Until just a few minutes ago, I’d actually forgotten that I’d emailed a question to the Google AdSense Support Team about a problem I had getting AdSense working in one of my RSS feeds, but indeed I had, way back on June 7th:
Three and a half months later here’s the response I just got from Google…
We’re sorry that we weren’t able to address your email in a timely manner. If you’re still experiencing difficulties with your ads please don’t hesitate to contact us again.
The Google AdSense Team
There are a number of things that I find disturbing about this communication beyond the ridiculously long delay between my asking for help and them, well, not offering it. The first is that, as I suggest, after three and a half months of sitting in a trouble queue, I still haven’t received an answer to my query, yet they suggest “If you’re still experiencing difficulties with your ads please don’t hesitate to contact us again.”
Why would I have the confidence to contact them again, given that my expectation is now set that it takes more than three months to receive a response?
More importantly, Google has hundreds of millions of dollars in its so-called war chest, vast sums of money with which they’re buying up other firms, experimenting with fascinating new tech ideas like their own take on Voice Over IP and secure wireless networks. The core of their revenue, however, comes from the purchase of ads through AdWords and the display of ads through their terrific AdSense program. So why aren’t they allocating the resources and attention needed to ensure that customer service isn’t neglected as they grow?
It’s distressingly reminiscent of the evolution of Yahoo! from the top Web directory site into a media conglomerate that forgot all about its core business: search. Now they’re having to not only fund an expensive search engine team, but they’re having to play catch-up because they lost focus on their core business proposition.
Let me be clear: I really like Google and am constantly impressed with their engineering and smarts. Just this afternoon I was exploring how Google Maps offers the coolest driving directions display of any online mapping site I’ve used. But just like any other company, if you forget your core business, if you start to resent customer service as a cost center, if you begin to take your eye off the ball, you open yourself up to attacks from more nimble, more focused competitors.
Microsoft today announced a reorganization. You can bet they’re greedily eyeing every facet of Google’s business, and with their splendid MSN Search as a core property, they’ve a strong position in the marketplace too.
Sorry, Google, waiting three months for a response to a customer query — and a customer that’s helping Google generate revenue — is just unacceptable.