time and money so they could do something like send registered mail or something to an address on contact in addition to emails.

Oh man, I used to work at a startup where we forgot to renew our domain subscription because the domain was registered by our CEO and the renewal notice went to their personal email address and it got swallowed up in a tide of unread emails.

That was a fun day. Lots of freaking out, lots of looking balefully at all of our branded swag (domain printed as part of logo).

It turned out alright in the end - we got the domain back by placing a call to the TLD organization.

Side note: “balefully” means “menacingly”, not “wistfully”.

According to Chambers, it can mean both "menacingly" and "gloomily":


I actually meant "dolefully", but it came out "balefully". :)

> And for those wondering how a business forgets to renew, it's pretty easy: the employee (A) in charge of managing renewals is let go, and so is their manager (B) at around the same time, so the manager (B) doesn't transfer responsibility from (A) to a new person, and their manager (C) doesn't realize the original employee two levels down (A) never had their responsibility transferred, because that was B's job.

It's still pretty ridiculous, because businesses have plenty of other periodic filings and fees and renewals to deal with that have nothing to do with computers. There are permits that need renewal. Old fire extinguishers need to be replaced or recharged to avoid fines when the fire inspectors come around. There are all kinds of tax filings due monthly, quarterly, and yearly. There are various trademark and patent maintenance fees they need to pay during the life of a trademark or patent to keep it alive. They might also have long term contracts with janitorial services, landscaping services, copier/fax maintenance services, utilities, payment processors, and many others that they might want to review a couple weeks or months before they expire to research if they want to change providers.

Somewhere they should have a shared unified calendar of all these things, listing when they are due and what manager in in charge of getting them done. The computer stuff, like domain renewals and certificate renewals, should be on there.

This calendar should be regularly checked by someone high up, like the COO. That person just has to check it enough to be aware of any deadlines approaching, and if they do not get marked as "in progress" as they get close this person can poke the head of the appropriate department to get it taken care of.

Sure, a department could still have forgotten in the way you describe, but it gets noticed before the deadline giving them time to figure out how to fix it. But unless you get a chaotic shake up at the top, it should be nearly impossible for a company to actually forget about any of the aforementioned deadlines.

You're quite right, but domains are fairly unique in that not renewing one lets someone else come along and pick up in the exact same place and "appear" to be the same entity that had the domain before. Phone numbers are another, but they're somewhat difficult to monitor for cancellations and then try to grab (it can be done as I've done it for a past employer, but it's not the same level of ease as a domain).

Even failing to renew a corporate franchise with a state "only" has the consequence of that corporate entity being administratively dissolved. While likely catastrophic for that specific corporation, if "Example Widgets Ltd." fails to be renewed, I can't come along and register "Example Widgets Ltd." on the corporate register and then ring up the bank of the former Example Widgets and say "hi there it's me Example Widgets please hand over checking account."

All of that said, I don't know if there's a better way to handle this. If we assume that domain names must expire--which we currently do, and I can make an argument for and against that assumption--then what's next? It's expired but never usable again?

Good thought experiment for the morning to take my mind off of COVID's impacts on transit funding.

Pricing would have to change so that $5/year * infinity = (new price) * 4% compounding interest * infinity. That is possible to do, but it would be expensive.

(Nobody is going to give up their $5/year just because it's hard to get people to renew the domain. As losing blogspot.in showed, someone was willing to pay when Google couldn't be reached to give them a working credit card.)

IMO I'd like a required timeout for "lost domains" before a new owner is able to pick it up would help this situation, unless given the transfer code from the old owner.

There is. It's called a redemption period, and lasts 30 days. Many registrars also offer a grace period of a similar length before that.

Information silos are an issue with every org at every level, not just with technical people. There are technological tools to help facilitate knowledge sharing (think enterprise wikis, password sharing, generic email inboxes, etc.) coupled with policies requiring things to be done a certain way (think register domains with this generic email acct., etc.). I find it interesting that companies don't put further effort into this...for exactly the reason in the original link.

There's probably a long tail of domains bought, used once (if at all), and forgotten. The registrars aren't going to be happy holding these in some kind of quarantine.

Squatters would buy domains in bulk to sit on and rent out to the rest of us, and we'd end up with a similar situation to what we have now.

employee (A) should've setup auto renewal

Within a couple years your credit card will have expired. Auto renewal doesn't help at all here.

Just another reason to always, always claim your own domain. If you rely on someone else's domain, you have no control over it.

Although it must be said: even your own registered domain can be lost. Generally due to you not paying attention, but I believe it has also happened that a registrar fucked up and sold a customer's domain to someone else.

Maybe we need better regulation for this sort of thing. If you get a new phone subscription with a different phone provider, the phone providers are required (in the EU at least) to allow you to keep your phone number, because so many things are tied to it. The same is true for email addresses and websites. Breaking this can cause serious problems to people.

No, this is not the reason. You would have much more likely chance being kicked by the registrar/card not accepted/country ban/forgot password/domain hacked/forgetting to renew and myriad of other reason than medium/google forgetting to renew their domain. This event is extremely unlikely.

You aren't using your own domain because Google may forget to renew their domain, you are using your own domain so you are not relying on Google to make your content available. If you are afraid that your registrar may kick you out, you should also be afraid that Google may kick you out too - which actually has a higher chance to happen than losing your own domain (assuming you are paying for it).

Personally after losing my blog when Posterous shut down i decided i do not want to bother with 3rd party blog services anymore.

You can petition ICANN if you lost a domain that you paid for. As long as you are the rightful owner it will be returned to you. Keep a active credit card on file with your registrar and keep a credit with them as well. All the horror stories I see are cases where someone stops paying.


> As long as you are the rightful owner it will be returned to you.

As long you can prove you are the rightful owner. Sometimes that's much easier said than done, especially to a particular burden of proof they might require to pull the domain away from someone actively using it.

Was running a multi hour deploy. Only minor features, so low risk.

Everything broke with our biggest client.

After a massive scramble it turned out our clients certificate had expired, in middle of the deploy.

  So our system could no longer talk to them.

It's going to be a lot easier for Google to do that to get blogspot.in back versus if I were to do it.

> You would have much more likely chance being kicked by the registrar/card not accepted/country ban/forgot password/domain hacked/forgetting to renew and myriad of other reasons...

Folks underestimate how easily this can happen and how very painful the entire process can be: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3597025

There's pros and cons. I had a 4 letter .com back in the late 90s, but I was on holiday and my card expired - the hosting company emailed me, but clearly I didn't get it, so they didn't renew, and "ename technology" have been squatting it for 20 years.

I always have two cards on file with my registrar, but this year I had to cancel one card and the other one expired. Thankfully I was on top of my emails but I came within a month of losing my domains, which all kind of renew around the same time. It's frustrating to have to worry about this every once in a while.

Then renew 2 years at a time and then set a reminder to extend the renewal every year? That way you have a full year of leeway.

I have a lot more faith in me maintaining my personal domain name than google maintaining whatever service.

I also get evicted if I don’t pay rent on time. Paying recurring fees so services remain available is part of being a functional person.

Medium going out of business seems inevitable.

Your probably right.

If 1+ billion internet users had their own domain names, we'd never hear the end of the

Never use your own domain for anything ever

horror stories.

Or there might be a very robust infrastructure in place to prevent that from happening because there is now a multi-billion dollar market that companies want to serve.

Well I assume the comment is aimed at HN people not everyone in the world.

Yes because google never kills off services...


ohh wait https://killedbygoogle.com/

It says AngularJS is killed off. That doesn't sound right... can someone fill me in?

As mentioned... it's Angular "1" and it's planned for July 2021 when LTS ends.


Thanks for clearing that up!

This feels like it probably doesn't belong on this site. We don't say Google "killed" Android (Nougat), it's just an old EOL version. I've not used Angular, so maybe there are some salient differences I'm not appreciating.

The differences between AngularJS and Angular are roughly at the same level as the differences between Angular and React or Angular and jQuery.

Even so, it's not exactly comparable to killing a service. If you really want to continue using Angular 1, you can. You can even fork it and keep it up to date yourself. That's completely different from abandoning a proprietary service.

Lots of people don't like Angular-non-js, since it makes a lot of breaking changes and, among other things, switches to Typescript. AngularJS going EOL is effectively equal to it dying.

Angular, a typescript based framework is different from AngularJS a javascript based framework even though that have the same root name

Google killed AngularJS.

See: https://docs.angularjs.org/misc/version-support-status

Looks like it will get security patches through parts of next year.

Angular, the successor to AngularJS is still alive and kicking.

I tweeted the site owner he refused to remove it. According to him its angular js is killed

This isn’t a great example, it’s succeeded by “Angular”, v2 of AngularJS.

Angular 1, not Angular 2 or more accurately, AngularJS was killed off and superseded by Angular.

Let's see how fast can Google recover the domain and we'll know how much they can bend the rules in their favour

My personal domain is currently paid for 9 years in advance. Namecheap also notifies me if automatic renewal did not work due to credit card issues via my personal email address.

I've also set real-time health checks on my domain to run periodically (via a service similar to Pingdom) and I should receive SMS and email alerts whenever there's something wrong with it, like MX entries not found, or the domain's expiry being in less than two months.

> "If you get a new phone subscription with a different phone provider, the phone providers are required (in the EU at least) to allow you to keep your phone number"

This is true, but if you stop paying for your subscription, or you stop recharging your prepaid SIM card, you will lose that phone number. In essence it isn't any different than paying for your own domain name.

ask hn: how could this have happened? According to https://www.domain.com/blog/2018/11/01/domain-name-expiratio..., there's supposed to be a 30 + 30 days grace period following domain expiry, where the original registrant can claim the domain. Was blogspot.in really down for 60 days and nobody noticed?

Last crawl on Internet Archive, which used to hit blogspot.in almost daily, was May 21. [0]

Domain deletion processes vary per TLD. For .in it appears to be a 30 day grace period + 5 day hold period. [1]

[0] https://web.archive.org/web/20200521111932/http://blogspot.i...

[1] https://www.registry.in/registrants-faq

Was it on purpose because of India's crazy censorship lately, or just oversight?

Likely due to the disruption caused by the pandemic.


480,000 results for me. All broken. Wow.

>480,000 results for me

I see 4,540,000 results.

Many old links on Hacker News are also broken:


I see a somewhat ironic message from that google search


I get 388 results: https://i.imgur.com/rPWUUUW.png

I see 4’720’000 results, even more WOW ;)

I now have "About 5,080,000 results (0.15 seconds)" (so more _and faster_ than previous results, lol); clearly our interest in this search term has attracted the attention of SEO bots ;P.

It's increasing?! I got the following:

> About 6,080,000 results (0.21 seconds)

> About 5,000,000 results (0.16 seconds)

"About 4,910,000 results (0.26 seconds)"

About 53,80,000 results (0.22 seconds)

What region are you in that this is how the number is formatted?

This is formatted as “lacs” or “lakhs”.

A “lac” is equivalent to 100 thousand.

So it would be colloquially said as 53 lacs 80 thousand.

I would guess Japan. Looks like the "man" concept they have to group numbers by 10k.

Edit: it seems to be also the case in other east asia countries, see this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myriad#East_Asia

Japan and China use regular Western comma grouping for Latin numerals. The myriads are used only when using Japanese/Chinese numerals: 1万円 for 10,000 yen, 2億円 for 200,000,000.

Thanks, I didn't know the formatting was following rules of Latin/Roman numerals. I remember having difficulties when learning to group numbers by 10k (with the -man suffix) during japanese courses more than a decade ago, I always assumed that was used everywhere.

Downvoted for a wrong guess? That's a bit harsh...

Yeah India

Most likely they claim the domain back quickly? Yes?

But that’s a massive mess up by Google. I know blogspot is not any at focus product for them but still it should hurt.

It is not a new phenomenon, I am still grouchy about how Deja was handled. :(

Apart from the massive list of broken bookmarks, am also wondering what is the risk of the new owners attempting some kind of phishing fraud on unsuspecting non-technical users?

Really surprised by Google dropping the ball like this...

But are we surprised?

Well, yes. Google usually makes an announcement before they shut domains off.

The registrar "domainming"(domainming.com) of .in domains, is the biggest abuser of nixi policies. NIXI specifically says that registrars themselves cannot participate in dropcatching and selling, but the owner of domainming Mr. Salim, goes on with his business unperturbed. I am sure like how the Indian registrar mitsu was banned by NIXI for violation of policies, the same way I am certain that law will catch up with domainming.

Why would an organization like Google ever even drop a domain? A 10 year domain registration is what - $150?

Obviously it's not a cost issue, ha. And for all we know it was a 10 year registration... that ended now.

In fact, the less frequent renewals are, the more likely the business process intended to take care of them isn't working anymore. (The employee left, the spreadsheet was lost, the e-mail address alerts are sent to isn't monitored anymore, etc.)

Organizationally, handling infrequent yet critical tasks is actually a hard problem.

My bet is that it's a complicated mistake.

(Disclosure: I work for Google, speaking only for myself)

I suppose I'll go start looking for other google domains that heavily impact internet users if they expire, and are close to expiration, and just pay the ~$100 to renew them for another 10 years and write the cost off as public service [1].

[1] https://www.techdirt.com/articles/000118/1443242.shtml

There's clearly no fail-safe (even moderately so) solution to this problem on the centralized internet. Yet more reason for Secure Scuttlebutt, Dat and IPFS to exist.

How specifically do those solve this issue?

IPFS wouldn't solve this problem.


AWS announced that they were going to disable links to files hosted on S3 that used a deprecated format. But after much outcry about how many links would be broken, they [1] back tracked.


[1] Should I be saying “we” now that I have been working for AWS for less than a month? I’m not use to being identified as an employee at BigTech.

AWS bare links are a cesspit and are increasingly blocked by firewalls. The sunset will occur one way or the other.

Acknowledged (post-Bezos acquisition) at the Washington Post in 2014:

"Amazon is a hornet’s nest of malware"

Of the 10 sites that pump out malware most frequently, four are hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) — including the number one site, download-instantly.com, according to a threat report published Wednesday by the IT security firm Solutionary.

The report comes a week after we learned that hackers allegedly used Amazon's cloud hosting solution as a platform for a botnet that scraped personal information from potentially millions of LinkedIn subscribers....


Someone in Google going to have a very hard day that's for sure.

IPFS will fix this. Permanently and forever. Move to Web3. The Big Tech firms are providing the incentive towards Web3/IPFS apparently not just by their rampant political censorship but also by breaking links. Everything about Big Tech monopolies is just harmful to the web. People are fed up with it.

Is IPFS easy enough for normal people to use yet?

IPFS isn't really something end users work with directly.

Apps and platforms (like the one I'm building: https://quanta.wiki) use IPFS behind the scenes. The main characteristic the end user will need to know is that is is IPFS and is therefore uncensorable, decentralized, and secure.

And that's why you should own your own domain.

I don't know, I didn't pay for some time and now it's parked by a bot.

Man those domain squatter bot companies, they aren't even interested in selling the domain back in some cases. I don't understand the business model. Maybe they're buying google pagerank score.

ad income generated by traffic to page (either organic or typos) exceeds the cost of the domains. then scale to 10s of thousands.

In my case, I think it's related to SEO.

I stopped renewing my domain (4 letter .org) in college, but I was able to get it back a couple years later when the new person didn't pay (or did a chargeback or something... it became available in the middle of the term).... I guess just keep checking.

My firstname.com domain gets renewed by a lawyer every year. Last 12 years. Through a local web host/domain registrar whose customers are mostly the people who where their customers two decade ago (because they were probably one of the 2-3 companies back then) and don't know better to move elsewhere.

He doesn't even reply to emails. Not sure he checks them. The domain is not being used for anything. Mails, forwarding, websites - nothing. Nada!

It's not even his name. Let's say the domain is "johnsonmon.com" and his name is "John Mark". I wonder whether it's for some client of theirs.

Every year it gets renewed for one year at a price that's around twice the second highest price among local registrars here (guessing based on that registrar's current renewal price).

Use content addressing. There are still many rough edges to be worked through but IPFS and others don’t get enough attention when stuff like this comes up on HN.

I would probably use Switcheroo Redirector extension if I needed a quick fix, but I'll keep you posted with better solutions.


Thanks a lot! Yes, Open Live Writer sounds very similar to what I'd be making. To be honest I hadn't heard of it. https://futuremirror.info

It doesn't seem like Google had forgotten to renew the domain, may be blogspot is next on line?[1]


Yeah going by https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/google/risky-blogspoti... it sounds like they had ample warning.

Google doesn't use a service like Markmonitor or one of the dozens of other professional asset management companies to register their domains?


Google is slowly becoming the destroyer of the (old) internet. (See amp, removal of urls, etc) I'm fairly certain I don't like really the new internet, even if some of the url re-representations are reasonably nice.

Just remember Deja News.

dang, is this comment https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23769393 causing this post to erroneously show up in https://news.ycombinator.com/ask?

Any submission that’s not a link or Launch (reserved for YC companies) is put under the Ask banner, “Ask HN:” in the title is customary but not required, so no, it’s not erroneous.

A great example of why domain owners need domain name insurance. Domain insurance protects the owner from the loss of the domain, from UDRPs, expiring domains, failed renewals, stolen domains, etc.

If it's a high-value domain (or if one that you just can't lose), then there other options, such as a registrar lock, or simply registering it for 100 years (i.e., Network Solutions), or even forever (Epik offers a forever domain registration). But that doesn't protect the domain owner from losing it via UDRP, lawsuit, Trademark issue, or having it stolen from them.

> or even forever

I highly doubt this is going to be the case. Even those 100 year registrations could easily bankrupt a company with a steep domain price hike or some inflation.

I mean, it's okay if one wants to be secure, but investing several thousand dollars in a company for a promise that's very likely going to be broken is - in my opinion - not a good strategy. Especially when you can invest the same money into a 10-year registration with yearly renewal (to stay at 10 years) and sufficient monitoring.

To be honest I never got why Blogger bothered with a country specific domain when visiting a blog

This sounded like a problem waiting to happen

I understand onboarding your customers using a custom domain per country but not just switching (to the domain of the visitor, not of the blog even!)

No only it was problem waiting to happen, it's extremely annoying to the end-users to be redirected all around with forced languages based just on their IP. But that's what google does all over the place...

Local domains get higher CTRs and hence rankings on Google.

Blogspot is an acquired Google property, hence they actually needed to care about SEO instead of just forcing their results up through rich snippets and widgets.

source: https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/2402711?hl=en

but other country specific URLs current redirect to .com

Google has said that this is to comply with local laws that may require censoring certain kinds of content: https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/2402711?hl=en

more like semipermalinks, amirite

<sarcasm> People are easier to control if they don't talk. Average Joe should not have a say in anything, he should not have a voice at all. So you give him a bit of toilet paper to write his stuff on and toss it in the loo.

We see this dark pattern all over. How should one reason about it? A large part of the book burning is without intend. Or are we indoctrinated to support it?

IMHO everything that doesn't cost anything to preserve should be preserved.

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