Google’s Antisocial Behavior

Dear Google,

It’s our two week ban-niversary and I bet you are wondering what to get me. Cake would be nice. Or some socks. Perhaps you could drop a short email to let me know you miss me.

It’s been 14 days since you suspended my access to Google Reader, Data Liberation, Google Profile, and various other services because the name I signed up to Google+ with didn’t sound right to you. How the time flies! You’ve always been slow to respond, it took 56 hours to respond to my appeal, but now you seem to have stopped replying all together.

When I first filed my appeal you told me that my name violated Google+’s Terms Of Services, which simply stated that I needed to “use the name that I commonly go by in daily life”, so I responded with newspaper articles (Village Voice, Wall Street Journal, etc) and statements from past employers that verified my daily name (or common law name) has been “Doctor Popular” for more than 12 years. Despite all this evidence, your support staff told me the only way to regain access to my accounts was to send in a copy of my government issued ID.

Vic Gundatro (Google’s Senior VP Social) isn’t using his “real” name and Natalie Villalobos (Google+ Community Manager) stated on this thread that “providing a government ID is an optional part of the Common Names process and our reviewer is incorrect when he says that he needs a government issued ID to confirm the name.” You guys could all get together and work this out over lunch sometime.

Two days after you told me I lost my appeal, I was notified via Twitter that my account was reactivated. I was so pleased to finally have access to Reader again, I couldn’t wait to see if “planking” was still a thing or not. Just as I was enjoying your company again, my account got re-suspended!

I quickly submitted another appeal, because I love Google Reader that much, but have yet to receive any response! At this point, I’d even take the old “It’s not you it’s me” line. Just give me a response.

Currently I’m still locked out of various Google Services because of a TOS that I didn’t actually break. I’ve sought help through email, on the Google Support forum, and even tried writing your community managers directly (through Twitter and email). The support on Google+ seems pretty awesome though… if only I could post on G+ that I can’t access my G+ account.

I’ve sought out help of other jilted lovers. I’ve held a couple of “Banned by Google” meetings in SF and have heard stories of people getting suspended, submitting their ID, and being told the name on their ID was not acceptable and their appeal was denied. Newly banned users are still being required to provide ID. Your support forum is filled with hundreds of folks using their birth names and unable to get their accounts reactivated. At this point, the first thing folks probably hear about Google+ is that if you sign up for it, you may permanently lose access to other Google Services.

By discriminating against users based on their names, Google has accidentally stumbled into the middle of a hot debate over the rights of users to their own identities on the internet. You’ve left a trail of broken hearts in your wake, but that’s not really what I’m writing about.

I’m writing as a long time user who has been suspended from various Google Services without breaking any Terms of Services. The Google “Support” team clearly have not been made aware of Google’s policies and have decided that not replying is the best way to handle users that have lost access to their Google Services.

And so today, after two weeks of being locked out of Google Reader, I’ve decided to give you some publicity: If you sign up for Google+ you risk losing access to your other Google Services.

Happy ban-niversary!








28 responses to “Google’s Antisocial Behavior

  1. Snacks Avatar

    And you thought you’d never have ANY problems with a KILLER-COOL name like Doctor Popular, now did you? Oh, and how wrong you were. Man, I wish my name was as cool as that! Doctor Popular. Wow. 

  2. J P Avatar

    Says the guy with the killer cool name “Snacks”.

  3. […] supposed to happen, as some Google staffers have said, but it happens to some people anyway).And it might just change its mind and force you to choose something else after approving a previous selecti….Google gets to decide what it considers your ‘real name’ to be, until or unless it decides you […]

  4. Rainyday Superstar Avatar

    I was also banned a second time and not one single word from Google about the so-called appeal.
    I have a brand new EVO which is now full of useless apps
    I have had most of my Picasa photos and all of my Buzz posts deleted by Google
    Can’t use any Google services except gmail and chat but I cant change my chat status or add a photo and I can change my email settings either
    At this point all I really want is my profile restored to the way it was before I accepted the invite to G+

  5. Peyote Short Avatar

    I just deleted my Google profile. I can’t get behind any service that arbitrarily asks people “show your papers”.

  6. moosiegirl Avatar

    Makes me glad I didn’t accept an invite yet. :-S

  7. Extensor Avatar

    Not a Googler but I wonder if my name Extensor Jones would bring up a red flag? Why any of u still want to use Googles services is a mystery.

  8. Ch23 Avatar

    So glad they only suspended my google+ account…
    Remember when google wasn’t evil? Yeah…good times…oh well, back to yahoo!

  9. Rarian Rakista Avatar

    Shameful bastards.  

  10. Jake von Slatt Avatar
    Jake von Slatt

    I just deleted my G+ account, Reader is too important to me to risk. Beta test terminated early due to risk to patient.

  11. Made in DNA Avatar

    I was banned in late July like yourself. The worst part about it: I was using my non de plume (like I am here) by which everyone has known me for over a decade. Moreover, my real name WAS (and still is) in the profile (at the bottom). I keep appealing, using my Amazon Author profile as proof. No one will listen. I keep getting canned responses. Frankly, I’m disappointed in Google. I really like (liked?) their services.

  12. Patrick Lake Avatar

    Holy crap.  Thanks Doc!  I posted this around.  This is a thing that could screw my means of making a living if it happened to me.  I can’t even say how crappy that is.

  13. Christopher Thomas Avatar

    I’ve made a protest website where you can vote whether it makes you
    happy or sad: http://antimatter-studios.?com/googleminus #nymwars.

    please visit, vote and spread the word to try to put pressure on google to change this policy.

  14. […] Google’s Antisocial Behavior, banned and then re-banned user Doc Pop details an unbelievable scenario, one that he and many […]

  15. Rainyday Superstar Avatar

    I removed g+ from my profile and instead of restoring my profile to the way it was before I joined, like said they would, they deleted it completely and there seems to be no way of fixing it. I even edited my name and still I have no profile. They even removed my posts and comments from groups and Buzz…And feed burner has no subscriptions or subscribers…They removed it from search too it’s as if I never was.

  16. […] whole Google+ saga keeps getting weirder and weirder. 3 weeks ago, somebody at Google made a mistake and suspended my […]

  17. ric Avatar

    I was looking for the +1 button…

  18. […] more. A poignant series of people still report experiencing a G+ comment cessation bug that also thatch them out of Gmail or causes problems with […]

  19. […] celebrated our 4 week banniversary! You can read my personal account of being banned by Google+ here. Updating… ← Tonight at the Aple Store in SF: Beeps And Smudges talk […]

  20. Nickolaos Fotopoulos Avatar
    Nickolaos Fotopoulos

    Did you ever get this notification:

    If so how did you end up with a suspended account?  It looks like it has a complete explanation of your option.

  21. DocPop Avatar

    Weird!!! I never got that message. I’ve changed my name to better comply with Google’s “real sounding” name policy, but it’s been stuck in review for almost two weeks. Pretty sure those folks have just completely blackholed me from being able to get replies or attempt to comply with their bullshit policies.

    Basically, I’m stuck in google limbo.

  22. […] past. (They have since added a minimize arrow but honestly I didn’t notice.) Then Google Plus attacked and digital harmed my friend Doctor Popular. Doc had not only his Google Plus account shut down, but all his other Google accounts shut down as […]

  23. arefin sultan Avatar

    Googel + is really increasing their popularity ..thanks for your nice post..know more about googel plus here

  24. sultanarefin Avatar


    It will be great to see Google have a way to enable
    business to take advantage of Google Plus. Also if they retain the DO FOLLOW on
    links it may also be beneficial for SEO purposes.

    nfl online

  25. ??????? Avatar

    its still lacking alot of things. im gonna wait for  a bit before joining

  26. ????? ??? Avatar

    google suspended my account 🙁

  27. […] because of Google’s obsession with real names and the way that they have cut people off from Google Reader, Gmail, and other Google services for violating the Google+ name […]

  28. Sam Wallart Avatar
    Sam Wallart

    I’ve read your article and fully understand your frustration and disappointment with Google. I have had a similar experience. Google has taken the attitude that it can and will govern both the user rights on whether or not they want want to be invisible or visible on the net and the roll of the Net Nanny. Google or any other company does not have the right to introduce such user policies. I think the real question is ” Is Google the new style world government” Telling it’s citizens what it can and can’t do? I for one am not a Nazi fan. So to hell with Google and it’s invasion to both my privacy and censorship. I have cancelled all google business services and the last stage is cancelling all private accounts. Doc you were lucky enough to submit your appeal. Now I believe that they have removed the link 🙂 A few to many complaints I assume.

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