How I was Mistreated by a G+ Community Manager
9th August - I was approached by G+ Community Manager (Renu Jinturkur, she is a Google employee.) She wanted to feature me on G+ and asked me to organize my stuff into Collections. On 14th August, while I was updating cover photos of G+ Collections, I got '404 Error' multiple times. I kept refreshing thinking it was some internet issue. But within minutes, my Gmail was disabled. For those who don't know the severity of Gmail disabled - you lose access to Gmail, Blogger, Youtube, Google Drive and every service attached to it. To me, a blogger who has spent last 6 years building up her presence, it came as a shock. I lost both personal and professional data. My life came to a standstill! I work as a content writer, social media influencer, and ghostwriter - my Gmail is the only way all agencies and brands contact me. Even for a normal person losing access to your email can disrupt your life as our email addresses are registered everywhere - from government issued identities to electricity bill. I was in a panic state. I filed the appeal with Google to get my account re-enabled. But it takes 5-7 working days for any reply. Still figuring what went wrong, I thought of contacting that G+ Community Manager as I was working on G+ when the problem occurred. I called and she asked me to send her an email. I did right away using my husband's gmail. As she was on leave that day, she said she would look into the matter the next day.
15th August - After several calls and emails, the Community Manager emailed - 'They are working on the issue (can't disclose details).' By that time, she had stopped answering my calls or replying to my voice messages. My condition worsened as people starting pinging me on social media as their emails to my id were bouncing back. My work was getting affected. I missed two deadlines. A day went by and nothing happened. Without divulging details, losing Gmail means I have to start my life from scratch.
On 16th - I emailed her again. Still no reply. By that time, I started looking for alternatives - asked friends for Google contact, contacted Google employees on Linkedin. Everyone replied but they had no solution to my problem. That G+ Community Manager was my best shot - I was told. It was a stressful time for me. I ransacked my brain to think of one reason why my Gmail was disabled. I didn't violate any Google policy. I read the policies again and again to find my mistake. I found none. I don't spam; I credit all the pictures I upload on my blog; I don't plagiarize; I don't misuse Adsense - check my earnings history. I don't indulge in any prohibited activities - porn, drugs, violence, or hate crime. Imagine someone going through all this - losing what she has diligently built over the years, and she doesn't even know what is wrong? I never felt that helpless and miserable my entire life.
17th August - I got my Gmail back. My husband was trying to check my blog and miraculously it opened. He emailed me on my disabled Gmail id and it didn't bounce back. He called and I logged in. But I lost all of my G+ followers - from 3,607 they came down to 15. I don't have the courage to click on the G+ icon to see whether my content is still there. My Blogspot dashboard is acting weird - it is no longer showing me as the author of my blog - posted by 'Unknown' is what the credit looks like. All the corresponding stats are gone. I have no clue what is happening. I can download my blog but it's not uploading. So, I can't take a backup. There was still no response from her. Had it not for my husband who kept checking my blog, I would've never known that my Gmail was re-enabled. I’ve got no response to my Gmail Appeal either. By looking at what all I've lost, I am sure it's a technical issue at their end.
18th August - I was still waiting for a reply for her side. I thought she must be busy or had some personal emergency. How else would you explain such a behavior? Someone who was talking to me on the phone is suddenly not answering at all. But then, around noon, I got an email notification that she was updating G+ group. That moment I felt very bad. Here I was waiting for a reply and going through a mess, and she was not even bothered to reply to my desperately-in-need emails. I'm sorry to say, I was angry that time. I wrote to her again and as we can all expect - there is still no reply.
I am not worried about stats or losing followers. But it pains me to see how this G+ Community Manager behaved. It is unprofessional and unethical. If you are reaching out to bloggers to build your community, show them respect, treat them well. Help them when they are reaching out to you - you are in a position to help. Don't misuse that position. Just because it requires some of your time, doesn't mean you treat normal people at your whims and fancies. Call them as you like and drop them when you feel they are no good. Do your job with some integrity (if not more) and a lot of humanity!
I'm not a celebrated writer. But I am one of those lucky few who get appreciation from so many people out there. And I treasure it. Comments and messages are my rewards for writing every Monday for the last 6 years. All those good people spend their time in reading and commenting on my work. I value it immensely. And now when someone new reads my work, they don't even know my name. I'm 'Unknown' to them.
Please share and tag anyone who can raise this issue at Google. And please share this post, so no blogger who is approached by Google + Community Manager goes through the same ordeal.
BTW, if you are one of those working with her, I have come to know that G+ is not a stable platform. If you run into any issue, she won’t help in any way! And you would lose whatever you have!
And my blogger issue is still unresolved.