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Blacklisted from Google Notebook

One of the weak points of reliance on cloud computing services is that you’re constantly at the mercy of the company your data is in – and, as you don’t pay for the service, the relationship that you have with the company is not that of customer and supplier.

That means, of course, that it’s all too easy for a company simply to cut you off from your data with no simple way back. Take this example:

Blacklisted from Google Notebook:

“Many web applications have limitations that are not disclosed to users. If you happen to use an application too frequently or upload too much data, your access will be disabled. In most cases, you’ll see a message that informs you about the penalty, but Google Notebook chose a different strategy: showing a 404 error message.

‘Back on December 20, I wrote about my frustration with Google Notebook, which I use every day as a way to archive much of what I read online (…). For some off reason, it seemed like Google Notebook was down, and yet I could find no other description of the issue online, which made me think I must be mad,’ writes Ran Barton.

He received a message from Google that explained the problem. ‘Your account was accidentally blacklisted by a blacklisting heuristic that looked at total size of notebook information. We’ve revised the heuristic, so you shouldn’t be accidentally blacklisted again in the future.’”

Now I don’t know about you, but access to my notes is pretty important to me. I can’t afford for those notes to simply disappear into the aether just because a company arbitrarily decides that I’m violating some rule or other. With a real supplier, one that I’m paying for, I’d expect them to actually talk to me before cutting off the service. Getting it for free, it’s far too easy for this not to happen.

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