My Weekend with Google: Beware of Free

By Robert Mark on August 15th, 2011

Few folks I know in the aviation industry doubt the value of social media for making the industry more … well, social. Mike Miley and Rod Rakic at have developed an entire Facebook-like enterprise around the entire concept of making our industry more social, in fact. It’s something we sorely need by the way.

google jetwhine What makes the process so easy is that most of the tools to engage with other airplane geeks are free and relatively easy to use.

Our show, The Airplane Geeks in fact, uses SKYPE as the primary method of bringing all the hosts together at one time, no small feat when they live on three different continents. Despite free, we all know problems pop up, like this weekend’s major SKYPE cough just as we were recording the show. We’ve learned to brush it off though since 99% of the time everything works just fine.

Google, of course, is the 800 pound gorilla on the net these days and offers a host of free services that make airplane-geeking even easier. But beware of that free price tag. You certainly get what you pay for, a concept brought home to me this weekend when I apparently enraged the monster in Mountain View.

It started with a Jetwhine Tweet hoping Google would squelch what seems to have become a monthly affair … changing it’s free apps to better serve me.

Good Grief Google! Can you PLEASE stop giving my Gmail and apps a new look and feel every month. You’re making us crazy … OK, crazier.

Next thing I knew, my Google-owned YouTube account was destroyed. No warning of any kind, just a big whack of the Google chopping knife reserved for bad guys, of which I’d apparently become one.

All totaled, I must have had four or five videos on my YouTube account, two of which I shot, and three others linked from CNN and Fox TV News interviews I’d been part of.

As a writer, I’m keenly aware of the copyright laws and took the time to coordinate with both CNN and Fox about whether I could indeed use their videos to promote myself. Both replied in writing that they were fine with the idea.

Saturday morning though when I opened my YouTube to post a video I learned it had been deleted. No warning of impending doom before the execution, just total destruction. Luckily I had backup copies of the posts.

Of course, I fired off a quick note to Google asking, as my pal and expatriate Airplane Geek Courtney Miller used to say, “WTF?”

Google quickly replied …

Hi there,

Thank you for your email.

The email address that you have provided does not match the email address of the account in question. In order for us to review your issue, you must be the owner of the account. (Of course it doesn’t work you idiots. You deleted the darned thing. Ed.)

Please keep in mind that if you don’t have access to your email account and have lost your username and/or password, we’re unable to help you.

If you’re unable to write us from the email address associated with the YouTube account, we can’t release any information about the account to you.


The YouTube Team

Just like that, you’re entire social media presence could indeed be wiped out when you depend upon free. No appeal. No chance to say, “Hey guys. I think you made a mistake.” Just gone, disintegrated.

So watch yourself when you’re trying to make aviation more social with Google as your partner. I saw “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” this weekend and trust me … you don’t want to screw with the gorilla.

As if to toss a little salt in the wound, the nice folks at Google sent me another e-mail this morning.

Dear YouTube User,

Thank you for contacting us about your query.

We are eager to hear about your YouTube experience. Please take a minute to answer this short survey about your satisfaction with YouTube support. We value your thoughts.

The YouTube Support Team

Guess I’d better not write back what I’m really thinking or my Google Docs might well be toast as well.

Rob Mark, Publisher


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2 Responses to “My Weekend with Google: Beware of Free”

  1. Jeff Ward Says:

    Hah! I had a similar experience with Twitter. Created a new account, and mis-typed my email address. (No “enter it twice” cross-check in this case)
    Well, of course I can’t delete the Twitter account, because I can’t access the email account (’cause it doesn’t exist!) Doh!

  2. Bill P Says:

    I read an article about this type of thing associated with a Google Plus account.
    They were nuking the accounts (and associated google accounts) of people who Google perceived as not using their “real name.” Like your experience, there was no warning or chance to prove your point before taking unilateral action.

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