I had my first bad experience with Google software which has been remedied but it was enough for me to reevaluate my level of commitment using their websites and software. Everyone knows it’s not good to rely on just one company for ANYTHING. Over time I have become more reliant on Google for mail and documents. I use their Calendering and Picassa/Web Albums, Blogger, and Google Voice service. I also use GMAIL for my company’s tech support and we share documents at work.
This week when I attempted to create a new document, I got a message that I may be in violation of their terms of service. I was locked out from ALL accounts which was tied to my Google GMAIL account. I couldn’t check GMAIL or use Google Docs. Soon after that, I received a message that a blog I had setup (http://pcbestpractices.blogspot.com) had been flagged as a possible SPAM site. Ironically, that blog I started which has 2 lengthy posts attempting to inform about the proper use of BCC, and how to manage photos is probably the two most USEFUL posts I’ve ever created! Here is the text of the email I received:
Your blog at: http://pcbestpractices.blogspot.com/ has been identified as a potential spam blog. To correct this, please request a review by filling out the form at [linked removed]
Your blog will be deleted in 20 days if it isn’t reviewed, and your readers will see a warning page during this time. After we receive your request, we’ll review your blog and unlock it within two business days. Once we have reviewed and determined your blog is not spam, the blog will be unlocked and the message in your Blogger dashboard will no longer be displayed. If this blog doesn’t belong to you, you don’t have to do anything, and any other blogs you may have won’t be affected.
We find spam by using an automated classifier. Automatic spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and occasionally a blog like yours is flagged incorrectly. We sincerely apologize for this error. By using this kind of system, however, we can dedicate more storage, bandwidth, and engineering resources to bloggers like you instead of to spammers. For more information, please see Blogger Help: http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=42577
Thank you for your understanding and for your help with our spam-fighting efforts.
The Blogger Team
P.S. Just one more reminder: Unless you request a review, your blog will be deleted in 20 days. Click this link to request the review: [link removed]
The only thing I can think of is that the fact my blog was flagged as a potential spam site, triggered the lockout of all my other google accounts.
It’s one thing to suspect wrong doing and I accept that there are false positives, but to turn off EVERYTHING associated with an account until it is proven an error doesn’t strike me as not Doing Evil. It’s like the policy of shooting first and asking questions later.
I’m not going to stop using Google properties, but I’ve got my foot on the brake and I will no longer recommend them as enthusastically, or without warnings. I will post a Google Best Practices ;-) at a later time.
Here are a few other stories related to being “Google Owned”