Friday, September 15, 2023

Find the accounts on your blog

3 shaddowy silhouets with question marks instead of faces

A reader asks,

Is there any easy way to tell if any other account has made a post [on a blog]?

The question has special urgency in light of Google's plan to start deleting inactive Google accounts, beginning in December of 2023. 

If there are old accounts on your blog, and Google deletes them, the images they've uploaded will be deleted too.

(Their posts are not deleted, just the images).

That includes accounts from co-authors that you may have forgotten, and even accounts that are no longer included as blog authors.

So, how to check? Google does not make this easy.

But here are some tricks that ought to help you to answer the question.

Related accounts

Any Google account that ever had author privileges on your blog may have uploaded images that are used in the blog.

You should identify these and take steps to see that they are not deleted. 

Alternatively, you could re-upload the images from your active account.

In addition to your regular account, these may include

  • accounts of others who were co-authors at any time, even if they no longer are
  • accounts you may have used at other times, even if they are no longer included as authors.

Here's an extreme (true) example. I started my first blog (not this one) in 2008 from an account that I no longer use. 

A year and a half later I transfered the blog to the account I use today. Then, I removed the original account from the blog. (The account persists, and its posts persist, but it is no longer a blog author.)

That left my active account completely owning and controlling the blog. However, the images I'd uploaded using the original account—more than 100 of them—remained with the old account.

There is no way to batch transfer ownership of those images, though there should be.

As it happens, I recall all of this (though at one time remembering how to sign into that account was a bit of a scramble).

But had I forgotten I'd ever had an "original account," those images would be at risk.

How sure are you that you remember all the accounts that ever posted on your blog?

Blog accounts: how to check

Your Settings page will list all the current blog authors and admins. (Look in the "Permissions" section.)

That's a good place to start. But if you want to check for former authors who are no longer on the blog (including old accounts of yours), things get more challenging.

Few will need all of the information in this report, but I am trying to cover as many cases as I can.

Find former authors

It's not possible to filter or sort by author on your blog. Even if the author name is included in posts, clicking on it will take you to the author's profile page, not to a page showing all the author's blog posts.

But you can filter by author in your dashboard. From your Posts page, type author:[name] in the search field to see only posts from that author.

"[name]" is case-sensitive and refers to the Blogger display name.

For a count of all posts by author name

  • filter by author
  • click Manage at top right
  • read the count that will appear at top left
Detail from Posts page showing 214 posts found

If you repeat this exercise for all the authors you know of, you can determine if you've got them all covered. Just add up the counts for each and compare the result with your total count.

Missing authors

If the numbers added up don't equal the total number of posts,  you will have to hunt for a post from this account. There is no one-step method to locate a missing author. 

Clicking on the name of the author in a post should bring you to the profile page.

You may be able to narrow down your search by reflecting on the history of your blog. 

Did you, like me, begin from a different account? Did you have other authors at one time? Look for posts in that time frame.

As if the above were not tedious enough (and gee, wouldn't a straightforward sort-by-author feature be useful), your blog might not be set up to show authors at all.

Also, what if the display name you used on the old account is the same as the one you use today?

I sincerely hope that your process of identifying accounts is straightforward. In this report, I wanted to cover every possible case.

Show authors

If you've configured your blog to hide authors, but you need to show them, you can. Edit the post template on your Layout page to include the author.

You can remove this when you are done, hiding the authors again.

If you really do not want to show the author names even for a short time, you can clone your blog, make the clone private, show authors there, and conduct your investigation on the clone.

Clone by exporting your blog posts (from Settings > Manage blog > Backup content), starting a new blog, and importing the backup file.

Display name

Both accounts that ever posted to my blog have the same display name.

Consequently, searching from the Posts page using author:Adam just finds everything. But more than 200 of those posts are from a different "Adam."

The remedy for this is to edit the display name, temporarily, to something different. Since display name is case sensitive, I can then search for both "adam" and "Adam" and get true counts for each.

Edit the display name from the account's Blogger profile page—the page you get to when you click on the author link in a blog post.

Secure your accounts

Once you have identified the accounts that have posted images to your blog, you should secure them before Google starts deleting inactive accounts in December.

It's not hard to keep your account "active." Just sending an email or performing a Google search will do the trick. But you need account access to do that.

You should not put this off.

Sign in to these accounts, if they are yours, and make sure your contact information is up to date. That is a Google account setting, not a Blogger setting. 

Google will use this to tell you if your account is in jeopardy of being deleted. But only if your phone and email information is up to date.

For accounts from co-authors, and former co-authors, reach out to them and tell them about this issue.

If the number of images from one of these accounts is small, or if you cannot regain access to an account, consider downloading the images from each blog post and uploading it into the post, replacing the original.

The new version will be associated with your current account, and you will have one less thing to worry about.

It's only the images, not the posts, that are at risk if Google deletes the accounts.


It can be tricky to access an old account you have been away from for a long time, even if you remember the password.

So, I recommend starting this process well before December comes and the accounts start disappearing.

See, if you haven't already, my report on keeping your blog online in light of Google's new policy.

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