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Friday, February 12, 2010

Migration deadline extended to May 1

When we originally announced that we were shutting down FTP publishing on Blogger, one of the common complaints we heard was that March 26 was too soon. Many of you asked for more time to manage the transition off of FTP publishing, either to migrate your blog(s) to Blogger hosting or to another platform.

March 26 was not an arbitrary date  — it was related to an upcoming infrastructure change being made at Google that will render our current FTP code unworkable. We relayed your feedback to the infrastructure team, and they have agreed to postpone their change, which allows us to extend the deadline to May 1.

We are finishing up the FTP migration tool, and are still working to have it out the week of February 22.

Finally, we've done a sweep through your recent comments, and will be updating the FAQ later today with more answers.

85 comments:

  1. That's a start in the right direction. Thanks.

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  2. I just wanted to say thanks for your blogging platform which let's me blog and express my thought freely. Keep up the good work. May God bless you all.

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  3. That's a huge help, THANK YOU.

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  4. Thankyou, but um, it was an arbitrary date--just at a different level. It's arbitrariness being demonstrated by the ability to change it to something more reasonable upon request ;)

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  5. Thanks for the extra breathing room.

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  6. That helps a little; thanks infrastructure team.

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  7. I would like an accounting of your claim that only .5% of your users on on FTP publishing. It sounds wrong. I personally know 3 bloggers in my tiny little circle who are going to be affected. That number seems awfully high if we're such rare birds. And all four of us are not happy! And these aren't crap blog that nobody reads either. They're not huge blogs or anything, but they are respectable.

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  8. To say that Google is not able to support a small number of FTP based legacy blogs is laughable (offering a free gigabit broadband to thousands is OK, few FTP blogs is not?). You just removed the inconvenience and you don't care much about the hours of creative work that went int the blogs and many technical problems that arise for the users.

    I am not sure there is a culture at Google that respects people's creative efforts that goes beyond the numbers.

    The right thing to do is to honor the legacy service that you yourself offered to the customers. I hope you come to your senses and extend the deadline into the May 1st, 3010.

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  9. Can you post instructions for switching from separate hosting to Blog*Spot to a Custom Domain? My reason for asking this is that I want to get all files off the separate hosting, not just the blog pages and my hope is that moving to Blog*Spot will transfer images and other files used in posts to a Google-hosted server.

    Thanks,
    Bill

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  10. I have a question. I've moved my blog manually to your custom domain and used the sub-domain "www".habboi.co.uk and all works as the blog now shows and new posts show and your nav bar shows BUT all my images aren't showing. I'm waiting for the DNS to update as I have changed its space to my MAIN folder containing where the images are so we'll see by tommorow.

    But what's weird is that the link for the pictures still point to where they are right but when you click them it takes me to a "blogger" page saying it doesn't exist. So how does that work exactly? It's pointing to my space and yet it doesn't load it?

    Kind of confused @_@

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  11. The main problem is still that I have over 25 client blogs which are 100% custom designed and ALL subpages of an existing site. In other words, they're at ClientSite1.com/blog.php, or ClientSite2.com/news.htm. I understand that, with some effort, I might be able to find solutions that involve blog.ClientSite2.com and meta refresh the current blog.htm/blog.php into them, but this is not a five minute solution. This could take hours for each client, and I highly doubt I'll be able to invoice for something that, from the clients' perspective, is "my fault" (or, at least, not theirs).

    I still haven't gotten an answer as to the php blogs, by the way. Sigh. I'm just stunned that it's "not possible" -- that's just dumb. Of course it's possible -- I'm doing it right now.

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  12. Also... this line makes me very, very nervous: "Are custom templates going away? Not at this time, no."

    Not "at this time"...?????

    You're asking me to spend dozens and dozens of unbillable hours to migrate my client sites into this new "solution", which will involve changing thousands upon thousands of pages of code, often by hand, to go to "blog.ClientSite.com" rather than the current "ClientSite.com/blog.htm". IF I'm going to do this, and invest alllll this time for my clients, I'll need a little more assurance that custom templates will still be supported six months or six years from now. If I do allll this work, for free, demonstrably hurting my business in the process, and then a year from now Blogger takes away the custom templates (which has always been my main reason for choosing blogger anyway), then that is unacceptable. You may say "but Blogger's a free service", but it's NOT "free" if I have to spend dozens and dozens of staff hours to make changes to my client sites, without even a guarantee that it's worth it!

    So please, if there is even a 5% chance that blogger will eliminate the custom templates option anytime in the next five years, TELL US NOW so we can move to a different system. You have an absolute moral obligation to do so, especially when you're already costing a lot of us a hell of a lot of money for your "free" service.

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  13. 1) Is there a tech support team we can contact with questions?

    2) Right now, I have a custom template which serves as the main page of my website. This template has ASP includes and a navigation that users click to get to other (non-blog) pages of the site. What would you recommend as a solution going forward when FTP is discontinued?

    Note that my domain has lots of brand equity, so I couldn't, tell people, for example, to start going to blog.mydomain.com, when all of my marketing materials have "www.mydomain.com".

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  14. John, remember, only 2.5% of users require custom templates.

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  15. @John Our servers do not support PHP. Re: Custom Templates - we have no plans at this time to remove support for them, but that does not mean that sometime in the next five years (the timeframe you requested) we will not.

    As far as redirecting client.com/news.htm or .../blog.php, your best bet (if you're doing this manually) is to use .htaccess to redirect those requests instead of relying on meta refresh.

    @Michael: We will have a dedicated section of the help center once the migration tool launches. Our servers do not support ASP, so you will need to find an alternative mechanism for replicating whatever functionality you're producing in ASP. (It's possible there are gadgets that do this, for instance. Blogger's Layouts (upgrade from Custom Templates) support gadgets natively.)

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  16. "that does not mean that sometime in the next five years we will not."

    Wait so there's a chance you may someday remove custom websites? But if you do that then surely a lot of people would leave? I can't stand your generic designs and I like the fact my website is unique but you've already crippled me with this FTP business so don't shoot me dead please for god sake.

    Every push is tempting me to Wordpress but I don't want to as it'd require a lot of effort so don't push.

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  17. @Habboi: "custom templates" is the term that refers to the rather dated templating system used on FTP blogs, and on a very small number of Blogger-hosted blogs. Much of the feature development relating to Blogger blogs' look and feel is focused on the more modern Layouts engine, which supports drag and drop layout editing, native gadget support, and more.

    That does *NOT* mean that we're restricting peoples' use of custom, third-party designs. See my blog, at tins.rklau.com. It's based on a custom design, built by Amanda at Blogger Buster. It is not, however a "custom template", but a custom layout.

    I realize that the nomenclature is confusing - it predates the current team and I think we'd probably choose to use more unique terms if we had to do it over again. Hope this clears up any confusion, but just in case: WE ARE NOT FORCING ANYONE TO USE THE DEFAULT BLOGGER TEMPLATES. EVER.

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  18. Alright thanks. That makes me feel at ease. Anyway I've got my blog up and working again however I am having trouble redirecting people who accidently go to my naked domain without the www in it.

    I don't know WHY people would do that but it could be annoying. So yeah you need to use ANAMES right well 1and1 only supports 1 ANAME :(

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  19. @Rick: I think I follow the majority of what Blogger will be doing but, just to be certain, will it be possible to host several subdomains on Blogger's servers while maintaining one's own domain for other, related projects? For instance, if one has three blogs, say, www.domain.com/blog1, www.domain.com/blog2, and www.domain.com/blog3, will Blogger be willing to host three separate subdomains, say, blog1.domain.com, blog2.domain.com, and blog3.domain.com?

    And a related question: I understand that hosting a subdomain on Blogger's servers is, at the present, a free service but, if one's domain host charges one for the ability to run a subdomain, will he or she still have to arrange for to set up the subdomain(s) to be hosted by Blogger with his or her hosting provider or does Blogger's plan simply take over that function? In other words, is blog1.domain.com REALLY at domain.com or is it just enough smoke-and-mirrors to look that way? I ask because this may, for some people, have financial implications.

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  20. Hi,

    I understand why you guys wouldn't want to support FTP-based publishing. Do you have a tool which I can use to do the publishing myself?

    Basically, which can convert the export file to various archiver/label file and the directory structure that is currently been created by FTP publishing? Once I have all the files and directories, I don't mind FTP-ing them to my website myself.

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  21. @Rick and team: Thanks for extend the deadline.

    I've take a look to Blogger API documentation again to query data 'image' from *all* the posts but I'm lossing. It's posible to do?

    BTW the import feature on Blogger don't export all the posts and comments, I've search some error in the XML file without sucesfully.

    Does the servers support Java? Hmmmm.. I figure out the reply.

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  22. thanks for postponing this. i wish you'd just shelf your plans to kill ftp. if there is just a small number of us using it then maintaining it shouldn't really be that onerous. just adding my voice to those unhappy with the ftp shutdown.

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  23. Aditya's comment got me thinking. It would be really useful to have a means of exporting the blog to file that I can save to my machine and then upload myself using FTP. My current, soon-to-be-defunt system sees blogger create a file called news.php that blogger then overwrites on my server, after logging in via FTP

    Rick, given that this may also help many people make the transition to other means of blogging, would this be possible? It seems to be a really simple workaround and avoids making countless blogs immediately redundant because of FTP functionality being killed off.

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  24. I've decided to change my two FTP blogs to Word Press. But I'm going to continue with Google Friend Connect on these former FTP blogs. And I'm still going to leave my lesser blogs with Blogspot. So I'll still have a presence on Blogger.

    What I want to know is... After the May 1st date, will the links to my former FTP Blogs in my Blogger Profile still work? Or will they stop working?

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  25. @Mary Anne: Your links will continue to work, the only difference is that you will not be able to update them from within Blogger.

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  26. @Sobriquet: Setting up a subdomain is a service of your domain registrar - if they charge for subdomains (many don't) you can transfer the registration to another registrar which doesn't.

    @MZ Express: Can you clarify what you're trying to do with the API? Re: import, if you're getting a bX code, please share it and we will identify it and fix it.

    @Aditya, kiell: Our current plan is to provide you a .zip file backup of all posts, I'll chat with the engineers tomorrow about whether this would be a reliable way of updating your blog after the FTP shut-down.

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  27. Rick,

    So my registrar is Register.com and after asking they've indicated that I cannot direct a subdomain to a separate DNS server from the rest of my domain.

    I was very clear in my question to them and they said I'd have to find a new DNS provider to do that.

    So that's a huge problem for me because I have no desire to switch registrar.

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  28. @Rick: I need to get the images from the posts blog feed, not only the *media* uploaded via add image.
    Import don't get any bX code, I export the file to another blogspot.com blog and there are posts and a lot of comments missing.
    Thanks.

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  29. I have written instructions on migrating from Google Blogger to WordPress here:

    http://www.vanshardware.com/2010/02/from-evil-google-to-wordpress.html

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  30. THIS IS GOOD:

    @Aditya, kiell: Our current plan is to provide you a .zip file backup of all posts, I'll chat with the engineers tomorrow about whether this would be a reliable way of updating your blog after the FTP shut-down.

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  31. "@Aditya, kiell: Our current plan is to provide you a .zip file backup of all posts, I'll chat with the engineers tomorrow about whether this would be a reliable way of updating your blog after the FTP shut-down."

    Would this be on an ongoing basis? Or just a one off? I'm not wanting rely on Blogger outputting a file for me in the long term, but it would put me at great ease to know that once this deadline has passed, I can at least in some way continue to update my blog.

    Many thanks.

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  32. yeah sure its tru i Blogger outputting a file for me in the long term

    By :: seosilvershine.com

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  33. Cut sleazy "migration" buzzword.

    We don't want to move our content to your servers, since you like to shut down services the moment you decide it's 'outdated' or hurts your bottom line.

    I'm done with Blogger forever unless you keep FTP for people who like me who have been using it for years.

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  34. Oh THANK GOODNESS! I'm going to need more than a month to transition from Blogger to something else. Between the custom template I've used for years and PHP code which it doesn't appear that Blogger's Custom Domains is ever going to support, Custom Domains is pretty much not an option for me. I'm sorry to be leaving Blogger though. It fit my needs for so long.

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  35. This helps greatly, now I've got time to do the transition. Thanks for making this change to the date.

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  36. Hi,

    I have a number of FTP blogs I set up myself but all this talk of DNS settings and CNAME are over my head. Can you explain what all this means in layperson terms, pretending that I only know enough to just be able to set up an FTP blog? I currently use Yahoo Small Business webhosting for my blogs (and it will continue to host my website even if blogger FTP support goes away).

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  37. Oh great news, thank you.

    Although we prefer using FTP we were not aware of the google domains option and so are setting up subdomains and pointing them to your NS. We are glad however you are giving us more time to handle the blog migration so we can make sure it all works before cutting it all loose!

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  38. I'm also concerned about how images will be handled, as currently they are FTP'ed to my site and in the future they will reside somewhere else?

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  39. I don't "get" any of this stuff. I'm just a gal who taught herself to use Dreamweaver so I could create my website www.brandiwilson.com to showcase some of my art. I use FTP so my blog appears on my site.

    My dumb question is - can I still somehow do this after May 1st with the FTP migration tool? Or do I now have to provide a link away from site and over to http://brandiwilson.blogspot.com/?

    Thanks in advance for any clarification. I've been on my computer checking out other blog providers as well as trying to figure this out for a few hours now and no longer care if my question is dumb, lol.

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  40. Aaaaaand the link I tried to create to www.brandiwilson.com doesn't even work in my previous comment. Sorry, geeze.

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  41. @Brandi Wilson: As of May 1, you will no longer be able to initiate FTP uploads from Blogger. So if you intend to use the migration tool (which does one final FTP upload of your content) you need to do so prior to May 1.

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  42. @Dan: If you use the native image upload support in the Blogger post editor, it will upload images to Picasa. If you FTP the images manually up to a server where you host content other than your blog, that does not need to change.

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  43. OK, that actually does clear things up for me. Thanks Rick!
    b.

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  44. Will the RSS feed address have to change? - Sam Smith

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  45. I cant find on post or on FAQ a RICK KLAU answer about SERVER SIDE use, many ask like me what happen when we have SERVER SIDE instructions like include in our template

    if i create a new blogg today i found only 6 templates and i cant modify then without receive a message ERROR ON XML I can modify or add nothing like i use actually

    I believe with this change all blogs go to a standar poor template and disable all code, this is unaceptable

    please publish a FAQ about CUSTOMIZATION

    and a comment you say .5% of users? I believe that this .5% write the 50% of blog entrances
    all of them are intense users not stupid users and the image of Google on most of them will go down for a long time

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  46. GOOGLE GIVE a BUSINESS OPORTUNITY to BLOG market:

    If any Company find a solution to migrate blogs to them and keep FTP and Custom options working, 1000's of users go there and will pay monthly for it

    I'll do

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  47. Rick, I have a couple of FTP blogs with Blogger. One is archival (2003–6), so we don’t need Blogger’s functionality on it any more. If I hit delete from the dashboard now, will the files on my server remain untouched? Or will Blogger’s deletion process begin removing all the old pages?

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  48. Dear Rick Klau,


    I hope Google-Blogger team will considerate option what Aditya Naredi and Kiell were pointing. That would keep my blog alive as it is. I don't mind manually downloading-uploading files to update my blog, if there's no other way to keep it alive.


    Best regards,
    Remo

    Blogger since 2001
    15000 readers per week
    Best Animal Photography (Photobloggies 2006 Awards)

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  49. @Jack Yan: You don't need to delete anything, but if you do your remote files will not be affected in any way. The archival blog(s) will continue to be viewable by the world.

    @Remo: It's highly unlikely that the solution proposed by @Aditya and @Kiell will be viable much beyond the FTP shut-down. There are a number of dependencies in the code that exist only to support FTP publishing, and we will be removing those. (Not to mention it would replace one legacy bit of code that's difficult to test/support with another, even less-used legacy bit of code that's even harder to test and impossible to support.) I understand the attraction - less disruption in the short term - but it would likely invite unintended consequences that would make it a highly undesirable solution. Strongly recommend you either migrate to Blogger hosting or find a better solution that better fits your needs on another platform.

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  50. @Teleradar We cannot support server-side customizations (which often require installing and supporting third party extensions which would be a significant security risk). We do however support a wide range of dynamic gadgets which often replace the kind of features you're looking for. Also there is no requirement that you use one of a handful of default templates. There is a very rich community of third party template designers on Blogger (see here for some links).

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  51. How long should each site approximiately take? I have to do 8 blogs?????

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  52. Thank you, Rick: I appreciate your putting my mind at ease.

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  53. OK ... I'm also one who is unhappy about the change in ftp publishing, but I will put in the extra time to make it work.

    My biggest problem is when I go to switch my blog from ftp to blogspot.com it tells me that the name I have had for years is not available. Yet when you search for the blog by the name that is not abvailable to me, which is "http://bayouducks.blogspot.com/" you get the message that "The blog you were looking for was not found".

    I would like to know how can I be assured of keeping my present blog name.

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  54. What is FTP??? How do I know if this affects me??

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  55. Putting in my two cents again about the disappointment that Blogger is shutting down the FTP updating. I had spent a lot of time and effort getting my sites working with Blogger, and for me, it was the ideal situation because I could update all of them from one location online.

    Since the inital announcement, I tried both Thingamablog and b2evolution. TAMB is based on your computer, b2evo is installed on your server. I wanted to throw both of those out there for the any that are migrating away from Blogger because of this changeover. I tried both of them, and with some configuring, I was able to import all of my posts, with correct dates.

    I wanted to post that up somewhere so that people who are moving away from Blogger know there are options out there that will work for you, just depends on how you want to set it up.

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  56. @violetlady, you're all right. Both your blogs have "blogspot" in their address. So, they're both on Blogger's servers. Nothing will be changing for you.

    FTP People have been using Blogger to update their blogs on other servers/hosts. Blogger only notifed the people who were directly affected by this.

    I had to explain it to my blog readers who are on blogspot like you. If you're reading blog(s) that are going through FTP changes, just give them some time to adjust. But don't worry about your own blogs. There aren't going to be any changes for you.

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  57. The biggest problem with making the migration from FTP to custom domain is the hit in backlinks and traffic. I just checked and http://bookreviewsandmore.ca has 16000 back links, http://www.bookreviewsandmore.ca only has 746 my traffic has dropped in half in the two weeks since I switched from FTP to custom domain.

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  58. @SRMcEvoy: That's one of the specific issues we are addressing with the migration tool, as outlined in the overview posted 2 weeks ago:

    "[The tool will] ensure that visitors to your FTP blog are redirected to your blog's new home, [and] avoid having pages from both sites end up indexed in search engines"

    Since you've already made the switch, you should look into using .htaccess to redirect traffic (if your old FTP host is an Apache server).

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  59. After exploring all options, I'll be converting my ftp blog to a custom domain on on Blogger, and stop my ftp hosting service. A couple of questions though:
    1. Would I have to go through each blog post and re-upload each picture to Blogger/Picasa?
    2. Can I transfer only certain posts eg. those with Travel and Books labels? I'd probably have to delete those I don't want after the transfer, right?
    3. If after I purchase the custom domain, will Blogger set up the CNAME for me? Or is it something else I have to do?

    I'm a newbie with HTML, let alone the XML. My head is reeling with all this new info. Help!

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  60. One of the reasons I use FTP is to be able to use JW Player (http://www.longtailvideo.com/) to show video in much better quality than the current Blogger video feed. I upload the videos to my website (http://www.elviravaclavik.com) independent of Blogger and then edit the blog in html format to point to the video files on my website. In order to get this to work, I need to upload a couple of small JW Player files to the website, which I assume Blogger will not allow me to?
    As a plan B: Is there any plans to improve the inferior video quality on Blogger to replace my current workaround which I assume will not work in the non-FTP mode?

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  61. Rick It is redirecting it is just not counting the backlinks.

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  62. Where will the migration tool appear when it's ready? In the dashboard, or under settings?

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  63. @Mark: As originally announced, it will be out the week of 2/22 (this week). We are currently working with the build engineers and doing some last-minute QA sanity testing before we push. We will make an announcement on this blog when it's out.

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  64. @Heather: You will get an alert in your dashboard, which will take you to a dedicated landing page listing all FTP blogs in your account. From there you can begin the migration (or resume any you left off in progress).

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  65. Rick please answer us these two questions: "Rick It is redirecting it is just not counting the backlinks." and " How long should it take appromiximately per blog????????????"

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  66. As an alternative to the Blogger-supplied migration tool, we have created a free installable script that will solve the FTP publishing problem. Download it today here:

    Blogger Publish-Via-FTP Tool

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  67. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  68. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  69. Nick, does that mean with your blogger publish via ftp tool we wont have to make any changes to the domain name?

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  70. Nick does that cost money and how efficient will it be?

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  71. Have I missed the migration tool announcement? its past the last working day in February and I have seen nothing.

    Where is it?

    Phil

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  72. @Phil - we had to delay its launch due to some last-minute problems identified during testing. Announcement was made yesterday on this blog, as future announcements will be as needed.

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  73. Re: questions about backlinks: using rel=canonical (more details on that tag here ensures that search engines can identify the "right" (i.e., canonical) URL, so our approach *will* address backlinks. Google will understand that given the "old" (FTP) URL and the "new" (Blogger-hosted) URL, it should direct search traffic to the new URL. And links to the old URLs will be updated to count in the search index as links to the new URLs, thereby preserving the appropriate weight for the pages themselves.

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  74. HELLO:::

    Is this legitimate?? Nick Carter said...
    As an alternative to the Blogger-supplied migration tool, we have created a free installable script that will solve the FTP publishing problem. Download it today here:

    Blogger Publish-Via-FTP Tool

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  75. It's a nice try but it's nowhere near helpful enough. But damm, he sure posts about it alot.

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  76. Thanks for the deadline extension. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around all of this. I'm not a web professional, like many of you seem to be, so it's a bit overwhelming.

    I've been publishing via ftp so my blog would have that domain address and it's one of the options at www.patsyterrell.com. However, I have other things also at that index page and want to keep those. From what I understand that's not an option with the "custom domain name" feature. I'm not sure what that means, exactly - it looks like it's redirecting to me. Can it redirect to www.patsyterrell.com/blog instead of www.patsyterrell.com/index? Or is that overly simplistic.

    I love the ease of blogger and have been a fan for a long time. I certainly understand your situation of not wanting to devote the extra resources to such a small number of people using ftp. I'm just looking for a solution to the predicament. Thanks.

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  77. I have 11 artistic blogs, build over the course of 6 years. Today is March 5. I am travelling and am not home until april 1st. Today is the first announcement of the change that I've seen - even if I visit the dashboard at least thrice a week to edit. I don't know how I will find the time to change to another blog-service. Google is out as far as I am concerned.

    Like so many here I want to retain my data - be slightly modern rather than post modern - on my own server. And prefer not to relinquish control to Google. Yes, I have trust issues - and I pretty well think they have been justified, as late as now.

    0.5%, Google. Lets have some numbers. How many million blogs are that?

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  78. Thank you for extending the deadline. I'm migrating my FTP published Blogger blog http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog to WordPress 3.0. The problem is WP 3.0 is just coming out. The March 26th date was impossible. The May 1st date is better but still extremely tight. I would ask that you extend this further to July 15th. I have my own domain and web hosting so I don't want to use the Blogger custom domains. I have too much else on that domain.

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  79. @Walter: We cannot extend beyond May 1, I'm sorry.

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  80. @Kenneth: You are free to move away from Blogger at any time. In addition to the export feature built in, we have a set of blog converters (available here) that will help convert your export file into a format that will help you import to a number of other popular platforms.

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  81. I think I know why FTP publishing is taking so much resources. Every time we publish a new post, the entire blog is FTP'ed to my site. This is so inefficient. Instead of updating 10 pages, all 1000 pages of our blog and 100s of labels are updated; instead of a few 100k of data, it's 100Meg every time. Please just fix this "bug" and you'll save 99.5% of the resources drained from FTP publishing, and then you can keep FTP publishing and save the .5% users of Blogger hundreds of hours of migration.

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  82. @Wah Keung Chan: That actually is neither a bug nor the source of the challenges relating to FTP. We documented the technical issues with FTP here.

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  83. Note: Comments are closed on this post. Please direct general questions to the FAQ page, and specific problems with the migration tool to the issue tracker. More details about support for the FTP migration are here.

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