Some users of Google\u2019s Blogger are steaming over persistent problems that have affected the popular blog hosting and publishing service in recent weeks.Outages and sluggish and erratic performance have reached unacceptable levels for some publishers who voiced their displeasure in interviews on Wednesday."Google has such high standards. It strives for perfection. How is this happening? It\u2019s so disappointing," said Justen Deal, who is distressed over Google\u2019s recent deletion, apparently by mistake, of hundreds of photos from his blog.Eric Case, a Blogger product manager, acknowledges that Blogger has had a rough time recently due to what he calls "a perfect storm" of network hardware failures and other infrastructure problems. However, Case said these issues will be a thing of the past once Blogger moves to a more solid and scalable platform. That\u2019s where Google is hosting the Blogger beta version, which is in limited availability and includes many new and improved features.Still, some are running out of patience. On Sunday, after what she termed an "appalling week" of Blogger problems, Nicola Brown replicated her blog Life at the Edge over to the competing Wordpress.com platform. Whether it was outages, slowness or malfunctions, like the inability to post entries and comments, problems affected her blog about 25 percent of the time last week, estimated Brown, who lives in Devon, United Kingdom,\u00a0and began using Blogger about 10 months ago. On the bright side, the migration to Wordpress.com was smooth and she finds she likes that service better in general.Not everyone is crying foul. Jill Hurst-Wahl, who maintains four blogs on Blogger, including this one, doesn\u2019t feel the problems have severely impacted her sites. "I guess I\u2019m fortunate in that regard," said Hurst-Wahl, president of Hurst Associates, a digitization consulting firm in Syracuse, N.Y. She looks forward to the wider rollout of the Blogger beta version, because she\u2019s very interested in the new feature for categorizing entries.Others, like Chuck Croll, an independent network and security consultant in northern California, are uneasy about that upcoming migration, fearing it may get bumpy for publishers. The recent problems aren\u2019t helping Croll be optimistic, he said via e-mail. "I don\u2019t even have enough time to document the outages, let alone my personal experiences with them. They keep coming up so frequently," wrote Croll, who hosts several blogs on Blogger including a work-related one called PChuck\u2019s Network.Beyond the system issues, Deal, Brown and other users interviewed complain about a lack of responsiveness on the part of Google to their help requests. "Blogger has a contact support form built into it but it\u2019s like sending a message into a big black hole because you get nothing back," Brown said.Google\u2019s Case said it\u2019s hard for the Blogger team to field support requests from so many users, and that\u00a0it prioritizes dealing with the most serious issues. Because answers to many questions already exist, the Blogger team encourages users to assist one another in the Blogger Help discussion forum. Blogger, which is free, is the largest service of its kind in the United States, according to comScore Networks.But there are cases like Deal\u2019s\u00a0that peers can\u2019t help fix. Over several weeks, Deal, a manager at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles, tried to get help from Google via e-mail and phone calls. On Tuesday, he finally got a message from Google with bad news: "We regret to inform you that due to a server malfunction, your uploaded images were lost and cannot be retrieved," the message reads in part. Deal is so discouraged by what has happened to his blog, which he started in late 2002, that he might stop blogging altogether.Asked specifically about Deal\u2019s problems, Google\u2019s Case said the message he got isn\u2019t the end of the story and that the Blogger team is working to remedy the situation, with which he is familiar. Deal\u2019s problems relate to a transition Blogger is making of a small set of users\u00a0who use a special hosting service Google inherited when it acquired Blogger in early 2003 from Pyra Labs, Case said. Robert Brinkmann began using Blogger about four months ago, assuming it would work well because it is run by Google. After the recent mishaps, he\u2019s not so sure. "I don\u2019t think I would recommend Blogger at this point to anyone," said Brinkmann, chairman of the geography department at the University of South Florida in Tampa.Brinkmann, who hosts several personal and work-related blogs on Blogger, has begun investigating other options. The blog he updates most often\u2014daily\u2014has regularly gone offline or responded slowly in the past week. "It\u2019s surprising Blogger doesn\u2019t work very well because Google has such a good reputation overall," Brinkmann said.-Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service (Miami Bureau)Related Links:\n\nGoogle Blogger Hobbled by Technical Issues\n\nGoogle Blog Service Hit by Outage\n\nOfficial Google Blog Hacked\n\nAmnesty Highlights Censored Blogs With New Tools\n\nWho Uses GoogleCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.