I don’t know about you but I always thought Google was one of the great companies of the world. All those brains. All that technology. Exploring the earth the seas and the heavens. Clever art for every holiday and special occasion. All that money!
But that perception was taken down a peg or two on April 17, 2009 when some nasty Nigerian/Ghana hacker seized control of my gmail account and, apparently, hundreds or thousands or millions of others as well. He shot out an email to my list, including my business list, saying I was stranded, penniless and desperate in Africa and needed $1,600 for a meal and to make it home.
I began getting a flood of phone calls and emails asking if I was ok. Friends, friends of friends and business associates from New York, California, Washington D.C. and elsewhere wanted to know if it was true, was I ok, did I need money. I had to explain…..and am still explaining…. I am ok, not in Africa, appreciate their concern but this is a scam. My gmail account has taken on a pan handling life of it’s own. And I certainly hope no well intentioned person got duped into wiring money to some “hotel manager” in a country that lives off these nasty scams.
I am still working through a bureaucratic process to reclaim my account with Google. I had Google gmail, docs, custom rss feeds, Adsense advertising, Adwords, Google gadgets and others Google services. Like I said, I loved Google, it’s expertise, ease of use, tech savvy. But now I am waiting on Google to restore my service. And Google doesn’t seem to get it. This was their mistake, not mine. It was their company that was sabotaged, not mine. Yes, I could open a new account but it would not have the entire history of my business correspondance on it. Google should be sending their customers roses and Godiva candy, not to mention apologies; they should be working around the clock to restore service…… particularly to some one like me who has been splitting ad revenue with them and receiving funds at a bank where I can identify the date and amount of the last deposit, the same system Paypal and others use to verify accounts.
So Google has definitely taken a hit in my judgment, not just because of the entire hacking and scam disaster. Their handling of the crisis isn’t shaping up as well as it should either. And I’m amazed the media hasn’t made a big deal of it. So, as a blogger and citizen journalist, I thought I’d share this cautionary tale with you. And I will keep you posted on the Google response and the ultimate outcome. If some major media outlet doesn’t do it first. Which would be fine with me.