Yes, you heard it right Google lost blogspot.in domain which resulted in breaking hundreds of thousands of blog. Let’s explore how Google lost the domain, Who registered it and what they may do next with it.
For those who do not know, First of all let’s talk about what is blogspot.in domain and why this is worth writing about?
BlogSpot (now known as Google blogger) is a free blogging platform that allows multi-user blogs. It was developed by Pyra Labs, which Google bought in 2003. Blogger is a free publishing platform, while BlogSpot is a free domain service provider. They’re both owned by Google and are used together on the Blogger platform. To make it simple : Google hosts your blog on their Blogger platform with a default BlogSpot domain.
Google lost control of a regional BlogSpot domain while rendering millions of sites inaccessible due to broken links. However, Blogger platform is fully functional. Is Google to blame ?
Google Lost Control of BlogSpot.in
If you’re a user of blogger domain blogspot.in, you may be aware that by now, it does not open blogger rather you are presented with an error message.
In July 2020 a news broke down mentioning that google lost its control over BlogSpot.in, which couldn’t be true for a company like Google, but as visible in the image above, it’s true. Searching “site:blogspot.in” returns about 4.4 million results which shows how big a screw-up Google made here.
Who Registered BlogSpot.in
An Indian hosting company ‘DomainMing’ was able to get hold of the domain blogspot.in. It is very much possible that they setup a back order engine which got hold of the domain the moment it was made available for public.
DomainMing is a small hosting company based of India. While their act of getting hold of a domain like this might get them in trouble, as National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) specifically says that registrars themselves cannot participate in drop-catching domains and selling. Indian registrar Mitsu was banned by NIXI for violation of similar policies, the same way it is possible that NIXI might take some actions against DomainMing.
‘Google’ First Owner of BlogSpot.in?
Google was never the first owner of TLD blogspot.in , as Google started redirecting Blogger users to regional domains back in 2012, but as per Way Back Machine the first record is visible on Nov 2007 which seems a generic website. In Jun 2008 the same domain is offering some Niche Jobs which was owned by a US based company. In year 2011 domain blogspot.in was dead and picked up by Google in Jan 2012 until last month where they lost it again.
Why Google Lost BlogSpot.in Domain?
The exact reason of why Google forgot to renew the domain is unknown, while what happened is that the domain name expired and it was recycled where anyone could register the domain. blogspot.in was recycled on 24 jun 2020, while it was registered by DomainMing. Doing a WHOIS query shows that Google does not own blogspot.in domain anymore. Instead it is now under control by domainming.com.
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
Blogspot.in also was made available for auction for a price of $5,999 on Sedo. The auction has been taken offline, again it is not clear if the auction was taken down by Sedo or the new domain owner came up with other plans for the domain.
Once a domain expiry date is missed, the domain isn’t instantly recycled for general public to register, rather there is a Grace Period which can extend from 30 days to 90 days. Indicating either Google didn’t care what happened to their domain or they entirely missed the registration, in case of the later someone is going to get fired.
I asked few queries from DomainMing related to the registration of domain, some questions which were asked from the new domain owner:
- How did they manage to get hold of blogspot.in, were they looking out to buy the domain since long ?
- Did Google contact the new registrant in hopes of gaining ownership of the domain
- What and how do DomainMing plan to use blogspot.in since it was associated with Google
- Why place a low price of $6K for domain auction when the domain is far more valuable
- Auction of blogspot.in is no more available at Sedo is it because of some legal issues or it was taken down by the user
As of now DomainMing did not reply to any of the queries and we will update the article once reply is received from them.
All is Lost For Blogger ?
Blogger is working fine the issue is only with .in domain of blogspot. Blogs can be accessed by changing ‘blogspot.in‘ to ‘blogspot.com‘ in the URL. However the BlogSpot.in sites will not automatically redirect and will show an error. Blogspot.com is still working as blogspot.in is specified to India only. URL’s that are country specific were introduced in 2012. The reason of using localized domains was to avoid content that could violate local law and hence could be easily removed with specified domain and rendering it unavailable to local readers.
Centralization of Blogger doesn’t make it any good and we should not rely on such platforms because what if something similar happens to blogspot.com ?
One alternative which you can use instead of blogspot.in is WordPress, as it is open source and free. Blogger is limited than WordPress because you can only use a smaller number of templates, code editing, or widgets in comparison of nearly endless WP templates and plugins.
If you are a regular blogger you should try to use a platform which is self hosted and on your own domain, something similar to what you are currently read this article on. In current case you just have to let this storm pass if your blog was on blogspot.in domain. A company of this size was expected to renew their domain. This was an irresponsible move on behalf of Google. On the other hand losing access to this domain could result in more harm if Google doesn’t repurchase it’s blogspot.in domain there could be a massive spread of scams/malware and all the URI’s could be redirected to any malicious sites. The same domain can use SSL Certificates on blogspot.in aswell until Google cancel all blogspot certificates. To put an end to that $5,999 appears to be a small price to pay by Google.