Thursday, April 12, 2012

Google changes its Blogger system, leaves bloggers wondering if they've fallen off the face of the Earth

This website, along with thousands of others across the web, is finding itself in a difficult situation: either use Google's new system of else move on and off the grid – literally.

Bloggers who use Google have known for a while that the new platform was coming, we've all seen the preview statement on our dashboard for weeks.

What we didn't know, but should have guessed, was that the migration was not voluntary - either use the new system or take down your website.

Early this morning I got the first warning signs: Google no longer believed I had an account. I had fallen off the grid.

I noticed it when I checked for news. All my search bots were missing. Any attempt to recreate them was useless, I could not sign into Google (though, in reality, I have never signed out). Google no longer recognized that I existed.

I tested my Gmail account to see if that was still working, and it was. But otherwise I had fallen off the grid. Now, in the near future, falling off the Google grid might mean you literally no longer exist. But this morning it simply meant that I could not get my work done.

The problem with Google is that it does things and never feels that they have any obligation to explain them or accomodate its customers.

TNM's AdSense account is a good example of this. On the day this site launched I created an AdSense account and began running ads from Google. Meanwhile I started to check out other ad networks. Then, within weeks I received notification that my AdSense account was being terminated. No explanation was given, and after two years I've still not heard anything from Google as to why they did this. At the time the account was terminated my total traffic probably added up to two readers – and one has accidentally come to TNM by mistake.

If Apple had owned the publishing and ad system one could have simply picked up the phone and called someone. But not with Google. The company has a phobia about direct communications. The only time I've ever spoken to a Google representative about anything I mentioned the issue about AdSense, they promised to get back to me on it, and, of course, never did.

But all that is water under the bridge, as is the two years of work I did creating Google news bots. Once again I will be thinking about the future of this site – at least on this platform anyway. While Google may say they are improving their system, wiping out their users settings and information is simply not acceptable.

In the meantime, my other project, still to remain nameless, will have be on another platform – this one is too unpredictable.