Google's Communication Problems Continue: Blogger Can't Get His Blog Turned Back On After Six Months

from the not-cool dept

For the last few months, we've been seeing more and more stories about Google's communication problems with users. This has always been something of an issue with Google -- which seems to prefer algorithms to humans whenever possible -- but we're seeing it so often, that I'm really beginning to wonder if this is a serious problem (or potential Achilles heel) for the company. It seems like Google could take some serious lessons from a company like Zappos that treats everyone like a human and goes to amazing lengths to resolve any problems. Instead, too often dealing with Google feels like tossing a request into a giant shiny white box where you may or may not ever hear back -- and, if you do hear back, it's unlikely to be particularly helpful.

For example, we've already talked about the problems many suddenly banned advertisers have had in getting any kind of explanation from Google (let alone any recourse). On top of that, there was the situation with users being locked out of their Google docs, with little communication from Google available. This is really potentially quite damaging. It gives the impression of a giant white wall between users and the company in an age where having some sort of human connection to a company is increasingly important. I recognize that Google has it in their DNA to be afraid of people gaming the system, but in shutting itself off from the world, it may be creating more problems for itself.

The latest example is instructive. Jack Yan alerts us to his own writeup of the struggle he's gone through to try to get Google to reinstate a blog it incorrectly deleted back in July. You can read the forum exchange that began in November (after many months of going through the regular official channels and being told to "wait 2 days" over and over again with nothing coming of it). Jack summarizes the forum exchange this way, with Google's explanation first, and his response in parentheses:
  1. You probably didn't follow the suggestions. (Yes, I did.)
  2. You didn't do it at the right time. (Yes, I did.)
  3. Wait two days. (Waited, nothing happened.)
  4. Wait till this afternoon. (Waited, nothing happened.)
  5. There's no cache of it. (Yes, there is.)
  6. You're not the owner of the site. (Owner steps in and says I am allowed to follow this up for him.)
  7. There's no cache of it. (Yes, there is.)
  8. I'll ignore the main link you give and focus on a second one that is less useful. (Look at the first one then.)
  9. There's no cache of it. (Yes, there is.)
  10. There's no cache of it. (Yes, there is.)
  11. Your search term is not relevant to this. (But it shows you a cache of it.)
The exchange is incredibly frustrating to read, and I'm amazed that Jack remained as calm as he did through it all. In fact, he notes that Google itself had a cache of the site for a long time -- including when he kept submitting for reinstatement and getting told to wait two days. But now Google's own cache is gone, so he's pointing the Google folks to Yahoo's cache to prove the blog is not a spam blog. And Google's response appears to be nitpicking over the search term, rather than the cache itself, or looking for ways to get the blog back. I know plenty of folks who work at Google and care deeply about their products and how they're perceived, but I'm amazed at how badly the company seems to handle basic customer service issues like this one.

Filed Under: blogs, communications
Companies: google


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jan 2010 @ 6:06pm

    Re:

    You shouldn't use electronics to store data you want to always have a hard copy of; otherwise use whatever you want. Just don't complain when something that is guaranteed to go wrong does.

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