I Hate Google

By | January 12, 2022

There are times (many times) I hate Google.

There. I said it. I hate Google. They are the 800-pound gorilla in the room, and they don’t mind stepping on people. People like me.

You can’t reason with the gorilla—you can’t even talk with the gorilla. The gorilla postures and grunts and expects you to figure out what it wants. If you don’t give the gorilla what it wants, you get stepped on. Period.

This has happened with me three separate times over the past year, and many times in years previous. This week is another example of the gorilla stomping on me, and it gets frustrating.

Frustration doesn’t matter, though. I have no recourse. None. It is is an 800-pound gorilla, after all.

The lifeblood of my business is e-mail. I’ve been publishing an e-mail newsletter for over 25 years. That is longer than Google has even been around. I correspond with people all day long, receiving questions and responding. Lots of e-mail. All. Day. Long. Over 25 years.

So, this week, I start getting bounces when I send messages to people using Gmail addresses. Here’s one from this morning:

johndoe1234@gmail.com
host gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com [142.251.4.27]
SMTP error from remote mail server after end of data:
550-5.7.1 [50.28.57.203 12] Our system has detected that this message is
550-5.7.1 likely unsolicited mail. To reduce the amount of spam sent to Gmail,
550-5.7.1 this message has been blocked. Please visit
550-5.7.1 https://support.google.com/mail/?p=UnsolicitedMessageError
550 5.7.1 for more information. s75si26335ybc.342 - gsmtp
Reporting-MTA: dns; s8.sharonparq.com

So, Google is blocking messages I send. In my daily routine of interacting with people, I send a good chunk of messages to people using Gmail. And now they never get through. So people think I am ignoring their messages because it appears, to them, that I’m not responding.

But I am. And Google is blocking my messages. With regular “block lists,” you can appeal to a real person and say “hey, I’m not a spammer,” and eventually you’ll be removed from the list.

Not so with Google. They are the 800-pound gorilla. They are grunting and posturing and you are expected to read their mind. And you get stepped on.

Oh, wait… There’s a presumably helpful URL in the bounce message:

https://support.google.com/mail/?p=UnsolicitedMessageError

Nope. Not helpful. It suggests I use Gmail Postmaster Tools, which I started doing four days ago. I added my domain. Trying to follow their grunting, I added the verification string to my DNS that they. (DKIM isn’t good enough. Industry standards aren’t good enough. The 800-pound gorilla wants its own, special, non-standard verification string added. Just for them. Because 800-pound gorillas are special. Yep, special.)

The presumably helpful URL tells me that Gmail Postmaster Tools can give me “metrics on parameters such as reputation, spam rate, feedback loop, etc. It can help you prevent your emails from being blocked or sent to spam by Gmail.” Nope. More grunting. More posturing. It just isn’t there. “No data to display.” Just not there; more grunting.

The presumably helpful URL says that not all of my e-mail is being blocked. Yet, it doesn’t explain why EVERY message I send to a Gmail address is bounced. No spammy content. Most of the time, I’m simply replying to someone who sent me a message.

Replies apparently aren’t allowed. The 800-pound gorilla doesn’t like them. Even with the special DNS text string required by the special 800-pound gorilla.

So, if you have a Gmail address and you send me a message, don’t expect a response from me. I may have actually sent you a response, but the 800-pound gorilla won’t let you know that. Instead, I look like a non-responsive dolt to anyone using a Gmail account.

You cannot get the attention of the 800-pound gorilla. Gorillas don’t talk. They don’t want to talk. You can’t send them e-mails. You can’t call them on the phone. You can’t send them overnight letters. (I know. I’ve tried.) You can’t send them smoke signals. There are no real humans available, only an 800-pound gorilla. And grunting. And stomping.

Since I cannot communicate with the gorilla, I’m left with the conclusion that the only thing I can do is to change the IP address used by my mail server. Lots of work there, but perhaps the 800-pound gorilla will be placated. (Who knows?! I don’t, because the gorilla doesn’t communicate.) Or, I guess, I need to start using an e-mail hosting service and spending the bucks that such a service entails. Perhaps that will placate the 800-pound gorilla. But, again, who knows?!

[Technical side note: Block lists (including those maintained by Google) rely on IP addresses, not on e-mail addresses. Thus, I send out my newsletters using a return e-mail address of allen@sharonparq.com through a sending service. That uses one set of servers using one set of IP addresses. I send out my personal e-mail using the same return address through my own server. That server necessarily uses an IP address separate from the servers through which the newsletters are sent. The block lists are tied to IP addresses, not to e-mail addresses. That is why someone with Gmail may receive my newsletters, but they won’t receive my personal responses to messages they may send me—it is MY mail server that is blocked by the 800-pound gorilla, not the mail servers through which the newsletters are sent.]

I really don’t like gorillas. They don’t play nice. They are mean. They aren’t reasonable. They are capricious. They don’t care. They don’t communicate.

I hate Google. Especially this week.

20 thoughts on “I Hate Google

  1. Patrick

    Dear Allen,

    Extremely sorry to hear of your predicament in this.

    Your total frustration comes clearly through your blog post and it is entirely justified.

    I hope you managed to find some way round it with or without Google’s non-available assistance.

    With kind regards,
    Patrick Sedgwick
    London, England

    Reply
  2. Marie Mann

    I can understand your frustration! I don’t have to earn a living while relying on Google, thankfully, but it must be totally galling to someone in your position. Apart from being bad business, it’s plain bad manners to not communicate with someone who relies on your service (of any kind). Good luck!

    Reply
  3. Anthony K

    Oh boy – I feel your pain. I loath Google but for another reason – G-Suite. I can never get hold of a real person when I need support. I seriously don’t understand how they’ve survived this long with such poor support!

    Reply
  4. Wayne Baxter

    I had this same problem a few weeks ago. Except it was using Yahoo mail. I run a weekly bridge quiz which relies on back and forth communication via email with quiz participants.. (This is not a business but just for fun during COVID times. I have about 75 regulars in the quiz who email me their responses and I email reminders and quiz results to them at the end of the week). So when all my confirmation emails and requests for bid clarification started to bounce, I was panicking. I did some online research and from what I could tell, the only way to resolve this problem was to change my password and not use my email for 24 hours. This didn’t make a lot of sense to me but I tried anyway. Ironically, during that 24-hour period, I switched to using my Gmail email. I was lucky. After 24 hours, I tried my Yahoo mail again and happily it worked. I agree, a very frustrating and scary experience.

    Reply
  5. Stephen

    800-pound gorilla = unregulated business monopoly.
    Best wishes! Thanks for your book on _Word VBA_ which got me started many years ago now learning and coding VBA scripts.

    Reply
  6. DCPear

    Very frustrating and unreasonable. I do not like the 800 pound gorilla either. They have way too much power and control. Hope this gets straightened out quickly.

    Reply
  7. Nadiyah

    Social Media is becoming more and more complicated. Google is just one of many. Hope you can get the situation resolved. It’s getting increasingly hard to talk to a human. Good luck! PS. Glad to see you have a blog.

    Reply
  8. Mike Harrington

    It’s simply poor management.

    Whilst using “Gorillas” for shuffling through the simple no brainer auto responses is OK, once a “conversation” has gone on more than “X” times, then a “real” human should be alerted and get involved!

    Mike

    Reply
  9. Michael Kelly

    Dear Allen,
    Sorry to hear about your getting stepped on by the Google gorilla. I’ve had friends get locked out of Facebook by mistake—the Facebook gorilla—but I’ve not heard about a gmail problem like this. Thanks for the heads up!

    Maybe there’s a Gmail consultant around somewhere who can crack the code.

    I’m glad your newsletters are getting through. Thanks again!

    Michael

    Reply
  10. Bridget

    I too am so sorry for your gorilla fighting pain! Is there any solace that your post has (possibly) helped me? I have no bad email habits, don’t even have a newsletter, just mail to two groups of 20 once a week along with normal indie biz email levels, 10-15 max outgoing a day. Google often dumps them into spam, with the scary “Unverified” caution that really instills confidence in clients. A change from small hosted email to Exchange has not fixed. Your description of Postmaster Tools lead me to do a verify through Google so fingers crossed it helps! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  11. Mary Z

    Your post is very disturbing. Due to firsthand experience, I’m keenly aware of Google both helping drive a biased news narrative and squelching the voices of “the little people.” I’ve been told that, especially because of the latter intimidation, it’s vital for online businesses to build and maintain email rosters should their web traffic be capriciously stopped or buried. The teaching was that entrepreneurs, in such scenarios, would at least be able to email their customers. Now it appears that this lifeline is also vulnerable.

    “Look for the helpers,” counseled Fred Rogers. Thank you for being one of America’s helpers willing to stand up.

    Reply
  12. Barb

    Hi there, I use google mail to receive newsletters etc. My sister how ever, uses it as her ONLY email.

    This past week she’s been telling me that google is deleting/blocking/sending to spam/etc most of her mail coming in; from different people.

    I send her email via a domain email and google is BLOCKING THAT.

    They think they know what’s good for everyone. I detest google. Actually, I detest ALL big tech because they think they’re so much better.

    Reply
  13. Rod Walsh

    I feel your pain! I too hate Google. Not so much for their products – rather their unwillingness to put the USA first.

    Trying to figure out how to move my entire gmail posts (incoming, outgoing, with and without attachments) to something else – say Outlook. I’ve already moved to Edge, email seems harder.

    Any ideas?

    Thank you and good luck,
    Rod

    Reply
  14. Elspeth Richmond

    I sympathize. However, Telus, our phone server, suddenly decided to block all unrecognized callers, including a friend who calls often. I can’t seem to f ix this. Technology can be a nightmare, a bug bare and a grizzly all at once.
    A luddite!

    Reply
  15. Marty

    Googerilla’s are generally dicks, but could it be you forgot to where your mask when responding to email? We have to all realize that logical cause and effect parameters no longer exist in the G world.

    Reply
    1. Almon Mayze

      My thoughts exactly….I tend to wear mine when responding to all my emails.

      Reply
  16. Mitchell Bender

    I am one of those hopefuls anticipating a reply that may have been sent but blocked.
    I had a similar experience quite a long while ago – I do not recall the circumstances or cause, but I found a solution in NOT replying to your correspondent, but copying and pasting the sender’s gmail email address into a brand new email (not a reply), add other details and message, press Send and it all goes through without a problem. I am nowhere near technically savvy enough to offer an explanation as to how or why this worked back then.
    Cheers,

    Mitchell Bender,
    Sydney, Australia

    Reply
  17. Jim

    We had a similar experience with our church email. Google based, less than 100 congregants. Started noticing the bounce backs as you did for no reason. Long story short, we moved our email client to “MailChimp”. It has worked great. We still use the gmail addy for incoming mail, but all outgoing goes thru MailChimp.

    Reply
  18. Mike D.

    I use Gmail, however I do not presently use Google for my correspondences with you so I have had no issue. That said i am glad I know about it so if I do reply I will be sure to use my other account.

    Best of luck with the gorilla,
    Mike D.

    Reply
  19. David Flynn

    We have all noticed that G wants to control and monitor ALL of us. I try to keep my distance, but the 800 pound googrilla is everywhere. I monitor chromebooks for my organization which is its way of further encroaching into everybody’s world.

    Reply

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