Why we trashed Google…

Here at Five Katz Antiques, I have been long frustrated with Google’s privacy policies. In fact, I have not been a fan of anything “Google” for a long time. Their products are not intuitive, frustrating and not user friendly. I stopped using their search engine in favor of  “Duck Duck Go” over 2 years ago. It frustrates me that I must have a Gmail account just to use their phone operating system and still I don’t understand why I have to give them permission to activate my television. It’s none of their business what I watch.

I created a Google Business page for the store in 2015 when we opened. It was a quick way to let folks browsing the internet and searching for antiques that we were on the scene. However it developed quickly into a quagmire of frustration for me.

The folks at Google seem to think it’s better for random people, be they customers or not, to be able to control/edit the data posted to a business’ Google page. This includes such updates as photos and reviews, which for the average business may be good, but I like to control things a bit more than that. We all like getting good reviews, but as a retired professional photographer, I prefer to only have photos on the site that I create and control. Google will allow you to reply to a review, but they won’t let you remove other user submitted content such as photos without a lengthy and uncertain review process.

For me this represents a problem.

The other issue that materialized a year or so ago, was that someone suggested that my business was closed. I myself have suggested just such an edit, but only well after the business was truly closed, and never to interfere with, or damage a working business or their reputation. It was difficult to say the least to get Google to accept the edit that I was indeed still operating.

The other fight that I had with Google was within their advertising department. When you create a Google ad, you have very limited options for text (no em dashes or tildes), and also as to the verbage of the ad. Once again, they thought they knew my business better than I did. Once the ad is approved, you agree to pay for each click on the ad and you set a budget that they are not supposed to exceed. I was constantly being charged for more clicks than I had agreed upon.

I had to cancel my ads and fight google to stop overcharging me, and they even charged me after I deleted my ad! I have not had an ad on google for nearly 3 years now, and they have just recently closed my Google Ad Account for what they call “No Spend”.  In addition, they still think I owe them and they have recently sent me an email invoice for ONE CENT! I am actually thinking of sending them a check for that $.01 simply because I know that it will cost them about a dollar to cash it.

Dealing with a Google employee is nearly impossible as they don’t really have accessible info to reach their call center. Their review processes on any listing edit/update takes several days (by someone across the country or even in another country), and most interactions have to be done through email.

Over the past day or so, I have been trying to correct information on my business policies. Their system won’t seem to accept my changes and keeps substituting it’s own. For instance I kept trying to correct the edit that “masks were required” and it kept posting that masks were not required. I don’t need to have an irate customer telling me that they didn’t need a mask, because they saw it on Google.

In addition there were other policies that they think are important and need announced in relation to our current political and/or sociological atmosphere that I don’t’ really have any interest in promoting an outward visible stance on. I don’t need to tell anyone in any specific group that they are welcome or unwelcome. Basically my policy is that everyone is welcome to the store as long as they are interested in what products we offer, they are polite and they follow the store policies. That’s it, simple.

Since I was unable to describe my policies in a manner that I was comfortable with on my Google Business Page, and since I haven’t posted anything to it in months, I decided the time was right to delete it. This will probably result in Google being a jerk and telling everyone I am closed, but if you look, you will still see our website listed. We probably just won’t be on Google Maps.

I don’t like feeling like I am being pushed into a corner. When Facebook first came around, everything was free and everyone was able to see everything I posted. Then it became the policy that only a few followers saw what I posted and Facebook insisted that I must now pay them to show my posts to people who had already said we want to see what you have. Well, between that and their horrible privacy policies, I deleted my Facebook account just as I have now deleted my Google Business page.

It’s no secret that I dislike social media. I have had other bad experiences with other sites, and when I can’t correct the information posted, I leave and un-claim the store on the site and let it drift in the wind. It’s difficult to do this as I have worked hard over the last six years to create a positive image for the store, but letting go what I can’t control eliminates frustrations and emotional pains due to what people post. I just can’t spend the energies fighting it anymore.

We have been here six years, and we are not going anywhere soon regardless of what you read on social media.

Thanks for your support!