Blogger glitch knocks home pages offline

A bug in Google's Blogger is returning error messages instead of blog home pages.

Blogger publishers began reporting the problem early on Thursday; it remains unresolved and is affecting an undetermined number of blogs.

When people try to go to an affected site's home page, they receive an error message saying the page requested couldn't be displayed, along with error code "bX-l9wb71." It seems that other pages in the affected sites remain accessible if one tries to visit them directly, for which one must know their specific URLs (uniform resource locator) or find links to them on an external site, like a search engine or another Web site.

The first report about this glitch appeared on the official Blogger Help Group at around 5:30 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time on Thursday.

In Google's official Known Issues for Blogger site, the company recommends that, while a fix is applied, publishers view and edit specific posts by accessing them from their Blogger control panel.

Of course, that's not a work-around for people visiting the home pages of the affected Web sites.

Last week, in an attempt to rid its Blogger service from spam blogs, or splogs, Google mistakenly flagged a number of legitimate sites, prompting the company to scramble to unlock them.

After fixing that problem, Google explained that it was caused a bug in Blogger's data processing code, leading the detection system to lock blogs that had otherwise passed the inspection by the company's spam algorithms.

Internet consumer advocacy group StopBadware.org recently identified Blogger as a popular target for scammers and malicious hackers, which use the blog publishing service set up blogs to distribute malware. According to the group, this made Google the owner of the fifth-largest malware-infected network in the world in May.

In June, a Blogger bug affected publishers that post to their blogs via FTP (File Transfer Protocol).

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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