When I was introduced to Google's Blogger, I thought it was a wonderful site: easy to use, convenient, reputable. Then two days ago a received a rude awakening. The following message from Blogger popped up when I tried to access my blog:
"Possible Blogger Terms of Service Violations
This blog is currently under review due to possible Blogger Terms of Service violations.
If you're a regular reader of this blog and are confident that the content is appropriate, feel free to click "Proceed" to proceed to the blog. We apologize for the inconvenience.
If you're an author of this blog, please follow the instructions on your dashboard for removing this warning page."
I soon discovered that Blogger had mistakenly flagged my account as a possible spam blog. At first, I just laughed. But once I learned that Blogger does not provide its customers easy and direct access to human support, I stopped laughing.
As I understand it, Blogger is part of the Google family. However, when I tried to contact Google customer support to find out why my simple, little blog had incurred their wrath, I discovered that Google, like Blogger, seems to have little interest in hearing directly from its customers.
Why else would they hide behind this blanket statement:
"Need to contact our support team? We provide email support for specific issues that may prevent you from accessing your account. Listed below are troubleshooting suggestions that may help you quickly resolve your problem. If your problem persists, and there are other possible solutions we can offer, you'll be able to report the issue to our support team. While we do read each email, you'll only hear from us (generally within a few days) if we need more information from you."
Notice the part about "you'll be able to report the issue to our support team". Really? How exactly are customers supposed to report their problems when Google does not offer a phone number for customer support? Google does not even offer an e-mail address for support issues. At least, not one that I could find after nearly an hour-long search.
So, while I've spent a considerable amount of time over the last 5 days writing articles for my new blog and putting the word out to people who might want to follow said blog, Google's Blogger has sabotaged my efforts by plastered a huge WARNING notice on my front door. Why would a company like Google go to such extremes, tarnishing the reputation of the innocent, without providing measures by which customers can seek an immediate reconciliation?
I think I present fair questions. Unfortunately, I am forced to post them here, on my blog, rather than give them to Blogger or Google directly. I guess Blogger and Google prefer generic and automated help- topics over a live support team that would actually aid customers.
Well friends, while I had hoped to use this service to bring you movie reviews and various musings, I will be forced to close up shop and go somewhere else. Somewhere that actually provides person-to-person support, especially on issues that falsely accuse members of being possible violators in front of the entire web community.
I can't help but feel that Blogger and Google are abusing the automated help features which have been implemented in the guise of offering "faster service". I fear they are really in place to cut costs and avoid having to deal with customers directly. It is a cowardly and obnoxious way of conducting business.
In the end, I am just a small fish and Google is a mighty cyber-empire. But like Rome, all empires crumble- not from a lack of leadership or savvy infrastructure, but by losing touch with the individuals who roam within its walls.
For the record, I understand that mistakes happen. I am glad that Blogger and Google take spam seriously and have set measures in place to try and stop spammers. But what I can not abide is the fact that they have made it so difficult to get real help for real problems. Supplying a list of generic help topics is not sufficient. It is give up.
In the past two days there is no telling how much damage Blogger's warning has done to my reputation, or how many perspective followers turned away for fear that The Teague Report is a spam blog.
Sure, to an extent I can manage damage control by contacting my family and friends and letting them know about Blogger's awful mistake. But what about the link I published on another movie forum? I have no way of knowing how many people tried to access my blog only to turn away for fear that I was a dreaded spammer. Most people do not give blogs that have the potential of being spam a second chance. This is why I am so angry. This is why I am abandoning Blogger and why I will do everything possible to let people know my story so that they do not fall prey to the same shabby treatment.