It’s been a long time since I posted anything here, partly because I’ve been way too busy, and partly because of the frustration I’ve been experiencing with Blogger and the whole arcane Blogger-Google-Gmail connection. I’ll start with the rant and go on to the rave.
When I set up this blog, I used my old Hotmail address to log in, and for a long time this worked fine. About two months ago I started having problems switching back to my gmail account after I’d been logged on here under the Hotmail address. Finally it got to the point where I simply couldn’t log onto here any more if I was logged into my gmail account, and had to do some troubleshooting. What I found out from various online forums was that to get back on I had to log in with my Hotmail address and give myself permission to log into my own account using the gmail address. I did this, but the process completely messed up my gmail account, so I had to go in, verify who I was, and change my password. I am now permanently logged into Blogger with my gmail account, but have lost all access to the administrative functions. I can’t even delete the spam comments that appear from time to time. I don’t dare log in again with the Hotmail address for fear I’ll be kicked out of gmail again and have to re-establish my account.
This morning I was so fed up with the whole Google-Blogger-Gmail labyrinth and its insidious efforts to exclude anything that looks like competition that I tried to find some contact information for customer support. There is none. They admit it. There are only two phone numbers, a general one that takes the caller to a recording saying that they offer no customer support and a “press” number where one can at least leave a callback number. I did so, and we’ll see what happens.
I’m tempted to switch the whole blog and my main e-mail account to other platforms, but I understand from the forums that a lot of things will be lost in the process. I’d rather work out the bugs in Blogger, but Google doesn’t seem to be interested in keeping their bloggers or their e-mail customers. I suppose they aren’t profitable enough. The saga will continue, one way or another.
Now for the rave, the bright spot in my week. I just signed up with Mail Chimp to send out html newsletters to my orchid customers. This company has been a joy to work with from the very start and I can’t say too many good things about them. Their services are free for up to 2000 e-mails a month, the ready-made templates they provide are easy to work with, and there are good help menus at every stage of the process. I was able to learn the system, put together an attractive newsletter, and send it to my list in just a couple of hours. The most amazing thing of all is that they actually have contact information and REAL PEOPLE who take the time to read my e-mails and respond appropriately. If I get to the point of sending more than 2000 e-mails a month, I will not begrudge them whatever I have to pay to do so. My perfume customers will be getting a nice html newsletter shortly. Any company that provides genuine customer service is worth supporting.
The level of transparency and superb service that I’ve received from Mail Chimp is almost unheard of in an era when every internet company, like the Wizard of Oz, remains mysterious, anonymous, and fiercely protected behind a fortress of smoke and mirrors, assuming that the unaffiliated geeks on the various forums will be dazzled by the company’s perceived size, wealth, and power. These companies seem to assume that an army of eager geeks will scramble to provide support services that the company itself should provide, essentially functioning as unpaid employees.
If Google, Blogger, or Gmail had a contact e-mail, or even a “contact us” window I would send them a copy of my rant, but alas, they have none. Who would read it anyway? Is the management of Google as pathetic as the con artist behind the Wizard's facade?
As I wait to resolve the Google empire problems, I will enthusiastically recommend Mail Chimp to anyone who needs to do group e-mailings.
[frustration and chimp images adapted from Wikimedia. Wizard of Oz-theme images adapted from a general internet search facilitated by one branch of the very company I'm complaining about]