How Google Checkout Screwed up John Battelle's Order

15 comments

When Google checkout messes things up for the technologically savvy is there hope for anyone?

John Battelle's Searchblog: Google Has My Credit Card Number Now

OK, so I have now read (or re-read) three separate privacy policies, and it's time to complete my purchase. I hit "agree" and, still on Google's servers, get the confirmation page, hit "sign in" again and...shit, it's not working!

What did I do wrong?

I head over to where they tell me to go - https://www.google.com/accounts/ForgotPasswd - and give them the email I use for my Google account. (It worked before, to log me in in the first place, very odd!). I reset my password, and now...where do I go? There's not a screen inviting me back to complete my purchase! There's no way to get back to my order! My daughter's beloved Dora the Explorer Mr. Face Plush Backpack from ToysRUs is totally MIA!

Hmmm. I sign into my Google Checkout account, maybe that will have the purchase history. After all, they had all the information - but no. While Google did manage to capture and save my credit card info, there's no history of my attempt to purchase the Dora backpack.

Hmmm. How about I use my Firefox history to go back to the original page where my account did not work in the first place! (Not that this is something most shoppers would ever do, but...). Hey, that should work!

Nope. "Oops! Your shopping cart has expired."

Shit. So I'm starting over. No, wait, this has been way too much of a trial. I'll get back to it later. Or, I'll just go to Amazon.

Sorry Google, but mark this one in your metadata as "abandoned cart."

Comments

Barron's just might be right...

...in predicting Google's expenses rising significantly (and stock price dropping quite a bit sometime down the road) as Google hustles to put in the back-end infrastructure to support some of their recent (and big) offerings such as Checkout...and to re-tool some of it.

SB

Who is this John Battelle Guy

Who is this John Battelle Guy and what makes you think he's so "technology savvy?" Way too many people run around the 'net pretending to be oh so l337. Clue: Never waste time reading the boilerplate. These things contain no information whatsoever, and will just numb your mind into a stupor while your shopping cart expires. Do you think Google has a zillion shopping carts so lallygagers can just read the legalese all day long? C'mon buddy, move along or we're gonna have to call security to escort you out on the sidewalk...again.

Kidding Right?

Call Me crazy but I'll say a guy who has given a keynote speech at two Pubcon Events, written a best selling book on Google, runs the Web 2.0 conference might be a little more sophisticated than the man on the street ;-)

Shopping carts break and get abandoned all the time, however the points he makes about there being a disconnect between the customer and merchant is important. It's alos something you might want to think about before you give all of your data and requiring all of your customers to also give their data to google as well

I'm not as quick to give

I'm not as quick to give credit based on credential, but graywolf is right here. jehochman is also right. Battelle failed to make the purchase, but he also knew why he failed, and why those reasons should not have been there. If it took more than that to complete the order, something is broken. If it took *that much* to complete the order, it's broken.

One doesn't need to be at least as tech savvy as John Battelle (no matter how much of a noob he might be ;-) to place an order via Google's cart.

No worries, Amazon. The season is already upon us. No worries.

Yes, kidding

But, fame doesn't impress me at all. A tech savvy person is much more likely to break a shopping cart because they'll do things that noobs would never do, like spend 30 minutes reading the fine print.

Google follows agile development methods, so they aren't shy about pushing out revisions of a product that might have bugs. No amount of testing will find all the bugs, so ship early, and respond fast to bug reports with patches. Battelle should fire away, and Google should pay close attention because criticism is free consulting.

I can do without the righteous indignation, though. "This shopping cart has bugs!" Yeah, so what. Perfection is the enemy of good.

free tutorial for google

Google follows agile development methods, so they aren't shy about pushing out revisions of a product that might have bugs.

Snort! Hack! Cough! Marissa are you taking notes? It's not a bug, it's a development methodology. Repeat again ...

Nah, it's a frickin' bug.

Google should pay close attention because criticism is free consulting.

They've always had a problem in this department.

I think Battelle gave fair

I think Battelle gave fair feedback, and I know Google folks are taking it seriously. But as I mentioned on Battelle's original thread, most people either sign up for Checkout in advance and read the privacy policies to their hearts' content, or sail through the sign-up during a purchase. The case of "I was going to buy something, but now I'm going to take 1-2 hours to read every word in every policy that covers this product" is pretty rare, as Battelle notes himself.

Too much fine print

>>The case of "I was going to buy something, but now I'm going to take 1-2 hours to read every word in every policy that covers this product" is pretty rare

Perhaps, it's also an indication that there is way too much fine print in the privacy policies. It's not just Google but everyone has to run around with a lawyer just to wade through all the masturbatory legalese generated by the corporate legal departments.

Privacy ...

So if Google admits people don't actually read the privacy policy why do they encourage people use it to improve their quality score?

https://adwords.google.com/select/siteguidelines.html

Most internet users are concerned with understanding and controlling how websites use their personal information. In order to build an honest relationship with them, providing clear answers to these questions on your site is a must

>>So if Google admits people

>>So if Google admits people don't actually read the privacy policy why do they encourage people use it to improve their quality score?

do as I say not as I do?

I think once again Google are just not thinking like a real person. Google thinks

Quote:
this is a replacement for paypal which everyone has, so people will sign up through their google accounts and then use it instead as paypal next time they buy something

some google people might even think

Quote:
what if they don't sign up beforehand? Oh it only takes like two seconds to do and we tested that bit loads of times here. Dude.

Then just before it goes live they add links to the privacy policy.

meanwhile customer thinks

Quote:
why in hell should I sign up for that yet I'll wait until I'm buying something which I can pay for with it.....oops now I need to sign up.... geez that's a long privacy policy but I better read it because I heard they were turning evil....... oh no where's my shopping cart gone?..... Thats crap, I'm going to blog about this

Sometimes people who stayed in school too long overdevelop the geek part of the brain and it sort of stifles the bit which deals with commonsense and world reality.

Wait a minute...

>>do as I say not as I do?

Sorry Gurtie, gotta call foul on that one. Google DID provide a rather complete privacy policy. Whether anyone reads them or not doesn't mean diddly. It's an item that is expected to be there, like a phone number.

I'm still wondering, 'what the fuck' on this though. A shopping cart error? Hold the presses! We've got a shopping cart error! Some uber geek can't get his Dora the Explorer backpack. Expect navel-gazing blog post in 3, 2...

So far as I know, California

So far as I know, California law requires websites to have a privacy policy:
http://www.cooley.com/news/alerts.aspx?ID=38606820

That said, sometimes even large companies have difficult shopping carts; 'tis a fact.

What's Funnier

So What's funnier trying to legislate capitalization

>The privacy policy is linked to the homepage via a hypertext link that contains the word "privacy," is written in capital letters equal to or greater in size than the surrounding text, is written in a type, font, or color that contrasts with the surrounding text of the same size, or is otherwise distinguishable from surrounding text on the homepage.

or that the company providing the information about the law doesn't follow it by not having an image with the word privacy or the word privacy itself as stipulated anywhere on it's homepage. Just to be a complete wanker MSN and Yahoo have "Privacy" on the page, but Google doesn't.

Yep. What they *really*

Yep. What they *really* wanted, or what was being bandied about earlier, was that when anyone accessed a web page, they were fed the privacy policy first.

Amazing, isn't it?

I can see a use for this,

I can see a use for this, though.

You go to a website; you get the page you asked for, then a popup says:

"Have you read our privacy policy?"

You close it and go on with your surfing/reading/whatever at the site. Another popup:

"No, really, have you read our privacy policy?"

You glance at it and close the popup. Then starts a series of popups ---

"Just in case you wondered, here's our privacy policy!"
"It's the law!"
"YOU MUST READ IT!!!"
"I AM NOT HYSTERICAL!"
"WAIT, DON'T LEAVE!!! Did you want to see ..."

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