Battling the ‘Bots

I should have realized there was a problem when Blogger started asking me to type in one of those scrambled sets of letters each time I posted. I figured it was just normal security because I was posting from overseas in Southeast Asia. Little did I know it was the first indication that Google’s robots had decided my blog was SPAM.
After speaking at RTNDA in mid-April, I took a few weeks off from blogging so I could take care of other clients and negotiate the contract for a return visit to Maldives. When I signed on in mid-May, I discovered that the Terry Anzur Coaching Blog had been removed from The Bots had spoken and I was spam. The only option given was to click on a form to ask for an appeal.
Nothing happened with the form I sent in on May 18, so I started clicking around the “Help” site, which was no help at all. It only linked me to other blocked bloggers who had been banned by the bots. Some of the stories were heartbreaking. One person was blogging for a terminally ill child. A lawyer was threatening to sue to get his blog back. One guy was so frustrated that he drove to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View CA and taped a letter to the front door.
I joined a discussion group and found one or two “blogger employees” who allowed you to list their blog on their “spreadsheet.” Still, no way to talk to a real person about getting my blog back. I filed another appeal on May 26. Nothing.
It was as if someone had died. Gone were my dreams of a book or even a movie: Team Terry and the Teenagers of TV Maldives take on the old system and win one for freedom and democracy in the Muslim world, led by a news director, CEO and Minister who put their jobs on the line. I still had my photos, but now the story would have to be reconstructed from memory. The 175 posts and photos on my now-extinct blog were GONE. Worse, potential clients had been reading the blog as proof of performance. I’ll never know how many clients went away while the blog was down. Read on to find out how this month-long ordeal finally ended… and the wisdom I can now pass along to other bloggers battling the ‘bots.