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Google – Too big to listen?

These days companies today are cutting back on their customer service staff, in an effort to push up their profits. Those that can’t completely eradicate their customer service departments, are resorting to using telecenters in third world countries, where employees earn a pittance.

But one has broken the mould entirely – Google has decided it is so big that it doesn’t need to supply any customer service for its non-paying customers. Their “Contact” pages lead you in a merry circle where you end up at their FAQ pages with no answers to your problem.

It might make corporate sense to the bean counters but it is a marketing disaster waiting to happen.

Any market is driven by needs and as long as you satisfy your customers needs, you have a market. If you don’t meet your customer’s needs, eventually someone else will and you will lose you market.

Google is relying on the fact that it is so big, that it can overlook the little people. They rose to their current position through the little people, creating a search engine that met their needs, better than their rivals, Yahoo.

As their popularity rose, they used their traffic to create an income from advertising, creating paying customers – all founded on the non-paying public – the little guys, the ones they don’t provide a customers service for anymore.

If you go onto their forum, which is not actually run by them, you will fins hundreds of comments all ending with a questions like, “Does anyone know how to contact Google Helpdesk?”, “How can I raise a ticket?” or “How can I tell Google about this?”

This is Google’s foundation, all expressing a need that Google is not meeting – you don’t get a prize for guessing what is going to happen next.

Like most Internet Marketers, I thought of Google Adsense for advertising for my sites, added their script and after a bit of fine tuning, sat back and waited for the money to come in.

Because there was no-one to advise me, I found out by accident that somehow, I had placed ads for a site with no content, on a website with over 75 pages of content and 4.5 million visitors. Well I think I might have because Google sent an email to me, saying they were closing down their Adsense for sites with no content and that it would effect two of my websites.With no helpdesk, I have no way of knowing. Just to make sure I wasn’t wasting my money,  I stopped my Adwords too – they lost one paying customer.

It’s not rocket science: Customer service

You might think I’m having a good old moan but I’m not. Several important points arose out of this.

  1. I found another even better pay per click advertising provider and these guys focus on what the viewer is looking for as well as the website content, to get a better hit rate.
  2. Google wants me to pay $58.00 US for their helpdesk to fix their mistake. Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse? (How convenient – Let’s stuff up some accounts so we can make some money!) . . . Hello Google it’s YOUR mistake, so how much are you going to pay ME for the hassles YOU caused?
  3. I discovered that my little problem is widespread and others have tried to contact Google , who have not fixed it, so I can save valuable time trying and move on to another supplier.
  4. I also discovered a massive black hole in Google’s security. The way they have set up Gmail, someone can simply take over your email as well as your entire Google account and probably, if they are smart, your Internet identity (I’ll cover that next session)

I did a Google search (how ironic) for another supplier of PPC (pay per click) advertising and found several suppliers. I carefully went through their websites and then sent them a message, using their contact page. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice – I wanted someone who was there if I needed help and someone who answered promptly. Chitika came out on top. They answered my email that day and I also received a phone call from them as well. I signed up and placed their ads on one of my sites the next day  I get a referral commission if you click on the link and decide to sign up with Chitika but I would also personally recommend them whether I received any commission or not and here’s why:

  1. First and foremost is their help – there’s email, phone and instant messaging with a real person, right now.
  2. I’m in Australia and Google will only pay me when my account has over $150.00 US in it. Chitika pays into Paypal when I have over $10.00 revenue or sends a check when I have over $50 revenue in my Chitika account.
  3. They explain things so I can understand them.
  4. Their add code is better set out than Google’s Ads code – it’s much easier to find it in a page of HTML script.
  5. I can try Chitika ads alongside Google Adsense, so there’s no risk trying out Chitika.

Looking at the Google users forum, Google has done something to lose people’s passwords because there is a spate of questions asking how to contact Google because suddenly their passwords stopped working. There also seems to be high number of reports of people’s emails ending up in other’s accounts and email accounts being hijacked and like many IT companies, Google’s security is a knee jerk reaction that leaves a gaping hole in their armour but more on that in the next instalment.