December 25, 2012

Google’s War on Christmas Cards

Yesterday I tried to email my yearly Holiday Greeting Card and, as a result, Google locked me out of my gmail account for over 24 hours due to “Unusual Usage.”
Note to Google: Christmas is fairly unusual, it comes but once a year…
My Christmas Eve gift from Google was the message, “To keep our systems healthy, Google has temporarily disabled your account.”
Apparently Christmas Cards with a picture of my son cause a little “irregularity” in Google’s system while the USPS considers them healthy roughage and Facebook considers them an essential part of a balanced diet.
Google went on to say, “This primarily occurs when we detect unusually high levels of activity on your account.”
Clearly g[rinch]mail believes that sending 150 Holiday Greetings in targeted batches is an unusually high level of activity,  whereas the “Dr. Oz Diet Solutions” and “Dish Promotions” emails they deliver daily to my inbox are business as usual.
Yes, Google, the “do no evil” people, scrooged up my Christmas and of course, there is absolutely no way to contact anyone at gmail to get it reinstated. And that’s not because it’s a holiday, that’s because there’s never any way to contact anyone at gmail.
To spread my holiday cheer, I posted the card to Facebook, sent some through private Facebook messages, and even reverted to a legacy AOL account.
But I still didn't get my gmail messages for over a day. And while today is devoted to sugarplums and wassailing, had this been a business day and had those been business emails, I would not be experiencing such elfish good humor about it.
I’ve always treated my gmail account as my “serious” account, but this lump of coal from Google reminds us of the frailty of our communications pacts with free providers. While gmail is a "free gift" from Google, I count on it to work.  And while spam is a problem, I wasn't spamming and gmail couldn't tell that. My Christmas wish for next year: a more sensitive mail platform that let's me send greetings to as many friends as I like without "seasonally profiling" me.

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