What on earth is Blogger playing at? I can remember the good old days -- oh, it was about a week and a half ago, I reckon -- when a feller sitting at his keyboard could go a-strollin’ through the blog forest, reading a bit here, scrolling past something there, and leaving comments in his wake whenever the mood took him: long, thoughtful comments sometimes, little truncated messages of encouragement or agreement at others. No matter who you blogged with, you could comment. We all like comments. Comments make blogging worthwhile, especially if they have substance. And the quid pro quo for a comment is a link. I shall comment on your blog, and in return your blog will link back to mine. All was as it should have been -- no matter which blogging platform you used, you could comment on any blog and the link thing would be automatic.
Okay, yes, if you want to quibble, there were a few platforms that didn’t work that way. Live Journal, for instance, will only link back to you if you are a Live Journal user, otherwise you have to comment anonymously. I was tempted to ignore all Live Journal blogs but in fact one of my most fave blogs uses that platform and I enjoy reading it too much to ignore it. Yahoo 360, however, will only let you comment if you are a member. They don’t even give you the anonymous comment option. Sorry, but I’m not signing up to something just to leave a comment.
But apart from that, the link love between the main platforms (by which I mean Blogger, Wordpress and Typepad) was unobstructed. One could leave comments on any blog without even taking in which platform it used. Until the week before last. For some reason, Blogger decided to behave in the most bloody minded manner possible. Without making any kind of announcement to warn people, they altered the comment form format. Gone was the “other” option in which non-Blogger people could leave their names and URLs. They had fixed it so that now only comments from other Blogger account holders would link back. As for the rest of us, anyone reading our comments and wanting a way to click back to our blogs was out of luck.
That was very frustrating for us non-Blogger people, and I can’t imagine that Blogger account holders were any too pleased about it. Anything that erects barriers between bloggers is never welcome. There are ways round it, of course, but they are cumbersome and a bit of a nuisance. You can, if you want, manually insert a hyperlink into the body of your comment every time you leave one, which will link people back to you, or you can do as I did: open a Blogger account and use it simply to redirect people to your blog when they click over to it. All a bit of a nuisance and not nearly as convenient or easy as it used to be.
Blogger is owned by Google and I know Google want to rule the world, but I am sure that this action of theirs, which was designed, I shouldn’t wonder, to cut their users off from other bloggers, will do little more than to bring new subscribers to Typepad and Wordpress, and to piss people off generally.