Michael Krigsman writes a post for ZDNet about Feedburner's recent 3 day outage. For those who aren't bloggers Feedburner is a service operated by Google that allows you to track information about your RSS/Atom Feeds such as how many subscribers they have, what those subscribers are clicking on, etc...
In his post Mr. Krigsman says...
FeedBurner blog site statistics have been down for over two days with no word from Google despite numerous complaints from users. Does Google’s lack of response suggest something we don’t know?
In my view, Google’s cavalier attitude toward FeedBurner suggests that perhaps the service has been demoted to second-tier status despite the fact some FeedBurner services remain working. If so, that’s bad news for users. Google, any comment on this?
To be honest, I was surprised this issue didn't get more coverage in the blogosphere. Such blatant mistreatment of customers, particularly vocal customers like bloggers, usually creates more of a storm than this.
I don't know for a fact what is behind Google's lack of response. But it reminds me of an issue that I don't think gets near enough attention and that's the fact that Web 2.0 companies, with their ad based revenue models, have no incentive to listen to their customers.
Because unlike businesses in the past their money comes from a third party giving the consumer no pull.
Our lives are becoming more and more dependent on companies that don't answer to us in any way. I actually posted on this a few months back. At the time I said...
This is one of the biggest problems and least discussed consequences of Web 2.0's new "Advertisement Based Economy". By being an intermediary between you and the service you are using the advertising company is preventing you from having any hold over the company that is actually providing you with a service. Because of that you lose the ability to hold them accountable for providing that service poorly.
It actually adds a lot of credence to the idea that nothing comes for free.
So the question is, what can be done? People certainly don't want to start paying for something that is currently free and web sites have no reason to listen to users while the people with the ads are providing all the funding. What needs to happen is the middle man (a.k.a. the advertiser) needs to start advocating for the user.
I still wish a system like this could be established but I'm less and less optimistic as time goes on. Google's complete lack of not only contrition but response of any kind shows just how complacent people have become in regards to this.
It makes me wonder though, with people relying more and more on these services and starting to put important data into them (Google Health for example) how long can this type of behavior be tolerated? I have to think the consumer will stand up and complain at some point.