Friday, 1 March 2013

Are Google, Twitter and Facebook Too Big to Care About Their Users??

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'll know that I have had issues with the customer service (or lack of it) provided by Google and Twitter.  A year ago, I wrote about the enigma that is Google and the major problems that a friend of mine had inadvertently got himself into by trying to advertise an internet marketing course.

More recently, I've written about the suspension of my account from Twitter and the infuriating business of trying to abide by rules that are vague to say the least, and not being able to contact Twitter for clarification.  I said, at that time, that I was going to write to Twitter by snail mail and some people said they'd be interested to hear what happened.

What happened was both expected and unexpected.  The expected part was that I didn't receive a reply to my letter.  The unexpected was that, just about the time they would have received my letter, my account was suspended again.  Coincidence?  Who knows.  After the usual palaver of appealing, I got it back again.

Shortly before that, a friend of mine, who had never used Twitter before, had opened an account.  Having heard my story of suspension for so-called aggressive following, he was surprised to receive an email from Twitter,  saying "Take 2 minutes to make Twitter work better for you.  We have one suggestion: follow more people.  Yes, more."  There was no indication of how many more Twitter wanted him to follow but  he chose to confine his following to a very modest 60 or so every other day.  (You will remember that Twitter rules say "if you don’t follow or un-follow hundreds of users in a single day, and you aren’t using automated methods of following users, you should be fine.")

After a bit, and remembering the Twitter email, he decided to increase it to 60 every day - still well under the stipulated 'hundreds'.  So he was somewhat annoyed when his account was suspended.  He sent an appeal . . . and heard nothing.  He waited a week, then sent another appeal.  Eventually he got a reply, about two weeks after the original suspension, which said  "Twitter has automated systems that find and remove multiple automated spam accounts in bulk.  Unfortunately, it looks like your account got caught up in one of these spam groups by mistake."  There was an apology for 'the inconvenience' but not for the delay in dealing with it, and the account was restored.

The question remains - why was this innocent little account with its six hundred or so followers and its one or two tweets a day mistaken for a spam account? And why did Twitter take so long to sort it out?  Is this one more aspect of its administration that Twitter needs to improve?  Probably . . . but I suspect the likelihood of it happening is miniscule.

You'll have noticed that I mention Facebook, too, in the heading of this post.  Recently I published a book - Say Goodbye to Sleepless Nights - on Kindle and ran a special promotion on it for five days.  I decided to run an ad on Facebook for just those five days.  I set up the ad and received an email that it had been approved.  It ran for two days.  Then I received an email that it had not been approved.  The reason, it seemed, was that there was more than the permitted 20 per cent of text on the illustration.  Since the illustration was of the book cover, with title and my name, I thought this was absurd and was pleased to see that there was a link to a page where one could appeal.  I clicked the link . . . and was brought to a blank page.  I went to the Facebook help section but could find no way of contacting Facebook to make my appeal.

So that was that, until I received my invoice for the two days.  And then I found that there was an email link for problems regarding payment.  So I used that to contact the helpdesk.  I received a charming email from a very pleasant-seeming lass who understood my appeal and said that she had now approved my ad but that it would remain inactive until I reactivated it.  If I wanted to run a different ad with the same image in the future, she said, I could contact her if there was any trouble.

As you can imagine, at this point I was thinking very kindly of Facebook.  Obviously the link to the blank page was just a gremlin in the works.  Everything seemed to have worked out well.  Until I received a second invoice for another two days.  I went to my Facebook ad page and found that  despite the assurance that the ad  would remain inactive until I chose to change it, it had been activated.  I immediately deleted it, so as to avoid this happening again . . . and wrote to the charming lass to complain.  What really annoys me is that the ad was for a special promotion which was not running in those last two days.  So it was money wasted and probably annoyed some people who clicked it and found that, while it led them to the book, it was now full price.

Anyway, I have learned a further lesson . . . that when a Facebook campaign is over, it needs to be deleted, not just made inactive.  That way, these sort of accidents can't occur.


  1. I'm not sure why I shouldn't agree with you. I enjoyed reading your blog though. It very quite informative for me. Thanks for writing it.

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  2. By the way none of these three are user-friendly either.

    There is a constant rush on the part of the large social
    networking sights to add new features.

    But at the same time there is TOTALLY INADEQUATE INSTRUCTION
    about how to use these new features.

    There is a tremendous opening for any Internet marketer to
    add HOW-TO videos to YouTube just explaining all the features
    of Twitter for instance.

    Facebook is notoriously un user-friendly.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Robert. I agree with you entirely!