Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Can I have a blogspot URL that is long not updated or without any post?

This question comes up very often and in fact I just got one. A blogger tries to get the URL he wanted, but someone has already taken it but has not updated it for long time or may even not have made any post at all. Question is, can he have the URL? Short answer at the bottom of post, in red.

Long answer:

1. According to Blogger policy, blogspot URL do not expire. That means theoretically, they are forever. However, if it has been identified (rightly or wrongly) as a spam blog, there is a possibility that the blog will be deleted and the URL becomes available again and then you can have your go for the URL.

2. According to Gmail policy, if there is no activity on your Gmail account for 9 months or more, your Gmail address can be deleted. If you use that Gmail address as the username for a Blogger account, and it has been deleted, it is likely that the same may happen to your Google account together with the blogs (this may also apply to the blogger whose URL you want).

Amazon products for Blogger

But what if the Blogger account is started with a non-Gmail email address like, for example, Yahoo?

Yahoo, when it first started, says their email addresses are for life (what exactly "for life" is up to you/them to interprete). Now when you start a Yahoo email address, that message no longer appears, so I don't know what are their current policy is. However, if you don't sign into a Yahoo email address, it will be deactivated. I am guessing that if you use a Yahoo email address for your Blogger (Google), you have less chance of getting your Blogger (and Google) account getting deleted, together with the blogs.

I am testing what are the actual effects of all these mentioned at Will Blogger blogs ever be deleted?. The results wouldn't be known for some time.

So if you are eyeing a particular blogspot URL, if for any reason the blog is deleted, you can have a go at the URL.

Other possibility is to try to contact the blog creator and ask if he or she is willing to release it to you. Unfortunately, frequently, the profile in not made public, and even if it is made public, they may have chosen not to display their email address. In this case, you have no recourse.

But you have alternatives. You can become creative and alter the URL a little bit. For example,

is already taken (by me), but your can try

which may even be better because according to WebCEO, search engine cannot distinquish between words made into a compound word, but they can if you separate them using hyphen. This can be good for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as the URL is given high weightage by search engines according to WebCEO. Further, if you jumble many words into a single compound word, you may end up with something that may convey a meaning very different from your original intention, some of which can be very embarrasing. You can find some funny examples in Webmasters who didn't think when they registered their URL.

Note that using hyphen in URL is controversial, and I am hoping to find the time to research the subject further. Also check the comments to read what Jan had to say about hyphen in URL

You can also try adding an extra word to an already taken URL. For example,
may be already taken, but you can try

If you are creative, there will always be a way around a problem.



  1. Hi Peter,

    I have a question that is not related to this posting.

    I saw this morning (10/6/2007) that my blog had broken Google Adsense (404 HTML pages) and then I checked your blog. And you too have broken page2.syndication html pages where google Ads should have been. Do you know what changed with Adsense?

    I am wondering if I have to remove google adsense out of my blog postings, so that it appears only at 3 places in my entire blog. Let me know if you have any insight.

    Thanks, Nidhi

  2. Hi Nidhi,

    This problem of AdSense not displaying is fairly common. Noticed it on my site more than a few times. But they don't last. It will come back again.

    Maybe both of us should report to AdSense support or perhaps wait till we get another case, take a Screenshot and report the problem to them.

    Today (fortunately or unfortunately) the ads are visible.

    Peter (Blog*Star)
    Alternatives to AdSense

  3. Anonymous10/09/2007

    Got it. Thanks for the links Peter.


  4. peter - as always your posts are clear and helpful. I am desperate for a blogspot url that has never had one posting. I emailed the author so we shall see

    thanks for all you do!!

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Anonymous12/07/2007

    Hi Jan,

    Thanks for the very useful info. I have never used Linux, so don't know about this problem. However I have already found out that there is a controversy regarding hyphens in URL and did a test. Try googling "Blogger for Dummies" (minus the "" and the for if you wish) and I believe you will see my blog right at the top with "blogger" and "dummies" highlighted. This shows that search engines (Google anyway) can seperate words in a URL unlike what I had been told by WebCEO.

    I also need to apologise for I have to delete your original comment as it contain an inactive URL which is a long unbroken line which extend beyond the width of the main column and can be unsightly in other browsers and may cause problems in IE6 and below. So I will paste your very informative comment below, but make your link active (sorry, got to just put "URL that led to 404 Page not found error message"):
    Hi. Just a little advice: be careful with hyphens in URL. I have just noticed that -some?- GNU/Linux systems cannot resolve host names with hyphens, so many people won't be able to visit such pages.

    Agreed that it's not the same amount of people that uses Win or Mac systems, but it can affect laterally to other aspects. For example, I tried to use a Digg-like service in Spain,, to digg a post I found on a Blogger site (URL that led to 404 Page not found error message). That service runs on Linux servers, uses wget to check te page you are digging, and wget won't resolve it. I have checked in some other systems, including PC/Win, Mac and even Amiga, and it works, so it seems to be something specific to Linux.

    Peter Blog*Star
    Tips and Tricks for Blogger or "Son of Blogger Tips and Tricks" slotted for conversion to custom domain

  7. Hi Peter, thanks for your answer. Regarding to the hyphen issue, I posted the problem to that Digg-like service, and it generated more than 430 messages!, just to finally find that it was not Linux which had a bug, but that all other systems do not accomplish standards, so I reported these new findings again, and it got more than 410 messages! Hehe...

    As a conclusion, we found that only Linux follows RFC3986 standard, which defines URL's host part as "a sequence of domain labels separated by '.', each domain label starting and ending with an alphanumeric character and possibly also containing '-' characters.", i.e. hyphens can be in the middle but neither at the start nor at the end of a 'label', so your blog name is safe.

    For example, this URL doesn't work in Linux either, because the second-level hostname ('gui-') ends with a hyphen.

    All in all, Windows and Mac don't follow the standard, Linux does.

    Regarding the non-working URL, the blog owner changed the URL to a correct one, so everyone can read his blog, including Linux users... ;-)

  8. Hi Jan,

    Thanks for elaborating further on the subject. If I read your message correctly, then this and many of my blogs which have hyphenated URL is safe because the hyphens in in the middle, not at the end of the URL before the .com

    Now can you tell me where is the Digg-like service (a forum I suppose where you can pose questions and get responsenses) on saving me the trouble, do you know of an active forum for Linux users?

    Also, can I copy-paste to this Google Help group (forum)?

    I still like to use hyphens in URL but you know what are the advantages and disadvantages of tht versus non-hyphenated URLs? And anyway I can post a question and get good answers?

    Thanks again.

    Peter Blog*Star
    Generating Revenue from your Website

  9. Hi Peter.

    The Digg-like service I have used is, in Spanish (well, I'm from Spain after all ;-) ) The links to the posts I've sent are this one and this one, but, as I said, it's not a specific Linux forum, but a Digg-like service for general comments and news. I'm sorry to say that I don't know any Linux-specific forum, I'm not into Linux.

    And yes, blog names with hyphens in the middle are safe.

    Of course, you can use this info wherever you like to.

    Regarding the use of hyphens, during the little research I did about the use of hyphens in URL, I found, for example, that Google finds URLs with hyphens better than URLs with no hyphens at all or with underscores, so

    would be a better name and URL than


    would be better, easier to find than


    You'll find more info about this here or here, among other places.

  10. Hi Jan,

    Thanks for still more useful info. I tend to think you are right about Google find URL with hyphen better. You know why? Google Blogger's permalink (individual post page URL) are hyphenated. Observe the URL of this post and confirm for yourself. Blogger is Google so they should know what they are doing.

    I think I will stick to hyphenated URL.

    Thanks again.

    Peter Blog*Star
    Natural Remedies

  11. hello peter,can i change my blog URL name? well you see i already have my URL but i want to change it to more simpe

  12. That is easy How to change blog URL but note that I am of the opinion that only very new blogs do that. Changing the blog URL of an old blog has many negative implications except if it is custom domain

  13. hey pete i just changed my blogger url name but my old posts doesn't appear. it said page not found. what should i do to get my old post in old url appear in search engine with my new url? thanks!

  14. very very nice important information. it is very useful to new bloggers.

  15. Thank you, but is it still actual? :-)


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