Saturday, December 09, 2006

Google -- Very Good, But Not Perfect

I'm still happy with Google overall, but my latest experience wasn't what I'd hoped for. I've been concerned about the Google Checkout badge on my AdWords ads. So I sent a message into their customer service. Here was my message:

Question: While the Google Checkout badges are probably helpful for some of my cases, especially speeding tickets, some of the work I do for clients is done where payment cannot be made through Google Checkout - in particular where I work as a personal injury lawyer and get paid based on what we receive from the insurance company. I'm concerned that the Checkout badge is a negative for potential clients who would expect they would not have to pay. I would appreciate it if you would work on making it possible for us to disable the badges for some Ad Groups while keeping them active for others. This shouldn't be that hard to do.

So I got their response, and it seemed a bit like you get from other companies:

Hello Warren,

Thank you for your email. I understand you would like to display Google Checkout badges on some AdWords advertisements but not others. We greatly appreciate any feedback or suggestions for ways we can improve Google Checkout. Your comments provide us with the assistance we need to optimize our program, so please continue to give us feedback in the
future. Google Checkout does not provide the abilityy to display Google Checkout badges on some AdWords advertisements but not others, though this feature may be introduced at some point in the future. We will be taking your thoughts into account as we move forward with our product development.

Please feel free to reply to this email if you have any additional questions.

Sincerely,

Ben
The Google Checkout Team

Maybe it's just me, but I think Ben might be a computer. I don't think a real person read my e-mail and took the time to think about what I had to say, forward it to people higher up, etc. This is a legit concern. Many people using Google Checkout don't have this issue, but I doubt I'm the only one who has this concern. This would be a real easy fix for them, and they should fix it.

I'm still a Google fan, and will continue to be faithful to them. I'm not much on brand loyalty, but there are a few brands to which I am loyal -- Google, Apple, and Amazon are top examples.

Digressing, I have very strong positive feelings for Honda (and Acura) but don't own one of their cars. I did get my mom to buy a Civic. I drive an Audi A4 Avant 1.8tqm (that means it's a wagon with a 1.8 liter 4-cylinder turbo quattro (all-wheel-drive) with a manual transmission). I don't have much loyalty to the brand but I really do like my car. I kinda wanna get a Honda CR-V, but my car still drives great and the CR-V would be a step down in many ways. The downside of my Audi is that it hasn't been great on reliability. No really horrible defects, but a lot of nagging minor ones. A couple of rattles, a recurrent problem with the lumbar in the seat, and there were several other problems. But it really drives so nice. Over 26 mpg over the life of the car, 0-60 in 8 seconds, and it's a cross between a mountain goat and a snowmobile when winter hits. Plus it gets excellent safety ratings.

Another product loyalty area is cell phones. I have a Palm Treo 700p. It's my 3rd Treo. I started with the 600, then had the 650 and now have the 700. I've actually had several Treos because I had 3 or 4 of the 600 model and I think 2 of the 650. I'm about to get my 2nd 700. I'm addicted to the Palm features and the integration with the phone, but I'm just getting sick of how often the damn thing stops working right. They drop calls. They crash. I get them replaced, mostly for free or cheap (this one's going to cost me $55 after just 6 months). But I'm getting tired of dealing with this. I'll probably keep the Treo as a backup phone, but I'm likely to switch to a regular phone and a separate regular Palm handheld. Or maybe I'll use the Treo as a handheld until I see a Palm I want more.

The point here is that Palm could easily have my brand loyalty but they keep failing on reliability. I'm not the only one. I've been at the Sprint store when there were as many as 4 other Treo owners waiting to get theirs fixed, and one of the real long-timers at that store laughs when I complain about it, indicating that other people have even worse experiences with the Treo. The Treo series is consistently the best smartphone on the market. It's so good that I've been putting up with these problems for more than two years, maybe three. But now I'm getting ready to move on. All they have to do is get the quality issue settled and they'd have a million addicts. They've had three years to get it right and they keep failing.
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