Sunday, 11 May 2008

Google vs Feed Aggregators?

For a blogger, it is pretty important to be able to read other people's blogs.

At the moment, EU Referendum looks like this.
Mr Eugenides looks like this, and
A Very Public Sociologist looks like this.

What have these blogs got in common? Well, they're all on Google Blogs/Blogger/Blogspot. For some reason, blogs that are hosted on Google but don't use a blogspot domain name (like this one) don't seem to be affected.

From a quick search on (what else) Google, I discover from the Blogger Help Group that since yesterday morning this problem has affected several blog surfers, and that it is an intentional policy.

"In order to keep Blogger and Blog*Spot running healthy, we're blocking IPs that appear to be making abusive, automatic requests.
If you are seeing a 403 message, your computer may be making requests without your knowledge, or you may be on a network or behind a proxy that is making these requests."

- Blogger Employee

I've checked it out and I'm pretty confident that I don't have any malware on my computer, and I firmly deny writing any bots to automatically search Google. So my guess is that the culprit is my Feed Aggregator, which has most of the blogs on my blogroll on it and has been set to automatically update when each blogger puts up a new post.

So, is Google against feed aggregators (I hope not), or is this a temporary hitch (I hope so)? If you are a reader of blogs and you have experienced this problem, do you use a feed aggregator?


AMcGuinn said...

You should check how often your aggregator picks up the feeds. I vaguely remember that once per hour is generally considered the maximum frequency that should be used.

djb said...

I hit the same problem a couple of days ago and clearing out the cookies in my browser fixed it. I suspect they are used to track the frequency you access the blogs, and if you were as bored as I was, this was to often for them.