Terry_logo Google have been the darlings of the web world for quite some time, and yes, they have provided some pretty good stuff for free. But it is one thing to provide tools and technology, and quite another to actually ENGAGE with consumers … I think they prefer to call us "users".

My friend Terry has a website where he posts his flash games. He makes them for himself and gets a genuine kick out of the responses he gets from the people who play them. After quite some time, his site started to attract a bit of traffic, so he turned to Google Ads to help pay for his hosting. And while he thought deeply about placing advertising on his site, he also realised that he didn’t really have a choice … his hosting provider was already closing down the site due to its popularity — it was either upgrade or go home. And as you know, that costs money.

Things had been going well … until an email arrived from Google. They had detected fraudulent activity on his site and were cancelling his account. Immediately.

Of course, a number of Internet companies talk about openness and transparency … but it seems very few practise it. How do you appeal a decision to cancel your account? Who do you talk to? It seems that the only way to find out is to use a search engine to find out. Certainly there is nothing on the specific Google sites to help. And, of course, the best information was to be found on blog sites.

So after following an appeals process, Terry was duly informed that fraudulent behaviour (ie automated clicking) WAS detected on his site and that the appeal was rejected, and there was nothing more he could do about it. The behemoth had spoken. There is NO SOUP FOR YOU.

It is a shame that the companies like Google and Apple (who I have whinged about before … don’t start me on iPods again!) who have deep community support and the technology (and resources) to ENGAGE in dialogue with their communities simply refuse to do so. By doing so, they very quickly and radically turn evangelists into the opposite … these are the negative brand stories that can also spread quickly.

Did Terry cry like a baby? Well not that he told me … but it is nice to see that Google is starting to feel a little bit whiney.

S.