Why I'm ditching Gmail

I use a lot of google's services - gmail for a nice generic address, analytics for my website, google bookmarks to keep my stuff organized. I hadn't had any problems - until today.

About 5:45 eastern time my email kicks up an error asking me to reenter my password. Now I've had a little bit of flakiness before with this. Re-enter the password and away you go. Generally I figured it was because I run two computers - my mac laptop and my windows desktop, sometimes at the same time and they sometimes stomp on each other. At least that's what I assumed was the issue. I didn't think much of it - it worked. And there had been an increase in "bounce backs" to my gmail account - but anyone with half a brain could look at the headers and see the mail just had my address in the "from" and didn't come from google in any way. And the google spam filters seem to be getting worse...

So I try to log in a few times and I can't get in. First rule of can't log in (when you know the password is right) - you change your password. So I set that in motion, get a mail to my "main" mail account (on a server I control) to do the reset...and get a "your account is locked" message.

So I jump through a few more hoops and find a place to report a problem. And get a form letter back

Hello,

Thank you for your report.

You're receiving this auto-reply message because you indicated that your Gmail
account has been disabled.

Please note that when we detect unusual usage of your account, we may
temporarily disable access to the account as we investigate. Please wait 24
hours and re-try to login to your account.

If you're using POP or IMAP to log into your Gmail account and receive a 'Sorry,
your account has been disabled' message, please try logging in through the web
interface at https://mail.google.com. When we detect unusual usage of your
account, Gmail sometimes requires users to respond to a 'captcha
<https ://www.google.com/accounts/DisplayUnlockCaptcha>,' consisting of a set of
distorted letters, to log in to their account.

If you receive a 'Sorry, your account has been disabled' message when visiting
https://mail.google.com and believe that your account has been disabled in
error, please reply to this message so we can investigate your situation and
assist you in regaining access to your account if appropriate.

In most cases, Gmail accounts are disabled because of a perceived violation of
Gmail Terms of Use <http ://mail.google.com/mail/help/terms_of_use.html>. Google
reserves the right to suspend a Gmail account or the entire Google Account if
Gmail Terms of Use are violated. If you know your account has violated our Terms
of Service agreement, do not reply to this message, as our team is unable to
assist further.

Additionally, if you already have an open correspondence with a Gmail support
agent, please reply to the last message, as that agent will be better able to
aid you.

For other issues not listed here, please visit the Gmail Help Center at
http://mail.google.com/support. Also, if this issue has since been resolved,
please discard this message.

Sincerely,

The Google Team

"It may be locked for up to 24 hours" - what? So if someone has hijacked my account I can't change my password? I have to wait around for 24 hours guessing when things WILL be unlocked and HOPE I'm the first one in and that the secondary email address hasn't changed? And here is the big failure with single sign on. Not only can I not get to my gmail, I can't access my bookmarks or the analytics on my site.

I replied to the mail - an hour later still nothing.

So, forget this, I'm ditching gmail. Even hotmail never gave me this kind of trouble. - If you need to contact me, do not use [email protected] - if you had sent me something there and never get a reply, send it to my php.net email address and it'll find me in the right place.

I guess maybe I'll have to give yahoo a try...

Comments

Ben Mason

I had the same problem - and I dropped them like a hot potato. Over-reacting? Maybe... but they need to learn that's no good, so It's the best thing I can do. I've been pretty happy with yahoo, for what it's worth.

2008-03-16 3:07 pm

Rob Young

Wow! This is quite a worry. It's only now that I hear of it going wrong that I realize how bad it would be if I got locked out.

2008-03-16 3:09 pm

Edward Z. Yang

I'm sure you've considered this already, but why not use your webhost's email?

2008-03-16 3:22 pm

auroraeosrose

I do :) My gmail account is just my secondary one, so I didn't have a lot of important stuff in it (or you'd see me screaming a bit more instead of just being annoyed) - in fact my primary account is on my server so if there's an issue it can be immediately resolved - but it's still not good form to disable like that with no warning and no reason given

2008-03-16 4:07 pm

Bob

Ben Mason Says: "I had the same problem - and I dropped them like a hot potato. Over-reacting? Maybe… but they need to learn that’s no good, so It’s the best thing I can do."

Dropping a free service to teach them a lesson. Consumer power! LOL. Whole thing sounds to me like their latest idea for spam prevention has bugs. No problems yet with Google Tools on my domains. Not sure the last day I got a spam email was. Once a week I go through the Google web interface to look at the automated spam collector and empty it, and it gets over 2000 messages in that time. Seems to be working.

2008-03-16 4:17 pm

Brian D.

If you use Thunderbird (IMAP) to access Gmail there's no way they can block you from reading existing messages. I'm definitely not crazy about having to sign in to access anything... having them downloaded locally (via POP to back them up) makes me much less nervous.

2008-03-16 4:27 pm

auroraeosrose

Uh - Brian I hope you meant POP - I was using IMAP but you can't read a thing if you can't log into the server ;)

Bob - a free service yes but they grow by hearing "good experiences" - every bad one on the list who tells their friends "use a different provider" isn't a good thing

Also google tools for domains are a different kettle of fish from their gmail service - they have a little more incentive not to block them off with no warning

2008-03-16 4:36 pm

Larry Garfield

Yahoo is no better in this regard. I got fed up with them after they locked my account and refused to unlock it a while back:

http://www.garfieldtech.com/blog/central-point-of-failure-yahoo-in-a-nutshell

Pretty much any company that gets larger than a given threshhold stops caring about its users, because there is enough of them that they're expendable. It costs less to get new ones than to treat the ones you have properly.

I now run my own mail server. :-)

2008-03-16 8:58 pm

austin_web_developer

@ posting #7 ...
To have Thunderbird store copies of your email locally you have to go to the specific email account's settings then click on
"Offline & Disk Space"

Then check
"Make the messages in my Inbox available when I am working offline"
"When I create new folders, select them for offline use"

2008-03-16 9:33 pm

Rob...

Losing access to email is a real pain, which is why I use an independant supplier and more importantly, my own domain name. If I get service problems, I can change MX records and just carry on.

Regards,

Rob...

2008-03-17 12:59 am

Sean Smith

Hi.

I love my gmail as much as the next person but it is definitely not 'free'. In exchange for e-mail, you are selling them your attention (advertising).

2008-03-17 3:58 am

Luke Welling

You should ask Daniel what he thinks of Yahoo mail customer support.

http://blog.wioota.com/2006/10/26/what-are-yahoo-account-services-and-yahoo-customer-care-on/

2008-03-17 5:45 am

Joshua Eichorn

Thats what you get for trying to leave bluga.net. When there is an email problem there you can call me :-P

2008-03-17 8:20 pm

auroraeosrose

*pokes Josh* It was my backup mail - I like to have one in case bluga has issues ;) I always have a secondary system. Computers are far too flakey to NOT have a fallback.

2008-03-20 4:45 am

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