I use http://www.arnebrachhold.de/projects/wordpress-plugins/google-xml-sitemaps-generator/ for generating my XML sitemaps for search engines. This is an older plugin but is still in use by many. For quite some time I have been getting an error

“There was a problem writing your sitemap file. Make sure the file exists and is writable”

This error has been bugging me, and I figured it was a permissions issue, but that was not the case. I finally decided to debug and noticed that the plugin was having an issue while submitting my sitemap to Ask.com. Well, it turns out that Ask.com no longer asks for sitemap submissions http://www.ask.com/answers/264341/how-to-submit-sitemap-to-ask-com-when-can-i-get-a-confirmation-that-my-sitemap-is-being-accepted-by-ask-com and this explained my error.

So to solve this issue, navigate to your plugin directory at “wp-content/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/” and edit sitemap-core.php.

Simply remove this chunk of code:

 //Ping Ask.com
        if($this->GetOption("b_pingask") && !empty($pingUrl)) {
            $sPingUrl="http://submissions.ask.com/ping?sitemap=" . urlencode($pingUrl);

            if($pingres==NULL || $pingres===false || strpos($pingres,"successfully received and added")===false) { //Ask.com returns 200 OK even if there was an error, so we need to check the content.
                trigger_error("Failed to ping Ask.com: " . htmlspecialchars(strip_tags($pingres)),E_USER_NOTICE);
            } else {

Now the plugin will no longer contact Ask.com and hopefully everything will build for you without having to build manually!