Open Letter to google plus: Failboat

Posted by 3ricj on 21 July 2011

Update: I've been revising this blog entry with additional information; they have blocked me two additional times and it looks like they just might delete me outright tomorrow, Oct 25th. See below for details

While I have a love/hate relationships with social networks, I do tend to try and keep up to date in that world by using whatever myspace clone is all of the rage. This year it turned out to be called google plus.

All social networks all have this concept of identity and trust to manage. Reputation, trust and security are important to users; if they get spammed or hacked, they will leave. At the same time, you can't truly authenticate a user without showing up at their house to look at their photo ID. Combine that with XSS, sql injection and homograph identity spoofing - - and you've got a "tricky to meet" set of requirements. These are hard problems. At the same time, they are hard problems they decided they wanted to solve. Sadly, my name falls into this strange edge case of "looking funny" while also being my legal name: A judge signed my name change. That's a bit stronger of a ruling than any community guidelines posted on a dot com.

So I've been working with google over the past 2 weeks regarding my google plus account. Moments after I signed up (using my legal name of 3ric Johanson), I was informed that my account was suspended for violation of community standards.

The really good news is that google has an appeal process - provide more information to them, and "We try to complete reviews within one business day." This is the first social network which seemly provides a clear path for managing this problem. Go google, maybe that's how you earned your plus. There's an amusing back story in here how my name is hard coded into the core facebook application, but I'll leave that story for another day.

I have sent all of the information google has requested 3 times now. I had a kind director at google also inform them it's really my name. At this point they have not responded to a single message in a week. While I understand they may not agree with the judge who signed my name change, it is in fact my legal name. For anyone with root@google, feel free to see the thread on ticket number 83274326.

My hope was that google would provide a level of professionalism which includes responding to their own defined appeal process. Sadly, they have left me disappointed. While I could try phishing around for more contacts at google, my interest in further supporting their project has sadly diminished. Dearest google, if you'd like me to play in your sandbox, you'll have to come to me. Finally, if you are really unsure of my name, please just google me.

Regards,
-3ric Johanson


Update: July 21st, 2011

 
Hi 3ric,
Thank you for contacting us with regard to the name you want to use with
your Google Profile. After further review, we have determined that your
name is within our Community Standards policy. Thank you for your patience
while we reviewed your profile name.

Update: Oct 18th, 2011

Hello,

After reviewing your profile, it appears that the name you entered does not comply 
with the Google+ Names Policy. Please log in to Google+ and visit your profile to 
learn more and take action.

The Names Policy requires that you use the name you are commonly referred to in real 
life in your profile. Nicknames, previous names, and so on should be entered in the 
Other Names section of the profile. Profiles are currently limited to individuals; 
we will be launching profiles for businesses and other entities later this year.

If you do not edit your name to comply with our Names policy or appeal with 
additional information within four days of receiving this message, your profile will 
be suspended. While suspended, you will not be able to make full use of Google 
services that require an active profile, such as Google+, Buzz, Reader and Picasa. 
This will not prevent you from using other Google services, like Gmail.

The Google+ team.

Update: Oct 18th, 2011

 * Sent google a link to this blog entry. 

Update: Oct 18th, 2011

Re: [#892287923] Google Profile Name Review
Hi 3ric,

Thank you for contacting us with regard to the name you want to use with
your Google Profile. After further review, we have determined that your
name complies with our Community Standards. Thank you for your patience
while we reviewed your profile name.

Sincerely,
Duyen
The Google Profiles Support Team

Update: Oct 21st, 2011

Hello,

After reviewing your profile, it appears that the name you entered does not comply 
with the Google+ Names Policy. Please log in to Google+ and visit your profile to 
learn more and take action.

The Names Policy requires that you use the name you are commonly referred to in 
real life in your profile. Nicknames, previous names, and so on should be entered
in the Other Names section of the profile. Profiles are currently limited to 
individuals; we will be launching profiles for businesses and other entities later
this year.

If you do not edit your name to comply with our Names policy or appeal with 
additional information within four days of receiving this message, your profile 
will be suspended. While suspended, you will not be able to make full use of Google 
services that require an active profile, such as Google+, Buzz, Reader and Picasa. 
This will not prevent you from using other Google services, like Gmail.

The Google+ team.

Update: Oct 22nd, 2011
Discovered my google page says the below text, but has some issue where it won't let me submit an appeal (reports "error saving profile")


Update: Oct 22nd, 2011

Re: [#892287923] Google Profile Name Review
Hi there,

4 days ago I received this email.   Yesterday I received notice that I'm suspended 
again.

Any idea what's going on this time?   This makes the 3rd time you've blocked me for 
my legal name. 

Thanks,
-3ric

Update: Oct 24st, 2011

 
 * zero response from google support department.
 * Sent google a link to this blog entry via the "submit additional information" process, again. 
 * backed up all of my data from google.  
Posted in: The Lab  

5 Responses

  1. 3ricj Said,

    9 hours after I posted this entry, I received the following note:

    "
    Hi 3ric,
    Thank you for contacting us with regard to the name you want to use with
    your Google Profile. After further review, we have determined that your
    name is within our Community Standards policy. Thank you for your patience
    while we reviewed your profile name.
    "

    Funny enough, this message omitted a signature.. but whoever you are, thank you.

    -3ric

    Posted on July 21st, 2011 at 11:38 am

  2. Curio Said,

    Sounds like you complained loud enough.

    Posted on July 23rd, 2011 at 10:04 pm

  3. Darth Google. We should have known. at Feminist SF – The Blog! Said,

    [...] any kind of useful appeal process – if they bring the banhammer down, your best hope is to be able to complain loudly and publicly in a way that might bring your problem to the attention of a Google employee with enough seniority [...]

    Posted on August 4th, 2011 at 11:13 am

  4. Nathan Herring Said,

    I've been poking about internally about what to do about these things. Did they say anything about what to do in the case you get multiple suspension notices? (i.e., some later process causes you to be re-suspended for some reason)

    Sorry you're having to deal with this.

    Posted on October 24th, 2011 at 11:48 pm

  5. 3ricj Said,

    Sadly. . All off the info i have is below. ..

    Posted on October 25th, 2011 at 8:08 am

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