Dear Thomas, I would like to bring your attention to a few things…

I’ve just stumbled across this open letter from Thomas Monopoly to Google, complaining that they have – for reasons unexplained – eradicated his entire account, and with it seven years of email, contacts, blog posts, photographs, files and bookmarks. Despite his best efforts, Thomas hasn’t been able to make contact with anyone at Google who can give him a reason for the account closure or tell him if it can be reactivated.

I really do feel for Thomas – losing that much of your stuff for any reason sucks. But at the risk of flying against the furious wind of anti-Googlery building up on the back of Thomas’ letter, I’d like to make a bold statement:

This is not bad customer service on Google’s part

Why? Because Thomas is not the customer, he is the commodity. The commodity sold to the actual customers who pay Google to advertise their products at Thomas based on the contents of his searching, email, contacts, blog posts, photographs, files and bookmarks. I’d hazard a guess they get great service.

I don’t think there’s anything evil about that – it’s a sound and widely-used business model. But we should be much more aware of it when we’re entrusting the most personal and important bits of our lives to that sort of business.

Like all of us, Thomas gets what he pays for. And aside from the cost of a domain name and an upgrade to his storage space, he’s paid nothing to use Google’s tools. Should his service expectations be anything other than in line with that? I don’t think so.

More on this sort of thing here.