Google just made a big howler. Their most recent blunder has downed millions of websites hosted on its blogging and publishing platform, Blogger which it acquired in 2003. The reason is not a server outrage, but the lapse in responsibility by a certain someone.
It has lost ownership of blogspot.in, its India-specific domain for Blogger. The domain expired and the concerned person didn’t renew it on time. According to reports, the domain was available at iN Backorder where a sharp eye got hold of it. A WHOIS search shows an entity named Domainming as its current owner.
This means that Google has lost access to the domain as its name server got changed. But all is not lost.
On Blogger, country-specific domains are not different blog addresses, but a domain redirect based on the country where you’re currently located. In simple terms, a .com would re-direct to its .in equivalent if a user from India was accessing a post on a Blogger website.
For example, abc.blogspot.com would re-direct to abc.blogspot.in for readers in India and abc.blogspot.com.au for those in Australia. A lot of users in India then also end up sharing .in permalinks all over the web.
So the content on abc.blogspot.in is still accessible through abc.blogspot.com.
Google introduced country-specific URLs for Blogger in 2013, to comply with data removal request in any country based on its local laws. By utilizing ccTLDs, valid content removal requests can be managed easily as content gets removed from only country-specific ccTLD thus impacting the smallest number of readers.
Blogger doesn’t look like the focus product of Google for some time, but this slip-up has left a lot of bloggers with broken links. Industry chatter about this has some taking it as an accident while others terming it as a calculated movee.