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TypePad is essentially holding my old URL hostage by refusing to set up 301 permanent redirects to my new blog location

I have been having some seriously frustrating conversations with the tech support people over at Six Apart. I’m hoping that they will eventually do right by me, but as it stands right now I’m ready to pull my hair out.

TypePad currently does not support 301 permanent redirects, or any modifications at all to the .htaccess file. (UPDATE: 8 years later, in 2014, Typepad STILL does not allow 301 redirects!  Unacceptable.)

This prevents visitors who have bookmarked your site from knowing that it has been moved to a new location, unless you manually update each and every post to provide the link for the current URL (which is what I have been doing).

The bigger problem, however, stems from the fact that the search engines have no idea where you went. Without a 301 permanent redirect, they do not know that they should no longer index the old URL, and that the previous content can now be found at your new URL. The same holds true for technorati being able to recognize that your new blog is actually your old blog — just with a new domain name.

TypePad’s customer support says that they don’t allow customers to modify the .htaccess file for security reasons because it contains account information. Now that’s reasonable, but what if I were to just provide them with a text file that contains all of the redirect codes (which they could clearly see was not a security threat) and then the customer support themselves could just add that code to the existing .htaccess file? It would take them two seconds to do the copy and paste. Obviously, there isn’t any technological reason why they could not do this. It’s a matter of will they choose to help me or not.

And remember, it’s not like TypePad is a free service — I paid $149 for my TypePad Pro membership, and had been planning on renewing it indefinitely as I have other blogs on TypePad that I had not been planning on moving (like my blog of Best Funny Pictures, which averages 3000+ visitors a day). But if they’re going to continue to hold my old URL hostage and refuse to allow me to set up 301 permanent redirects to this blog, I’m not going to be a happy customer — and probably won’t continue to be a customer at all as a result.

I’m still waiting to hear back from this customer support (we’ve been arguing back and forth about the 301 permanent redirects for quite a bit) and will obviously report the ultimate results here. Wish me luck.

Update: the official final response from TypePad customer support has come back

At this time, we do not provide the service you requested to our users.

Now do you see even more why it’s important to get your own domain name before you start blogging?

I also wish I hadn’t been intimidated by WordPress and had used that from the beginning… Oh well, at least I’m using it now!

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