Reviving a Blog, Recovering an Identity


It made me so emotional, I couldn’t talk about it in front of groups – except for once.

As I presented about blogging and PR in Madison, Wisconsin, I mentioned the situation. Intrigued, an audience member pushed me into skirting the issue.

And, that’s all I did. I breezed by, didn’t stop and quickly floated onto something else.

Because . . . I don’t like being identified as a violator. Who does?

But, wrong I was – at least to WordPress back in the summer of 2007.

Oh, what a summer it was!

Our oldest graduated from high school.To celebrate this momentous occasion, we decided to plan one last very big and very splashy trip to Florida. It would be the vacation to end all family vacations.

Or so I naively thought.

Because, when you own a business you know that you are never, ever really away on vacation. Sure, your clients can wait until you get back to start new projects. And those prospects? They’ll be there when you’re unpacking your bags back home.

How about the blog? Will it need any care and feeding while you’re away?

Before we left, I promised myself that I wouldn’t spend too much, if any time, checking stats and replying to comments. Although, after being named the WordPress blog of the day, I was feeling like it would be okay to sneak a peek or two.

So, I checked in. And, I got nothing.

Nothing except a white screen with a notice that the blog was in violation of the WordPress terms of service. But, what had I done?

With no warning and no reason, I sought a reversal of the decision to suspend my site. I got a brief reprieve, but no clear direction [although I asked] on how to to right my wrongs.

And then it was gone forever. All 384 of my posts and images gone, gone, gone.

Thankfully, I’d backed up most of the files. But a few of my posts were unrecoverable.

So, I swallowed that URL and started over on a WordPress self-hosted blog, which is where I belonged.

Four days later, on August 11, 2007, I launched

Even though I had a new place to call home, in the back of my mind I longed for my old site.

It sounds silly, but one of the big things on my bucket list was clearing my WordPress name.

I met Matt Mullenweg in 2009, but didn’t have the courage, or the time, to ask him what I could do to meet the terms of service.

The URL is mentioned in David Meerman Scott’s New Rules of Marketing and PR first edition. While the chances of someone actually looking it up are slim, I wanted to be clear and free here, there and everywhere.

Can a dead blog be revived?

When I saw that WordPress was exhibiting at BlogHer this summer, I thought I’d see if they had any ideas.

Although I felt really out of place asking if there was any way to revive a blog that had been dead for six years due to a violation of terms of service, I knew it was the last chance I’d take to get my name back. If they couldn’t help me, who would?

At the booth, I waited while the WordPress team conferred on what to do. In a few minutes, they came back with a piece of paper with a link to the contact form for suspended blogs.

When I came home, I filled in the blanks on the page and waited.

A few days later, was back in action in all its 2007 glory.

When the site came up, I was more emotional than I expected. It was like seeing a long lost friend that you thought you’d never, ever see again.

Clicking through the blog was like opening a time capsule. Everything was just as I left it. The green neon theme, the last post about How to Introduce Your PR Agency published on August 7,2007, it was all there.

Thanks, so much, to the WordPress team for reviving my blog and helping me recover my identity!

And those family vacations? Yeah, we’ve been on a few more since then. [Here’s a picture of us at the Bob Dylan / Wilco / Americanarama concert this summer. No idea who the photo bomber is.]


The morale of this story: go back and get what you think you lost. If you’re lucky you can revive and relive experiences and then share it all with people you care about. That means you, reader!!!

Let’s Talk!

Have you ever found anything you thought you lost forever?

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