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How to Blog Safely November 11, 2006

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News.

Some bloggers have discovered that their labors of love may get them fired. A few precautions can save you from embarrassment or earning a pink slip.

Blog Anonymously
The best way to preserve some privacy is to do it anonymously. You can use one of several technologies that make it hard for anyone to trace a blog back to you.

1. Use a Pseudonym and Don’t Give Away Identifying Details
When you write about your workplace, do not to give away telling details like where you’re located, the number of employees and the business you do. Don’t use pseudonyms that sound like the real names they’re based on. For instance, don’t anonymize “Christopher” by using the name “Christy.” Personal information can give your identity away – you may be the only one at your workplace with a particular birthday, or with two chinchillas.

If you are concerned about colleagues finding out about your blog, do not blog at work. You could get in trouble anyway for using company resources and time. It will also be difficult to hide your blogging from IT operators who observe traffic over the office network.

2. Use Anonymizing Technologies
Invisiblog.com offers anonymous blog hosting for free. You may create a blog there with no real names attached. If you are worried that a blog-hosting service may be logging your unique IP address and thus tracking what computer you’re blogging from, you can use the anonymous network Tor to edit your blog. Tor routes your Internet traffic through what’s called an “overlay network” that hides your IP address. More importantly, Tor makes it difficult for snoops on the Internet to follow the path your data takes and trace it back to you.

Very user-friendly Anonymizer.com offers a product called “Anonymous Surfing,” which routes Internet traffic through an anonymizing server and hides your IP address from the services hosting your blog.

3. Use Ping Servers
Ping servers protect your privacy while broadcasting news out quickly. Pingomatic http://www.pingomatic.com is a tool that allows you to broadcast to a lot of news venues at once, while making you untraceable. The program will send out notice (a “ping”) about your blog entry to blog search engines like Feedster and Technorati. Once those sites list your entry, which is usually within a few minutes, you can take the entry down. Thus the news gets out rapidly and its source vanish within half an hour. This protects the blogger while helping the blog entry reach people fast.

4. Limit Your Audience
Many blogging services, including LiveJournal, allow you to designate individual posts or your entire blog as available only to those who have the password, or to people whom you’ve designated as friends. If you host your own blog, you can also set it up to be password-protected, or to be visible only to people looking at it from certain computers.

5. Don’t Be Googleable
To exclude major search engines from including your blog in search results, you can create a special file that tells these search services to ignore your domain. The file is called robots.txt, or a Robots Text File. You can also use it to exclude search engines from gaining access to certain parts of your blog. The “Robots Text File Generator” tool comes free at Web Tool Central . However, search engines like Google may choose to ignore a robots.txt file, thus making your blog easily searchable. There are many tools for making your blog less searchable, without relying on robots.txt.

6. Register Your Domain Name Anonymously
Even if you don’t give your real name or personal information in your blog, people can look up the WHOIS records for your domain name and find out who you are. If you don’t want anyone to do this, consider registering your domain name anonymously.



1. Alexwebmaster - March 3, 2009

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