Sunday, June 15, 2008

FeedBurner adopting the "Google way" to deal with customers (Updated)

I use FeedBurner to analyse the traffic to my blogs. From time to time I have to contact their support department. In the past there was a contact form to fill out and a staff member would contact me personally in no more than 48 hours' time.

All this has gone since they have been acquired by Google. Now direct contact with their support team is reserved for issues involving the misuse or transfer of feeds, all other support questions are directed at their forum. To make things more complicated you have to register separately for the forum and then check back regularly whether anyone has bothered to reply to your post - usually they don't.

With further integration into Google they had transferred their forum to Google Groups (you have to manually click on a link on the forum's homepage to get there - so far you have travelled the Contact Us -> Forum -> Google Groups route without the chance to provide feedback or to ask questions). The welcoming message in their help group informs you that (emphasis added)

While this forum is intended as a place for FeedBurner users to assist one another, from time to time Google representatives, nicknamed FeedBurner Guide will post tips and clarifications.

So that is the de-evolution of friendly customer support into an impersonal corporate nightmare, the same as that of some bigger Google services. This has happened to a team that posted a photo like this on their flickr account:

[Update]: After having successfully resolved an issue in both the old and new ways of FeedBurner Support I have written a follow-up in which I shall point out that FB support is still better than Blogger support.

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