Google Gets Back to Nick

Nick Saber just forwarded Google’s eventual response to what went wrong. Because thousands of people wanted to know the answer to the question why, here’s the first part of that letter:

Hello Nick,

I understand that you may have questions about the recent actions taken on your Google Account. We understand and respect your concerns about your account.

Our specialists performed a thorough investigation of your account ID: nick.saber@gmail.com. It appeared that your account was compromised on 08/01, and an unauthorized charge of $490.30 was attempted in your Google Checkout Account. For security purposes, we suspended this account to prevent additional activity and charges.

We’d also like to assure you that the security and confidentiality of your personal information, including your credit card number, is our highest priority. Your information is securely stored on our servers, and won’t be shared with anyone except under the very limited circumstances described
in our Privacy Policy at http://checkout.google.com/files/buyerprivacy.html. To learn more about
the security of your account and personal information, please visit http://checkout.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=29075.

We also understand your concerns regarding your account security. It is difficult to determine the exact nature of your account compromise. Please see below for useful information on safeguarding yourself online.

The rest of the letter reminds us not to fall into phishing scams, etc. Good advice.

But wow. Couldn’t this have started with an email saying, “Looks like someone was messing with your account. We shut it down to investigate.” Seems a little backwards to make Nick sweat for a day and change, only to reveal that someone tried to rip him off, and THAT’S why they shut him down.

Special note: Matt Cutts came by with lots of information once this story broke, and I’m grateful for that. Note to ALL companies: if you don’t have a respected face person like Matt out there, think about it. It does help.

What’s your take? How would you have handled it, if you were Google?

Lastly, I’m going to talk about this a bit more in my next newsletter, so if you’re not already subscribed, hop in!

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  • http://www.actualmetrics.com Robert

    Exactly, free service/software means less/no support.

  • Anonymous

    This has happened to me EXACTLY the same. Google checkout compromised, my Gmail account instantly closed. I thought that the hacker had compromised both the checkout and Gmail accounts, until I found out how to contact google checkout about this…that in itself is laborious to say the least. So, I am currently waiting for my Gmail to be activated, my Banks Fraud team to investigate as to why this happened from Checkout…and finally..once its sorted..they can stick their Checkout where the sun dont shine!!

  • Anonymous

    This has happened to me EXACTLY the same. Google checkout compromised, my Gmail account instantly closed. I thought that the hacker had compromised both the checkout and Gmail accounts, until I found out how to contact google checkout about this…that in itself is laborious to say the least. So, I am currently waiting for my Gmail to be activated, my Banks Fraud team to investigate as to why this happened from Checkout…and finally..once its sorted..they can stick their Checkout where the sun dont shine!!

  • Chris K

    This has happened to me EXACTLY the same. Google checkout compromised, my Gmail account instantly closed. I thought that the hacker had compromised both the checkout and Gmail accounts, until I found out how to contact google checkout about this…that in itself is laborious to say the least. So, I am currently waiting for my Gmail to be activated, my Banks Fraud team to investigate as to why this happened from Checkout…and finally..once its sorted..they can stick their Checkout where the sun dont shine!!

  • ampers

    As far as I can comment, Google is a Corporate. Once a business starts, and then starts to do very well, it grows, and grows, and grows. Then it becomes a “Corporate” Once that happens, customer service declines as it is no longer economical to service a single customer with a complaint. So he leaves and complains to a hundred people, so what, with millions, the company can shrug its shoulders and sign up the next million.

    The only way you can get satisfaction with a “corporate” is to complain, write two or three letters, send a couple of faxes, and make a few phone calls – and all the time logging in everything you do and say – and always be polite.

    Then write this up in a letter to a newspaper, radio or television station – you see the necessity of going through the long route? It makes for a better story and the newspaper/station is much more likely to take ut up, especially if you have kept a diary.

    When you contact the newspaper/station, use a little humour in your letter. This can indicate you are a reasonable person and will make good copy.

    Ampers

  • Anonymous-please

    Yeah Right!

    Once you, and your company have been shown up as lacking in any duty of care to a valued customer you then state “in this case I wish we had done more to contact Nick proactively. There are people at Google who are thinking about how to improve this type of situation in the future”.

    What about all the other people you have failed to engage with or respond to who DON'T have the media clout of Doug and Werwer?

    Does anyone else see Matt Cutts posts and responses as manipulative?

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  • http://www.savetubevideo.com youtube downloader

    It is not about why and what…exclusively. “Where” is an appropriate question. Where is it headed and what will the average non-technical person (most of us) do in such an age?

  • Guest

    The truth is that bad press caused Google to act. Had Joe Schmoe not known anyone with a popular blog they’d be toast. So go ahead and put all your life on Google cloud, if you are moron.

  • Anonymous

    Good-bye Google, been nice knowin’ ya.

  • Caffenee101

    i’ve just had the same thing happen to me & I’m not sure what to do…

  • Ssiddiqi1

    Same thing happen to me this morning. I had a google account which I used for my community free website to manage Google plus and facebook pages.  I provide services for which many business charge over $200. I did not login to my Gmail account since two days. though I noticed at my website g+ liked numbers all of a sudden declined to 13 and in the footer Google plus link to Google plus pages disappear.  I thought mabe my WordPress is messed up and I would look into it once I get time.  This morning I tried to login to my Gmail account, and got a message this account had been disabled.  I have no idea what maybe a reason. I used this account mainly for 4 purposes (1) post ads at free classified websites, (2) manage my Google pages (3) manage Fcebook pages and Twitter account.  (4) submitting my web site to various search engines.  I hardly sent emails from this account, although a lot of junk email was received in this account everyday.  I guess url submission to various search engines, and SEO sites, plus ads submission to free classified sites generated unwanted junk emails.
    Beside that, I also used this account for managing my Google Adwords account.  As this account was a passive account, I am not sure how  TOS would I have violated intentionally or un-intentionally. 
    I had written to Gooogle by now no answer.  You are right Gooogle is a corporate whose behavior now had reached to bullshit stage.  I have another personal acccount with Gooogle which is attached to my Android.  After this incidence I am seriously thinking to ditch Google and get over with their bullshit.  That is trash the Android and move to iPhone.  I would not like this bullshit happen to my other personal account where I receive over 100 important messaages everyday.
    A normal behavior require that Google should at least sent a warning message that the acccount would be disabled due to some issue.
    I have an account with Yahoo since 12 yars, and twice there were some issue because someone forged my email address to send spam.  People may have complaint to Yahoo assumming I was a spammr.  As expected, Yahoo sent me an email asking for clarification, instead of disabling the account.  After my response, Yahoo wrote me back a sorry note for misunderstanding and the case was over.

  • CyncialOne

    But Matt Cutts isn’t a respected face person. He’s a pro liar of Dick Cheney Caliber.