Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Creepy Crawly Feeling

A few days ago I finally figured out how to get Google Webmaster Tools to divulge traffic statistics about this blog, and made a rather unexpected discovery: someone is trying to block access to it.

A report I downloaded on 25 November said – if I am reading it right – that there had been 363 recent cases of “restricted by robots.txt,” “Not Found” responses had been returned five times, and “Unreachable” once.

That cleared up the mystery of the small “Web page cannot be found” sign that always floats over some part of my blog even when the page is open and readable. (I had paid it no attention, thinking it was caused by the slow speed of my Photon link,)

After some research I discovered that the “robots.txt” file is meant for outdated pages that site-owners do not want search engines to find. It is the Web equivalent of a No Entry sign; the page thus marked does not show up on keyword search results.

Who would want to block a private blog that is admittedly opinionated but hardly a threat to anyone?

I discovered a number of anomalies also on the www.undiplomatictimes.com website, which has of late been difficult to update because of what I had thought were technical glitches.

As Google's Blogger is beyond the reach of direct queries from users of its free services, I sent off an email message to the company in Goa, Netsparx, that has arranged for the hosting of undiplomatictimes.com. That was yesterday. No response yet, but I have a creepy crawly feeling that it won't be good when it comes.

If readers of this blog have any advise about what to do about this problem I would be grateful for advise to: papamenon04@yahoo.com.

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