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Where Do You Go When Google Locks You Out?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the invisible-man dept.

Censorship 332

Lobais sends in the cautionary tale of a man who was locked out of Google Groups for three years — losing the ability to administer his own open source project in the process. "After about a year of using Google Groups for the PyChess project, I started [noticing] a problem. When I wrote mails to the list, no one would answer. And when I answered other peoples' post[s], they seamed to ignore them and press for new answers. As I tried to check the online group to see what was happening, I got a 403 Forbidden error. After a short while I realized that this error was given for any page on the groups.google.com subdomain. The lockout meant that I was unable to manage the PyChess mailing list. I was unable to fight increasing spam level, and more importantly I couldn't reply to anybody in my community. I wasn't even able to visit the Google help forums, which are all on groups.google.com. As the services are free of charge, I never really expected any support options. ... How can we know how often this kind of thing happens? If any admin can lock you out by a sloppy click, and give you no option to defend yourself, then it is bound to happen once in a while."

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Title but no story! (5, Funny)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405194)

Does anyone know why I'm just seeing a "403 Forbidden error" for this story!?

Re:Title but no story! (2, Funny)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405822)

It's because there's nothing to see here. Just take a hint and move along.

--
DHS

free but not cheap (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405196)

seems to be a common theme with free software and free services - it often starts out as the cheap option, but ends up costing more. i'm fine with people using free stuff, but seriously don't complain when it blows up in your face.

Re:free but not cheap (4, Insightful)

keeboo (724305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405288)

Sourceforge offers free services for developers and works fine for me. The free support is adequate.

I think that the problem is that Google has a terrible support for their services.
My experience with them is that when things go wrong, you're screwed (unless you pay, it seems).

Re:free but not cheap (4, Funny)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405376)

Freshmeat.net is also an excellent service, and don't forget to pick up a t-shirt of fun geeky gift at thinkgeek.com!

Re:free but not cheap (3, Informative)

CBravo (35450) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405392)

Google doesn't respond to its own abuse either. Via their cache they often do requests (to check if the pages still exist?) on our servers. These sometimes trigger our www-burglar-alarm (they actually do something that is not allowed). When you send an abuse mailing you never hear again.

Feedback is not one of their strong sides.

Re:free but not cheap (1)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405540)

I'm not sure if I'm understanding your post fully, but everything that is publicly on your website is .. public thus allowed.
Unless you're one of these countries that tries to forbid clicking on links.

If you think accessing a webpage should not be allowed.. password it or remove it?

Re:free but not cheap (1, Flamebait)

CBravo (35450) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405746)

Well, changing commands in my cms is not allowed in the Netherlands. It isn't a valid link but they should not be trying either.

Re:free but not cheap (4, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405932)

Sure but... why do you care? It seems to me that you should filter/tune your alert messages. You must get tons of spew from all sorts of IPs all the time. Every single one of my servers sees all manner of shit. Attempts to exploit IIS vulnerabilities (I guess I shouldn't be surprised that its more time efficient to spam vulnerabilities at every host than to check what you are connected to), exploit software that isn't even installed etc... google cache rechecks seem like they would be the least of your worries.

I mean... it is essentially a false alarm, and you want google to make an exception for you when, its your alarm that you setup thats really bothering you. Tune the alarm.

-Steve

Re:free but not cheap (4, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405554)

Google doesn't respond to its own abuse either. Via their cache they often do requests (to check if the pages still exist?) on our servers. These sometimes trigger our www-burglar-alarm (they actually do something that is not allowed). When you send an abuse mailing you never hear again.

Hello, a Googler here. I'm not sure what your specific issue is, but if you want to prevent the crawler (GoogleBot) from doing things, you need to set up the robots.txt file appropriately. If you still see the bad requests, they are being triggered by some kind of human action and you'd need to figure out what (the headers sent with the request should tell you).

Re:free but not cheap (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32405668)

Sounds like someone is clicking cached search results and thus requests are sent for the images the page used to contain.

Re:free but not cheap (2, Informative)

CBravo (35450) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405804)

the link is fake and was never created by our cms.

Re:free but not cheap (2, Informative)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405842)

the link is fake and was never created by our cms.

Are you logging http-referer (typo as per the RFC) headers? You might find that the fictitious link is coming from someone else's page and Goog's just following it.

Re:free but not cheap (5, Informative)

CBravo (35450) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405764)

The robots.txt file is ignored if the final target is not in the domain.

Thanks for the header-reminder.

Re:free but not cheap (3, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405882)

The robots.txt file is ignored if the final target is not in the domain. Thanks for the header-reminder.

Time for a dummy redirect inside your site first? Disallow that directory in robots.txt and robots should stop following before they get redirected to the final site.

Re:free but not cheap (5, Interesting)

Enleth (947766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405848)

What you're saying is very interesting, but in contradiction to my experience with GoogleBot's behavoiur.

I've seen GoogleBot-images do a normal crawl of the images on the site, respecting robots.txt and all, and then, start a crawl over the images it was explicitly forbidden from indexing, from the same IP (*definitely* a Google IP, not an impostor), just with the User-Agent header changed to an empty string. Nice, eh? It was way too fast and way too cordinated to be triggered by human action. And if there was actually a human involved in telling the bot to return to the site, *ahem*, "incognito" a few seconds later, I'd be more than happy to tell them to bugger off properly when they're told to.

Re:free but not cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32405302)

Above post sponsored by Perrier.

Re:free but not cheap (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405356)

Software and services are entirely different in this context...

Once you have some free software the copy you have doesn't change unless you choose to change it, thus if it was working it will continue working the same.
A service on the other hand, is entirely under the control of a third party and can change at their whim.

This article is entirely about a service that started off working, and then the company providing it stopped providing it to the one particular user with no explanation as to why.

Re:free but not cheap (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405854)

Right if he had hosted the service himself using FOSS software he would be fine.

Re:free but not cheap (0, Redundant)

Elledan (582730) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405364)

I blogged about something similar a while ago: 'What's yours probably isn't on the internet' [blogspot.com] . In my case it was about me losing the password to my Flickr account (or someone else 'reset' it for me), and me trying to convince the Yahoo helpdesk that it really was my Flickr account. In the end it failed because I couldn't remember the security answer, even though the emails from the account kept getting sent to my email account and I know every other piece of information associated with that account. What can I do about it? Absolutely nothing apparently.

Fortunately I don't need the Flickr account as I have my personal site with a gallery I control, but it's still annoying that there's a zombie account on Flickr which will keep sending email to me for now and probably eternity (or until Flickr gets shut down).

Re:free but not cheap (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32405642)

I blogged about something similar...In my case it was about me losing the password to my Flickr account...

So, TFS describes someone whose IP was apparently banned by google groups but somehow you being a dumbass and forgetting both your password and the answer to the security question is similar?! Give me a break...

Re:free but not cheap (1)

int69h (60728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405652)

There is a very good reason that Yahoo's policy is that way. If they allowed a password reset via email and your email account was ever compromised, all of the accounts that allow a password reset from that email account are vulnerable. In your case it would be take over email account, reset flickr password, associate new email address with flickr account. They really should have an alternative method to proving your identity such as faxing in a copy of your driver's license or something though.

Re:free but not cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32405972)

That's if you gave your real name.

Re:free but not cheap (3, Informative)

Troed (102527) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405678)

If I'm allowed to select a security question myself it's a random combination of characters.

The answer to all security questions on all services I'm signed up for is a random combination of characters.

Reason: It's the weakest link in a security system and should never be used, ever.

(I use LastPass to make sure I don't need to remember passwords - and before someone answers that I've just given my passwords to a service, no, I haven't. Study their architecture)

Re:free but not cheap (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405800)

Request that they stop "spamming" you, otherwise you will make use of CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and they can be fined for thousands of $$$ per spam.

Re:free but not cheap (1)

naplam33 (1751266) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405492)

when the payment is getting ads shoved in our face in every page, let us complain. It's not like anyone, less so a big company, gives anything for free.

Re:free but not cheap (5, Insightful)

yyxx (1812612) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405510)

seems to be a common theme with free software and free services - it often starts out as the cheap option, but ends up costing more

And the evidence for that would be ... what?

i'm fine with people using free stuff, but seriously don't complain when it blows up in your face.

And how does complaining do you any good when commercial, expensive stuff blows up in your face? When Microsoft discontinues products? When Apple kills your app in their App Store? When DEC goes out of business? When Symbolics takes a research project, makes it proprietary, and then proceeds to kill it? Open source and free software were founded because commercial software had blown up in people's faces time and again. With open source, you at least have options for dealing with the problem, with proprietary software, you're stuck.

As for Google, if you want for-pay services, get a Google Apps domain. Those applications that you pay for are supported. And Google offers you the ability to download and backup your data so that you aren't stuck.

Even if you use the free services, so far, I have had a lot less trouble with free Google services than with any of the for-pay hosted web services I've used.

Re:gratis but not free (5, Insightful)

dwmw2 (82) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405600)

I think you've misunderstood the term 'Free Software'. The word 'Free' in Free Software is used to refer to *freedom*, not the cost.

So with software the situation is actually the other way round to the way you present it. If you are using Free(dom) Software, then you have the source and can do whatever you need with it and you aren't held hostage by someone else's actions. If you're using non-Free Software, *then* you seriously shouldn't complain when it blows up in your face.

Using non-Free Software (even if it's gratis) often starts out as the 'cheap option' -- not necessarily in terms of cost, but in terms of local knowledge and training and effort. But it often ends up costing more, because of its inherent limitations and because you can't actually *fix* it to meet your requirements, or even get bug-fixes for it without having to replace it wholesale with a new version.

Re:gratis but not free (1)

RandomFactor (22447) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405796)

Sorry, i haven't been paying attention in recent years. Has the convention changed? - free as in beer, Free as in freedom...right?

I Think the Reason He Was Locked Out Was... (5, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405650)

...he used "fora" as the plural for "forum" and triggered some kind of douchebag filter. These douchebag filters were first created as an experiment by Google in the late '90's to keep out the folks who wrote "boxen" as a plural for "box," but were later taken off-line. I fear that one of the filters may have missed the purge and now it is evolving, learning...

Re:I Think the Reason He Was Locked Out Was... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32405784)

Except "fora" is the plural of forum ( though "forums" has become acceptable in the past 100 years), while "boxen" was never the plural of "box".

Re:I Think the Reason He Was Locked Out Was... (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405852)

According to the OED the plural of forum is forums. Fora is only use when referring to Roman public spaces.

Re:I Think the Reason He Was Locked Out Was... (3, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405818)

douchebag filters were first created as an experiment by Google

Do you know where I can get a copy? I want to install one for my employers HR department before it is too late.

Re:I Think the Reason He Was Locked Out Was... (1)

alex-tokar (1727590) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405962)

It is available somewhere on the Google site as a beta release, but access is guarded closely by the Google Grue (beta). Sorry.

Trojan going around (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32405210)

that steals your gmail password and then resets the password. Sadly, many people have fallen for this, and gmail recovery options are useless.

"No option to defend yourself"? (0)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405220)

Why not create another account to let your users know what's going on, and to contact Google support staff?

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (5, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405260)

Why not create another account to let your users know what's going on, and to contact Google support staff?

Why not read the fine article and discover the he did just that and it didn't help?

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (5, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405306)

I have just read it, while he did create another account to let his group know what was going on. It really doesn't sound like he tried very hard to get in touch with Google for proper support, he just waited three years for an answer to fall into his lap.

He at one point complains that all the support pages linked into Groups so he couldn't access them, but he clearly could after creating his second account. The guy just sounds a bit lazy, the way he whines at the idea of moving to a different hosting/forum provider etc

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (3, Interesting)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406000)

The above was, IMO, incorrectly moderated "troll".
The guy waited for 3 YEARS to get an account issue resolved. He waited. He sent a couple e-mails, browsed a few pages, asked on a couple forums and that's pretty much it. Hell, I would've spammed support via e-mail 3 times a day and would have called EVERYONE all the time, if that issue would have been oh-so-important.
If you don't get a reply to a support request, send another. And another. And another. Go everywhere and tell everyone what happened to you. In 3 years you can learn legal stuff and sue their asses just to get the problem fixed.
Seems to me that his group/mailing list is a very sluggish thing going on, and he really didn't care what was happening. In 3 YEARS you can do an amazing amount of stuff to get your problem resolved. The above poster is 100% right. That guy was simply not trying. End of story.

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405308)

Why not create another account to let your users know what's going on, and to contact Google support staff?

Why not read the fine article and discover the he did just that and it didn't help?

Because now everybody else (and we're quite a lot) knows the answer without having to RTFA. (thus your informative mod)

For me it's one of the greater virtues of Slashdot. In a quick browse I can have the news and all the most obvious questions and additional info, answered and linked. I even think, from time to time, about submitting something to Slashdot just to get the base analysis.

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (2, Interesting)

RonnyJ (651856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405436)

I'm just surprised how, after all his issues, the length of time with no response, and being billed in error, he still ends with:

Thank you Google! I never lost trust in you.

...really?!

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32405532)

I'm just surprised how, after all his issues, the length of time with no response, and being billed in error, he still ends with:

       

Thank you Google! I never lost trust in you.

It's all relative, and judgments are based on the yardstick you're using. Compared to other corporations, Google is not evil.

If you want to maintain any amount of sanity, then you don't judge corporations based on your own measure of competence and morality, you base it on the worst conceivable outcome.

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32405634)

Compared to other corporations, Google is not evil.

Wow. You wouldn't be a Google employee, would you? I hate to say it, but Google is just as evil as any other company. That's not to say that they haven't done some good things, but they are hardly as wonderful and saintly as people make them out to be. They make the lion's share of their money on advertising, do you really think that they would be in that business and not know how to market themselves?

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (1)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405560)

Same here. This guy is a bit strange.

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405714)

Sounds a bit like Stockholm Syndrome.

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (1)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405802)

An interesting thought; yet it seems necessary for the victim to co-exist with the captor. In this case Google didn't maintain communication with the victim.

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405906)

Yes it did, the pychess google group continued to operate, he just didn't have administrative control over it.

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (1)

Iceykitsune (1059892) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405996)

Wooooosh

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405276)

Well, i guess its normally and...................... on principal i guess........

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (2, Interesting)

bernywork (57298) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405382)

Stand outside a Google office with a sign for 10 mins outta do the trick!

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405562)

Will google pay for travel and related costs? Ah, thought so.

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (1)

bernywork (57298) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405942)

Travel time, from my work to the Google office, about 10 mins. Travel time from my house when I was in London to the Google office about 20 mins. Travel time from most places I have worked to a Google engineering / sales office, less than 20 mins. It's not THAT much of a burden.

Just to follow your logic, when you go to your bank branch, do they pay you for travel and related costs? Ah, thought so.

Re:"No option to defend yourself"? (0, Flamebait)

RichiH (749257) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405988)

So because you tend to live near their offices, that is true for everyone else? Ah, thought so.

Appeals process (4, Insightful)

Rijnzael (1294596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405228)

I've always felt that it's in the best interest of entities like Google to add some sort of official, all-service-reaching appeals process to rectify erroneous enforcement actions, or at least give an answer as to how customers broke the Terms of Use so that they can correct such behavior in the future. Being that Google is so huge and that many people's livelihoods depend on it, even if many of these critical services are free, it's in their best interest, and having a department that makes getting the ear of such a huge entity straightforward would really increase customer loyalty as well as reduce apprehension of arbitrary lock-outs.

Re:Appeals process (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405304)

Other than it being obscure, I'm good with what finally resolved the problem - he (sort of) paid for premium support.

I think that if a person or business becomes dependent on a 'free' service then charging for premium support is reasonable. But the quality of service had better be top notch where the first level support is trained to be real good at escalating problems instead of simply sending canned responses that don't really address the issue. If managed well, it can also be a revenue stream in that the people who want somebody to hold their hands for the otherwise trivial stuff can also pay for the privilege and thus its a win-win situation. However, if managed poorly it creates an incentive for bad documentation and obtuse user-interfaces intended to funnel people who would otherwise be self-service into the pay-for-service channel. Its a pick-your-poison situation.

Re:Appeals process (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405512)

IME, Google's premium support generally does exactly this.

You may not always like the answers - some aspects of their systems work slightly differently to what one might expect and cannot be configured otherwise, so I hope you haven't developed a whole bunch of business processes which assume particular behaviour - but they're normally intelligently written in clear English and bear some resemblance to the question asked.

Re:Appeals process (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32405350)

Read around. At the start of the year there were large amounts of gmail accounts compromised, including my own. Believe it was called the London scam; the hackers sent spam email to everyone you've ever emailed claiming you were stuck, had no money and asked them to send money to some bank in London. Found two weeks after that the google login authentication code had been leaked (story on slashdot, don't have the time to find it), and I suspect that was the reason. The only way to recover an account is to fill out their form and wait for a reply. There is no way to contact a real person. Luckily the credit card linked to my paypal account had expired, and the hackers didn't find my domain registration information before I changed it.

This put me off google. That email account was my primary for three years. When the only thing the user can do is fill out a form it makes them feel like its their fault something went wrong. I filled out as many forms as I could and messaged them any way I could but recieved nothing from any human. I didn't mind giving up a little of my privacy so that they could give better targetted ads and sell some of my information. I now use noscript and block any google domain I find. Its something they need to fix, otherwise they'll lose others as well.

Re:Appeals process (5, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405598)

or at least give an answer as to how customers broke the Terms of Use so that they can correct such behavior in the future.

Unfortunately there's no way to explain what triggered an abuse check to good users without also explaining it to spammers, and obviously that would reduce the anti-abuse systems effectiveness very quickly.

So, full disclosure, I work on abuse at Google. False positives are obviously a problem and we try to minimize them. When they do occur, there's usually a way to appeal it, either automatically by using SMS/phone verification or by writing into support and getting a manual review (contrary to what you might read we do have free support for our products and large numbers of people use it every day). It sounds like in this case Groups did not provide an appeal path, or at least didn't do so three years ago. I'll check to see if this is still the case.

Finding a way to improve the appeals process without letting through large amounts of spammers is a tricky problem and we know we could do a better job of it today. Throwing up a call center isn't quite as trivial as it sounds for a bunch of reasons.

Re:Appeals process (5, Interesting)

Rijnzael (1294596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405648)

How's charging a reasonably low price for a phone call or two to resolve the issue with a support person who is knowledgeable as well as able to effect change? Say, charge someone's card $10 and then initiate the support call, and if they are found out to have been an erroneous ban, refund the $10. Keeps the spammers from appealing in a massive manner, while allowing the one-off mistakes relief.

Re:Appeals process (5, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405858)

Sure, we'd like to do that. I was discussing it with management quite recently actually. There are a bunch of tricky issues specific to the case of dealing with abuse disables that we still need to think through fully and figure out good answers for, but I won't be surprised to see something like this happen in the longer term.

Re:Appeals process (4, Interesting)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405888)

At the company where I work (a hosting company) we give a user one chance to clean up their stuff. If they fail, we disconnect them (again, if the offense was bad enough to disconnect on the first time). After that, it's $50 a pop to reactivate the service, and if they continue to screw up we keep pulling the plug. Eventually they seem to figure out we won't allow that kind of garbage, and either clean up... or go away and become someone else's problem.

Not an ideal solution, but it seems to work wonders.

Re:Appeals process (4, Interesting)

Ami Ganguli (921) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405820)

Telling somebody what they've done to violate terms-of-service shouldn't be a problem. You don't need to give away how you caught them, just what it is you think they did wrong. Surely a one-liner along the lines of "we believe you're using your Groups account for spam" should be ok, it would make the whole experience a lot less Kafkaesque.

Re:Appeals process (4, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405870)

Yeah, we do that for most products. Totally agreed that Groups should provide/have provided a more helpful error than a 403 Forbidden.

Newsflash: The companies don't give a damn... (5, Insightful)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405234)

They don't care about your chess hobby. They don't care about you. Not Apple, not Google, not Microsoft, not Donner, not Blitzen. You're a number, a nothing. The cloud will swallow you whole.

Set up your own damn server.

Re:Newsflash: The companies don't give a damn... (1)

kubitus (927806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405390)

Big Brother does not punish you with prison, theyt punish you by ignoring you:

if WE decide so, or you just happen to fall victim to a false setting/click:

:

! YOU DO NOT EXIST !

Re:Newsflash: The companies don't give a damn... (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405438)

Deep man, deep.. You just made me realize internet companies don't care about their user base, and that stupid accidents never happen on your a home server or hosting account.

And the "not Donner, not Blitzen" thing; genius!

Re:Newsflash: The companies don't give a damn... (5, Interesting)

davidbrucehughes (451901) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405516)

Several years back I had built up quite a large following on a Yahoo group. At one point the group had over 600 members, not bad. I did some posts on other groups on related subjects. Maybe one of them complained. Anyway, one fine day Yahoo refused to let me login. All attempts to contact the company were fruitless. I found that not only my account but also the entire group was nuked. Fortunately I had a backup of the registration emails. I shelled out some bucks for a server, emailed all my group members with the new group address, and never looked back.

Re:Newsflash: The companies don't give a damn... (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405556)

You still need support with your own server, whether it is on a dedicated server at a host, like Server Beach, or at home on a permanent IP/biz class cable. (this assumes a small project). From my experience, the 'rent a rack' is the better way, as their service tends to be pretty good, and they will even fix your own mistaktes when possible.....for a fee. Owning your own physical box at home is nice, but the number of ISP's that will host is limited, making you vulnerable again.

Of course, if you aren't a moderately experienced Linux admin, you just opened up a whole new can of worms.

Re:Newsflash: The companies don't give a damn... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405674)

Owning your own physical box at home is nice, but the number of ISP's that will host is limited, making you vulnerable again.

If all you're doing is handling batched news for a handful of groups, you don't need to host anything from home. You could use UUCP if you liked... if you could find someone to give you a feed, which I presume is the hard part of all this.

Re:Newsflash: The companies don't give a damn... (3, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405666)

Depends - you can leverage the cloud without being dependent on it.

If you store your life on gmail, be sure to have a complete IMAP backup someplace. If you host your website on a provider, be sure you have everything you need to rapidly redeploy it elsewhere and make sure you own the domain and DNS/etc.

Go ahead and leverage the cloud, but be able to pick up and move at the drop of a hat.

Now, if downtime is super-precious then I'd probably go with a better-supported option. However, the reality is that most clouds provide better service than most individuals can provision themselves with. There are other reasons to go it alone, but reliability usually isn't one of them.

Re:Newsflash: The companies don't give a damn... (5, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405706)

I still don't get why people think this "cloud" thing is a step forward, given it means less privacy, less control, less reliability, and requires constant net access, not to mention shifting terms of service and the like. And for what? Cross-device access? I can see this being good for some people but I'll pass.

Re:Newsflash: The companies don't give a damn... (3, Funny)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405806)

'... not Donner,...

In fact, they'll eat you alive!

anyone actually read the article ? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32405286)

looks like none of the above actually read the article, its not asking for help as he has contacted support through the enterprise support option and all has been resolved, he's just saying on the free support it's taken google 3years to fix the issue.

to be fair to google, I wonder how many support calls from non paying customers they must get a day so probably from the work load 3 years is probably quite fast :-)

my only other comment would be, why has this made /. not exactly news worthy.

Re:anyone actually read the article ? (5, Insightful)

RonnyJ (651856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405456)

Not quite, with the free support they didn't fix the issue - they took a year to tell him he'd broken the Terms of Service, and then no reply as to why. Even then, when trialling the paid-for support, they still managed to bill him when they shouldn't have.

As for not being news-worthy, how else can people highlight these kinds of issues?!

Re:anyone actually read the article ? (4, Funny)

RichiH (749257) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405578)

Post it to the relevant mailing lists? Oh, wait..

Re:anyone actually read the article ? (2, Informative)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405460)

to be fair to google, I wonder how many support calls from non paying customers they must get a day so probably from the work load 3 years is probably quite fast :-)

Oh, I don't know - 20,000? That'd be one every 4 seconds.

Google (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32405298)

I just downloaded Google Chrome [google.com] 3.0.192.0 for Mac [apple.com] and it crashed before I could even open a page. There is no excuse for this; my Mac Pro [apple.com] is perfect in every way with eight 2.93 GHz cores [intel.com] , 32 GB RAM, and a fresh install of Mac OS X [apple.com] Leopard v10.5.7. Ergo any crashing Google Chrome does is Google Chrome's own fault!

Why is it that Apple [apple.com] and Mozilla [mozilla.com] can do this but Google [google.com] can't? I ran Internet Explorer 8 [microsoft.com] for months before its final release, Firefox 3.5 [trollaxor.com] since its 3.1 days, and found Safari 4 Developer Preview [apple.com] more stable than Safari 3. In fact, even WebKit [webkit.org] is more stable than Chrome.

What really baffles me, however, isn't the instability [computerworld.com] I've come to expect from Google, but that Google has the audacity [bullsballs.com] to ask for personal user info to improve its browser. Is the search engine maker datamonger really so desperate for my private information that it's stooped to the level of Trojan horses [wikisource.org] to get it?

They should ask me that when it doesn't crash on launch.

Everything Google does is just another way to sieve personal data away for targeting ads. This kind of Big Brother [google-watch.org] crap is more repulsive than the fat [trollaxor.com] programmers [shelleytherepublican.com] that make it possible. Google, with its deep pockets and doctoral scholars [nytimes.com] , thinks that by holding user data hostage it can maneuver around Apple and Microsoft [microsoft.com] . While this may be true, I'm not willing to be a part of it.

In using Google's search [google.com] , Gmail [google.com] , Chrome [apple.com] or whatever else the faceless robot [wikipedia.org] of a company invents, the user is surrendering their personal information to a giant hivemind [google.com] . No longer are their personal preferences some choice they make; they're a string of data processed by a Google algorithm: Google dehumanizes [wikipedia.org] its users!

So while Google is arrogant enough to paint spyware shiny so it can parse our browsing habits, the least they could do is make sure it doesn't crash. If Apple, Microsoft, and Mozilla can get their preview releases right, why can't Google? And now they're making their own operating [scobleizer.com] systems [pcworld.com] ?

Get real, Google! I'll use your crashing codebloat when my Mac is cold and dead and I'm looking for handouts. Until then, quit mining [goatse.info] my personal data!

Re:Google (0)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405394)

You could consider upgrading your mac pro to snow leopard, you spent so much on the hardware so the extra $30 isn't really much...

You don't have to use google chrome, you already listed several other browsers you could run and each of them has good and bad points, or you could even run the open source chromium and ensure that no unwanted big brother features are enabled.
Chrome is no different to any other browser, it has its bad points namely how it sends data to google..

You don't need to use any google technology, there are alternatives to their search engine, alternatives to their mail service etc. On the other hand, do you really think any of the other free search engines or mail services don't mine your personal data just the same? These free services cost money to operate, servers cost money, bandwidth costs money, power costs money, they have to pay for the servers somehow. If you want an email service for instance which will not harvest your data, you can run your own server or pay for a service from someone and ensure the contract you have with them ensures they won't look at your data and just store it.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32405526)

Don't feed the troll. No real person uses links like that.

The EFF and (1)

grolaw (670747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405316)

Private Legal Counsel.

3 years? (2, Interesting)

mseeger (40923) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405328)

As i read it: He was locked out, ignored it mostly for about 2.9 years and got it fixed within a few days. IMHO someone more determined would have been able to resolve the issue in very short time.

CU, Martin

Re:3 years? (4, Informative)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405580)

I take it you never had to ask Google for support? It can take months until anyone answers your mail IF they even bother. And what you will get is generally just a canned answer pointing you to a FAQ you probably already read a few times. Replying to that generally results in a few more month waiting for a completely uncommited "We're looking into it", or worse "Please contact some other part of Google. It's not OUR problem". Google's user support sucks so hard, they should use it to fix the BP oil leak. I had to deal with them as a *paying* customer (Android Developers do pay a fee after all), and it was like talking to badly programmed chatbots running on a steam-powered difference engine.

Distributed, provider-agostic option (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32405482)

So he persisted for *three years* instead of starting a moderated newsgroup on Usenet and pointing his support links thereto.

Many MUAs ( e.g. Thunderbird ) can seamlessly integrate newsgroups so that their users are largely unaware of the nature of the "mailing list" that they are using. Not ideal in terms of the spirit of Usenet but certainly better than leaving one's users adrift for that length of time. They could even have followed the newsgroup through Google Groups :-/

to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32405546)

yahoo?

No support from Google (3, Informative)

jonfr (888673) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405550)

Google has no support for anything. Not Youtube, poor support for Android it seems, and rather poor support for the Google Groups also it seems. I wonder what else is not supported properly at Google.

You have been warned!

Re:No support from Google (5, Interesting)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405618)

A few months ago I needed to contact Google UK over an unpaid fee for their use of a photograph. Even though they have an office with staff, they have made every effort to be invisible and uncontactable. If you do get hold of the office number, and call it, you are given a myriad of options. If you work your way through each option, they _all_ ultimately tell you to go to the Google web site and send an e-mail. There is no possible way to get put through to a human in any department. Google do not like talking to people.

ps. To add to your comment about poor support for Android: There are several critical errors in Google's sample code provided to Android developers. The errors have been pointed out, and fixes supplied, by kind-hearted developers who wanted to help others. Yet it is apparently too much effort for Google to update the sample code, meaning that every new developer coming to Android must struggle with the same problems.

Re:No support from Google (3, Funny)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405772)

Google do not like talking to people.

Well, they do have a reputation as a company run by engineers.

Re:No support from Google (3, Insightful)

redhookgroup (655958) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405766)

Google is learning that Customer Service/Support doesn't scale as easily as their other services.

Everything google. (2, Insightful)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405664)

Whether it be google maps or other service, I feel the curtain will come down. I predict Gmail and shared docs will be a loss leader, but eventually I think google maps will be "called in".

They will impose a stricter map-refreshs-per-hour policy and charge a fee(albeit small) for that Google Maps Key. Next thing, that small Web House Company that did sites for those real estate agents, Rental Car Companies, and Motels will have to pay a fee, and need to recoup that.

Put all your eggs in someone elses basket at your peril I say. At least with hosting you can have backups and pick up another provider if things turn to custard.

Usenet (1)

delta98 (619010) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405670)

Keep it. No argument here but I would like to see a bit more of redundancy built in and I'm not seeing anything that can beat the wire. Hell, a stout bbs might find it's way back to relevance before too long.

Re:Usenet (2, Informative)

panda (10044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405874)

Usenet died in September 1993. In fact, on Usenet it is always September 1993.

The real lesson (2, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405690)

is never rely on a single source. Always have a plan B. In this case it wasn't really that important - not like having your (single) bank account frozen. However it's a good illustration of what could happen, that people should worry about.

So just make sure you always have a fallback email account. If your life really does revolve around being able to post to, or administer, a particular group of people then why not set up a secondary account with the same privileges? It's not that hard to do.

Now, if you'll just hang on a second I'll pop over to my alternate /. account and mod this up.

What are you complaining about? (4, Insightful)

amn108 (1231606) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405702)

Google does not owe you anything. When will people realize that? You outsource everything to Google, then complain when they lock you out. This is why one should avoid services like Googles, and it will be worse when they will try to convince you you should use some Web 2.0 computer operating system. In fact, this has nothing to do with computers - if you sleep, drink, eat and work at somebody elses property, don't expect to feel like home. It's sort of surprising (or maybe not!) to even encounter such questions on Slashdot - you actually expect everything to work fine, when you are but a mere invisible client to a benemoth that Google has become. If you want to be smart, rent your own domain name and website for 100$ a year, spend a week coding it (obviously if you can do PyChess, you should be able to do some PHP and databases), and tap yourself on your shoulder - you have just achieved independence from Google, and are now part of a distributed Internet model, instead of the ugly, error-prone, monopolized client-server system, where even contacting support is a reason for headache. Now, c'mon - WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? Google has millions of users, they have bold ambitions, but you cannot server the entire planet EFFICIENTLY with one corporation, no matter how large (bureaucracy takes over), you just can't. This was ought to happen, either to you or somebody else, and it will happen again, make no mistake about it.

Re:What are you complaining about? (5, Informative)

redhookgroup (655958) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405786)

For the user in the original article that is true. For lots of Android developers, not so much. We have to pay a fee to become an Android developer, and consequently we would expect at least a basic level of support. I've written 1/2 dozen times to them over both technical issues and financial issues regarding sales. To date - I have never received a single response. Of course some of these questions/concerns are only 1.5 years outstanding so I apparently only have 1.5 more years to wait. ;)

I have a similar problem with gmail (1)

CaptCanuk (245649) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405720)

On my gmail account, I get e-mail sent to another gmail account that is similar to my account name but 3 letters longer. Whenever I send mail to that account, it goes directly to me. The e-mail header information says it went to that account so I'm assuming (possibly incorrectly) that it isn't a simple forward rule. The real problem is that I can't e-mail the owner of the other account to get him to look into it because he doesn't get it or doesn't read it, and google definitely has NO place for me to reach out to them securely to ask them to look into this issue.

I wonder what percentage of gmail mail is being sent to the wrong accounts.

Re:I have a similar problem with gmail (3, Informative)

RJFerret (1279530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406034)

On my gmail account, I get e-mail sent to another gmail account that is similar to my account name but 3 letters longer. Whenever I send mail to that account, it goes directly to me.

This might not apply, just a shot in the dark, but the "3 letters longer" doesn't begin with + does it?

You can put "+whatever" after your gmail account name and the account will receive it. This feature permits tracking the source of spam and filtering out emails you don't wish to receive. (IE, "me+sd@gmail" arrives at "me@gmail")

Apparently you can also include periods anywhere in an email address and they are stripped out and delivered to the account. So "me@gmail" and "m.e@gmail" both go to the former.

If this is the case, the simplest solution is to filter those messages to trash.

Google for "Technical Support" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32405780)

Now, you may do a search on Google for "Technical Support".....

Who wawa GuGu ? (-1, Flamebait)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 4 years ago | (#32405984)

He's **entitled** to what ?? So some feckin-A bytefagg gets hooked on Google-cocaine ... and he throws a hissy. Does anybody give a fuck --- except to ridicule the whimpering, whining, simpering **entitlement** attitude. Well sorry pad're you have **no** rights to do or get or use or apply anything Google. Yeah you have been feckin-A mislead on purpose. So find an ice-floe. Jump on. Float away. Melt off ....

What about a new account? (1)

upuv (1201447) | more than 4 years ago | (#32406036)

I'm sorry but this does not ring true for me at all.

1. It is highly unlikely that a http 403 raw is presented to the "authenticated" user. Especially from someone like Google. Even the most basic of web infrastructures intercept 400 series and 500 series http responses and present the user a "formated" page that is human readable. I recon the company that basically controls most of the internet content on the planet would probably do this as well.
2. Did it not ever occur to the "admin" to create a fake account with google and rejoin his group and ask a couple of questions if he/she cared so much. I would have.
3. Ask questions via someone else on the groups and support channels?

The "fact" that it took 3 years to find such an obscure method voicing an issue with google seems fishy. I get a feeling that this persons actions have been "edited" to present a better light on the hard done by user.

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