Sunday, September 2, 2007

We're Up Again! - No Thanks to Google

If you haven't noticed, the blog has been down for close to 72 hours. Anyone who tried accessing received a 404 Server Error. I thoroughly apologize for the outage.

The reason was (as I've later discovered) a known issue with the Google DNS:

Last week I've added "Google Apps For Your Domain" to my domain (see banner at bottom of the page).
This enables me to have 25 users on, with 3gb mail boxes, Google Docs (Word-like and Excel-like online), a calendar, chat etc. This, for example, enabled me to have the address for comments (and no, I don't fear spam anymore :)). But since the same DNS serves both Google Apps and Blogger (now a Google company) - references got mixed. This I verified immediately by tracing the route to my domain.

And then started my real problem: there's no easy way to get support from Google, on either Google Apps, or Blogger. On both sites, you are supposed to read support article and/or submit questions to user groups. No support@... email available, and a "request help" form buried under layers of obstruction. This is the latest in a trend of avoiding user interaction that I started noticing on the web (good luck trying to get help at eBay or PayPal, for example).

I realize Google is "donating" these apps for "free" (well, not really, they do have a business plan, such as having my content to mine and ads to push) and are therefore not really required to supply a 24/7 multilingual support center. But still, a huge chunk of my life now runs on Google and I've come to expect a certain level of service. Also, if you're trying to get people to pay for these services (the Premier edition costs $50/year/user) - they should encourage them by providing support for the free service.

I did receive some help in the past, after locating the help form (links to both forms here) on an email issue I had, but I guess my blog just drifted into the Labor Day weekend (I'll report if I ever do get anyone to answer me). Be that as it may, I finally found a sort of solution in this user group thread. I found the thread through Google search - so maybe they did help me after all :)

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