Users of Google's 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 yesterday.

"Google has such high standards. It strives for perfection. How is this happening? It's so disappointing," said Justen Deal, who is distressed over Google's 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's 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, estimates Brown, who lives in Devon, and 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, doesn't feel the problems have severely impacted her sites. "I guess I'm fortunate in that regard," said Hurst-Wahl, president of Hurst Associates, a digitisation consulting firm in New York. She looks forward to the wider rollout of the Blogger beta version, because she's very interested in the new feature for categorising 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't helping Croll be optimistic, he said via email. "I don't 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's Network.

Beyond the system issues, Deal, Brown and other users interviewed also 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's like sending a message into a big black hole because you get nothing back," Brown said.