There are dangers in investing too much time on someone else’s real estate.
Last Wednesday, Google sent a message at around 7pm in the evening to all Blogger blogs marked as “adult” that all adult blogs would be deleted after Sunday June 30th if they were found to be “displaying advertisements to adult websites” – while their Content Policy does not define what constitutes “adult” content.
This means that thousands of Blogger blogs that had existed since as early as 1999 will be deleted Monday morning after only five days notice, under a vague new policy change.
Most of these blogs actually had the “adult” label applied to them by Blogger itself, whether deserved or not, and included personal diaries, erotic writers, romance book editors and reviewers, adult toy reviewers, art nude photographers, film-makers, artists such as painters and comic illustrators, LGBT activists, sex education and information outlets, and much, much more. To give you an idea, this means that E. L. James, the author of the Fifty Shades of Grey series, would be kicked off Blogger if she had an Amazon Associates link to her own books.
Regardless of your personal opinion of sex, erotica, or pornography, you can see that the short notice would be devastating to someone who was on vacation this week, or who was in the hospital, or had a family emergency, or even had the email simply go into their spam folder.
Many businesspeople today, especially those who are franchisees, independent agents or contractors, or sales representatives, are using systems provided by their parent companies for their websites. While this can certainly be easy, convenient, and cheap or even free, this also means that their website, their personal brand online, is not under their complete control and is subject to the whims of the corporation they’re working for or with.
For instance, the meta tags needed to guide Google and Bing to properly index their websites are often not editable or even present. Yes, most allow them to set their own description, or use the deprecated keywords tag, but others such as site verification, analytics, robots, publisher and author links, Open Graph data, and Twitter cards, all of which can improve search engine rankings and enhance social media marketing, can’t be added. Most of these systems allow links to Twitter, Facebook, and sometimes LinkedIn, but what about Google Plus, now the second largest social media site, or Pinterest, which with its five-to-one female-to-male ratio is where businesses need to be if they’re marketing to women?
And what happens if the parent company changes its policies? They could be left with less-functional websites or even without a website at all, with next to no notice.
Running your own website is the only way to ensure you have what you need, when you need it, without being subject to someone else’s whims.
Have a horror story about a service provider leaving you high and dry? Please share it in the comments below.