Here’s a hearty whatever for Google

I'm sitting here watching Googlebot 239 hit the site again — and again hang up on the same page over and over again.  I check my e-mail while I'm watching and get a message from Google that says this:

"Thank you for your reply. We've reduced the load on your servers. We apologize for any inconvenience, and we appreciate your patience. If we can assist you further, please let us know."

I don't know if I should laugh or cry.  I'm sitting right here watching Googlebot 239 bang away at the site like it's been doing for the last five days.

Are these people blind?  I mean, really, what the fuck is wrong with Google?  They don't have the ability to see what their bots are doing?

It's just very difficult for me to understand how a company that claims to be so technologically advanced can be so stupid, so blind, so clueless, so out of touch, and, more importantly, so unresponsive.

I responded with a snippet from the log file showing them 239 was still on the site and still hitting the same page over and over again — and it's hung mostly on a page that hasn't changed in two years.

Google decided to change tactics

The saga continues…

Now a different Googlebot has hit the site ( = [ ]) in addition to Googlebot 239 (the original and continuing attacker).  Apparently Googlebot 239 wasn't good enough, so they send in Googlebot 40 to add to the pain.

I don't know what Google's problem is, but I have a few ideas.

(1) A complete disregard for problems they create.

(2) A lack of interest in responding to users in a timely manner.

(3) A belief that the problem is always with the user.

(4) A lack of any sense of urgency when dealing with problems they create.

(5) A corporate mentality that any cost to someone else is not their problem, even if they're generating the cost.

(6) The belief that, if you ignore the problem long enough, it will go away.

(7) The sense that their IPO was so successful that they're above reproach.

Shall I go on?

Well, Googlebot 40 and Googlebot 239 are, so why shouldn't I?

(8) A disinterest in customer service (or an interest in customer disservice).

(9) Projecting the problem onto the user is the best approach to problem management.

(10) The ten tenets of Google's business culture don't actually apply to Google, but they do apply to everyone else.

More than three days into this fiasco watching Googlebot 239 do whatever it is it's doing on my site leaves me to ponder whether anyone within Google actually cares, anyone who can make things happen, anyone who will actually listen and respond to problems like this.

Do you think they'll offer to pay me back for the bandwidth they took from me and that I will now have to pay for — above and beyond what I already pay for since they pushed me way over the edge?  Do you think Google will try to determine what's wrong with their bot and fix it?  Do you think Google will ever really be customer-service oriented instead of ignoring problems and people for days at a time in the hopes they'll just go away?

Your guess is as good as mine.

By the way, Googlebot 40 disappeared, but Googlebot 239 is still goin' strong.

Google’s continuing customer disservice

I figure I might as well keep updating the site with information regarding Google's continuing theft of my bandwidth and apparent lack of interest in customer service.

Two hours after I spoke with someone at the corporate office, Googlebot continued hammering the site and stealing my bandwidth.

As I was monitoring it and getting ready to call back, I get an e-mail response to the several e-mails I sent over the last three days that starts with this: "Thank you for your note. We are sorry you have had trouble contacting us."

If you've been in the technology industry at all or have spoken to a customer service rep with any company, you'll know that's called projection — make it sound like the customer has a problem rather than the company that's failing to perform or react in a timely manner.

Excuse me?  I had what problem?  Oh, the problem with you people not responding is somehow my fault?

I don't think so.  I've not had any problems contacting people at Google.  I've had problems getting Google to fulfill its first tenet as noted on its site here: "focus on the user and all else will follow."

I'm the fucking user!

The e-mail goes on to say, "We've made some changes recently that should have reduced the load on your servers."

These people don't know the difference between decrease and increase.

So I respond back to the e-mail with the log files that show Google's activity on my site for February — a log file that shows it hit the site nearly 68,000 times in the last five days and continues to hit the site even now.

I wait and watch, hoping to see it drop off of the server.  Then it does.

I was ecstatic.  Sadly, that joy would soon turn to sorry and deepening anger.

Within only a few minutes, the same Googlebot showed up again and, again, began indexing the same pages over and over and over again.

I promptly sent another e-mail pointing that out, then waited and watched.

After some amount of time (by then I was losing track), I called them back and got some other executive assistant on the phone.

No, of course I can't let you speak to anyone.  Sorry, that's not going to happen.  Just e-mail me the info and I'll take care of it.

Sounds familiar, huh?  Well, you can't get around a well-trained executive assistant, so I sent the info again.

I don't expect anything different to happen at this point, but it never hurts to hope.  If nothing else I might get a cease and desist letter for these posts!

By the way, Googlebot is still on the site right now.

Why Google is a bad netizen

Google ( [ ]) has been slamming my site for the last five days.  I reported this to them via e-mail on Sunday (2/20) using an e-mail address they provided on their web site.  I got an immediate response saying they wouldn't respond to any e-mail sent to that address and that I needed to use a web-based form on their site.

So I went to the site and tried to submit the information, but at least one version of the form doesn't work.  I sent another e-mail to several different addresses hoping to get someone's attention and to let them know their form didn't work and the site still said to send an e-mail.

Over the course of the next few days (still happening today, by the way), I've repeatedly submitted the info via their site and sent them e-mails asking them to fix the problem.

Google has now consumed all of my server's monthly bandwidth (more than 5 times my normal usage) and is still running strong — reading the same pages over and over and over again (the logs clearly indicate it's hitting the same few pages repeatedly).  This is now day five of this fiasco — three days since I started contacting them — and I have yet to hear anything from them or to have the problem resolved.

I finally decided to call their corporate office.  That's not much better.  There's no receptionist, there's no live support people, and the only way to get someone on the phone is if you know their name or extension or want to talk to someone in sales.  I used their site to locate an executive and dialed in his name.  He wasn't available (anyone surprised?), but I was able to get his assistant on the phone.

Finally a real person who listened and offered to help.

She asked that I send her the information I'd been submitting and she would try to get it to the right person.

We'll see how that goes.  In the meantime, Google has consumed (in five days) more than 2 GB of bandwidth and continues to slurp it down as of this moment.  The bot has read pages from my site 68,772 times already in this month alone — most of which have happened in the last five days.

If Google is such a cool company, why in the hell don't they respond to problem reports?  Why don't they care when they're costing me money?  Why don't they try to solve the issue that was reported three days ago and every day since?

Sorry, but that's just bad business and bad netizenship.  Stop stealing my bandwidth (which is what they're doing) and play nicely with the other kids in the sandbox.  Failing that, close down your business and get lost.

Happy birthday, Derek

Although the time that has passed since Derek's death in September of last year has helped with the sorrow and anger, it has not entirely diminished the emotional impact of his passing.  Today is a perfect example.

Today Derek would be 38.  It's his birthday.

Last year at this time Jenny and I were celebrating his birthday at the hospital.  His condition was quite serious but had started improving — something that was happening constantly (his health, at that point, was a constant roller coaster ride of improvements followed by declines followed by improvements followed by declines; the declines always outmaneuvered the improvements, so it literally was one step forward and two steps back).

As was normally the case, it was looking very promising that Derek would get out of the hospital at this time last year.  That actually happened only two months later on April 30, but it wouldn't last long as his health would fail again and he would be back in the hospital by June.  That was the last time he was out of the hospital as he had begun the final stages of the disease and was starting the decline that would lead to his death on September 7, 2004.

I woke this morning with mixed emotions about the day.  Having celebrated it with him for the last eight years, I'm left with a somewhat empty feeling today, that something is amiss, that something is left undone.

I need him to be here so I can wish him a happy birthday.  I need him to be here so I can once again try to make him feel better.  I need him here so it can be a good day for him.  I need him here so I can tell him how so very much that I miss him.  I need him here so I can know that life isn't a horrible, selfish, evil thing that steals away loved ones and causes much pain and anger and sorrow.

I miss my friend.

I've cried already this morning, something I've not done in many weeks with regards to Derek.  I cried while writing this post.  I will undoubtedly cry again before this day ends.

As I said, he would have been 38.  He was too young to lose the fight, too young to spend so much of his last two years trying to survive a disease that was ravaging his body and eventually his mind.  He was too young to die, too young to sacrifice so much, just too young.

Happy birthday, Derek.  I still miss you.