Russia blogging roundup (plus other important stuff)

Time for another roundup of the best blog posts about Russia. But, before I start, first a warning, then some shameless self promotion.

Warning – has your blog been hacked?

Opasnost dangerAt the beginning of March, someone hacked into Siberian Light.

A not very nice person (from Russia, as it happens) changed one of the pages on SL to redirect visitors to that page on to various pornographic sites. At the same time, thousands of other sites were hacked, and links added to this particular page on SL. At one point, SL had such a boost in the Google rankings that around 10-20,000 one handed surfers were visiting SL every day.

Want to see how many websites linked to me? Take a look at my technorati page. According to them, Siberian Light is now one of the most popular blogs in the world (and by far and away the most popular Russia Blog)…!

Once Google noticed, my search engine rankings dropped like a stone – at one point, I didn’t even rank for the search “Siberian Light”. Visitors from Google went from several hundred per day to less than 30.

Happily, I fixed the damage pretty quickly, but SL has taken an absolute hammering in the search engines and is only now beginning to slowly recover its rankings.

Similar hacks affected lots of other blogs – including some about Russia. So, if you are running wordpress make sure you check your blog and upgrade to version 2.5 if necessary.

More details here.

Do you twitter?

Twitter LogoI’ve been playing around with the micro-blogging service twitter recently, to see if it’s any good.

Because each post is limited to a maximum of 140 characters (yes, that’s characters, not words) it encourages short, snappy posts.

At the moment I’m using it to post thoughts that are too brief to merit a full post here on Siberian Light.

You can check out my feed and follow me at: http://twitter.com/siberianlight

Neeka is also twittering, as Smetanka. Is anyone else?

Blog roundup

OK, enough warnings and twitterings, onto the blogs. And, be warned, there’s a bumper list of links below. I recommend settling down with a nice cup of coffee and working your way through them, one by one.

Sean takes the top spot this month. Or, to be more precise, the readers and commenters of Sean’s Russia Blog take the award for ‘most interesting discussion in absolutely ages’.

Take a look at Putin’s Historic Achievement and Avoiding This Heap of Memes for two of the most wide-ranging and knowledgeable discusions I’ve seen about Russia for quite some time.

And it took at least a hundred comments before the inevitable row broke out…

Everyone else has had a hard act to follow this month, but here’s my pick of the best posts:

So, what do you think?  Did I miss anything?  If so, let me know by commenting below.

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13 Responses

  1. Russophile says:

    Thanks for the link to my post on propaganda posters.

    I am sorry to hear that you were hacked. I have been doing some research on this because you probably saw that I was hacked too. Send me an email if you cannot see this answer that I posted on LinkedIn about how to prevent and recover from WordPress hacking. I hope it helps. Good luck!

  2. Russophile says:

    I signed up for a twitter profile before someone else took russophile: https://twitter.com/russophile

  3. Aleks says:

    Aleks is also twittering – better yet, he posts his twits (or is it twitters) on his site in the section “outbursts”.

    My site has also been hacked some time in March. I put off getting it back together until last weekend. And I wasn’t even using WordPress. Thankfully, the database was left intact, but it appears I’ve lost some readership and authoriteeee.

  4. Andy says:

    Thanks guys.

    I’ve followed most – although not all – of the security tips you’ve posted Brett. Not going to tell you which ones I’ve yet to implement though, in case anyone’s listening… 🙂

    In terms of google authority, now that I’m sure it’s not hacked I’ve submitted a reconsideration request to Google. Apparently they take a while to be considered, so fingers crossed…

  5. Tim Newman says:

    I tried upgrading to WP 2.5 this morning, but I found it only works with MySQL version 4.0 or above. So I’m standing around with my pants around my ankles until I can get my webhosts to upgrade me, if they will.

  6. Andy says:

    What a pain – although your webhosts should upgrade you.

    The other thing I meant to say was that, while you are upgrading, make sure you deactivate ALL of your plugins.

    I didn’t, and it permanently broke my database. Had to go back to the backups and start over, minus a couple of days worth of posts/comments.

  7. Xavi says:

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for mentioning my Gagarin’s post.

    Well, being greedy I should claim those Russian War Tubas too, as Coming Anarchy got it from Soviet Russia 😉 (http://sovietrussia.co.uk/bringing-down-planes-with-balloons/)

  8. Lyndon says:

    Andy, some of your readers might enjoy a couple of posts I put up yesterday with magazine covers from years past celebrating V-Day.

    I’m don’t think I got hacked (is it possible that could be the sole advantage to using Blogger?), but my Technorati authority recently dropped dramatically, around the time I got a top-level domain (www.scrapsofmoscow.org), even though the old domain redirects. I assume the two things were related, although to be honest I am not really up on all the search-engine and social-networking optimization techniques. Good luck restoring your good Google name!

  9. Tim Newman says:

    The other thing I meant to say was that, while you are upgrading, make sure you deactivate ALL of your plugins.

    Oh! Thanks for this…I didn’t bother to do this, despite the instructions to do so. I’ll know for next time.

  10. poemless says:

    Thanks for these, as always.

  11. Rubashov says:

    Always a pleasure to read the roundups, even if it’s a (brilliant!) procrastinating technique. And hopefully I can write something good enough soon to make the next roundup. Which is to say (sorry for the plug), as of yesterday Darkness at Noon is back in business…

    In the meantime, I’d better back up all my stuff in case the hackers are still on the loose!

  1. May 6, 2008

    […] Light Hacked! Andy reports that the Russian blog Siberian Light was hacked — by a Russian no less. It was not due to political reasons, but for money, links and traffic to […]