Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mass Confusion Caused By The Next Phase Of The Legacy Account Migration Process

Last week, Blogger started the next phase of the Legacy Account migration process. For several days, we have seen confusion, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.
Why am I getting this email? Is it a scam?
and
I can't migrate my account!
and
I migrated my account, and my blogs disappeared from my dashboard!!

The people targeted in the email were registered owners of legacy (pre 2006) Blogger accounts, created before Blogger started using Google (email address based) accounts. The confused owners are similar to the ones with whom we have been dealing for several months, unable to regain access to their long dormant Blogger / Google accounts. Many do not remember creating accounts, others don't remember the login details, which are essential to blog control.

The confusion was caused jointly by Blogger, and by the blog owners. And, it was not a surprise, to Blogger Support.

The confusion started with the history of the migration.
  • In 2007, Blogger offered the opportunity to transfer control of owned blogs, to a new Google based account, when someone attempted to login to their legacy Blogger account.
  • People never logging in to Blogger after 2007 never got the offer to migrate.
  • Some people elected to not migrate - but setup new Google accounts and manually transferred control of their blogs - and left some legacy accounts inactive and without any owned blogs.
  • Last year, Blogger warned people that the end of life, of the legacy accounts, was inevitable.
    For a number of technical and operational reasons, we’ve decided to finally end our support for migrating legacy accounts and blogs after December 5th, 2011. So if you have a Blogger account and haven’t logged in since 2007, you will lose access to the account and associated content permanently unless you update to the Google Account system before December 5th.
  • Last week, Blogger took the next step.
    You are receiving this message because your email address is associated with an unmigrated legacy Blogger account. As we announced in April of last year, legacy accounts will no longer be accessible after May 30th, 2012 unless they are updated to the Google Account system. Any blog content associated with this account will also be unmodifiable after that date.
  • The emails went to registered owners of all unmigrated legacy accounts, whether or not any account owned a blog.

The confusion was magnified by issues caused by the various blog owners.
  • Blogger insists on making it easy to create a Blogger account, frequently resulting in non intentional creation of multiple Blogger accounts. Some people, for instance, may have created Blogger accounts to post comments, on other blogs.
  • Some people receiving the email had stopped using Blogger, long ago.
  • Other people had continued using Blogger, but with newly created Blogger accounts - and simply ignored the unused legacy accounts.
  • Many people, overlooking the fact that the migration had started in 2007, became unhappy that they were given only one month to conclude what they had been given, to date - 5 years.
  • Too many people, not having used their legacy accounts since 2006, were unable to remember the account name or password, and were forced to use the "Forgot your password?" wizard.
  • Some people, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the password reset email, found that this critical email is subject to email spam filters.
  • Some people managing to complete the migration - but with their blogs owned by a separate (newer) Google based Blogger account - watched in horror as their blogs appeared to disappear from their dashboards. The migration created a new account, leaving their important blogs owned by their previously created Blogger / Google account, which became inaccessible to them.

The history plus the issues resulted in several scenarios, each resulting in an unhappy account owner.
  • Owners with a migrated previously legacy Blogger account (created in 2007), and one or more un migrated legacy Blogger accounts. These people have one or more legacy Blogger accounts (that they don't know about), plus an already migrated previously legacy account (that can't be migrated, again).
  • Owners with a Google based Blogger account (created in 2007), and one or more un migrated legacy Blogger accounts. These people have one or more legacy Blogger accounts (that they don't know about), plus a Google based Blogger account (that can't be migrated).
  • Owners with a single un migrated legacy Blogger account, unable to migrate because of forgotten account name or password. These people have a legacy Blogger account (that can be migrated, if they know the account name, and the password).
  • Owners with a single, newly migrated legacy Blogger account (created this week, with no blogs), and a previously migrated or created Google account (created in 2007, with the owned blogs). These people are now logged in to Blogger with a new Blogger account, and cannot access their blogs, owned by their previous Blogger account.

The unhappy recipients of the email, following the instructions provided to them, posted their complaints in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.
If you have questions, please visit our Help Forum at http://www.google.com/appserve/mkt/OKddNnCN05400K and create a message with [legacy Account] in the subject line.
The confusion spread, as the forums became saturated by the complaints. Not all complaints used the "[legacy Account]" tag, suggested in the instructions. This motivated various forum helpers to use fuzzy processing techniques in sorting various forum complaints, and some non legacy issues were treated as legacy issues. Other legacy issues were overlooked, in the volume of posts.

Blogger Support, becoming aware of the numbers of complaints, created a legacy Account FAQ, and started answering questions, posted in the FAQ. And the frustration became expressed in various FAQ responses.
This is clearly not working out well for Blogger. In the true business world, heads roll when fails are so epic.
This blog owner is overlooking the history and the issues, and making no acknowledgement of his contribution to the problem.


(Update 2012/04/30 10:00): Blogger Support has now provided a form, for any legacy account owner to use, to request details.

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7 comments:

Andy said...

Chuck, thanks for this blog. I read back through quite a bit of it yesterday and it's clear you are doing a great job here.

A major problem with the Legacy fiasco appears to be that when people follow the instructions, they receive another email advising them they have NO Google accounts at all.

I've had just one email address for years, it's the same one the Legacy warning was sent to and the same one I log into Google accounts with. How can it not be associated with anything at Google?

This is a recurring theme in the FAQ thread and a point that remains unaddressed even after Brett returned for a short time.

The most reassuring reply in that thread is that if you've logged in since 2007, you're okay. What a shame this simple point wasn't made in the original email and that no follow-up email has been sent to recipients.

I wonder how many thousands of users are still going through the motions, completely unaware it probably doesn't matter at all.

Chuck Croll said...

Andy,

Thanks for the feedback, especially for this frustration.

There are a host of possible reasons for people getting email advising them they have NO Google accounts at all, and many of them are only coincidental to the legacy migration issue.

I'd like to look at your case, personally. Do you have a post in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken?

Lawrence Cooper said...

No I didn't contribute to the problem. I have one blog. Only one. I migrated it years ago, yet I received the suspect email. To add insult to injury i am unable to use Blogger's migration tool as it doesn't recognize the username at all- I keep records. This is a problem being expe rices by many people. This is being experienced by people for blogs thy have logged into regularly since 2007.

Don't blame the customers. And don't ascribe thoughts and motivations to my posts that are not an element of the post.

Lawrence Cooper said...

How does you explanation explain that I could not sign in with the legacy tool, but I could ign in directly to Blogger.com.

Chuck Croll said...

Lawrence,

If you migrated the blog years ago, then it's not owned by a Legacy account.

Did you maybe migrate the blog, by transferring it to a new Google based Blogger account?

Andy said...

Thanks Chuck,

I'm not concerned about any legacy account I might have (I entered the discussion initially because I'd assumed this was something new that I'd missed - then followed the instructions but was left no wiser so headed to the forums).

I'm now just pointing out that a major gripe from users appears to be the fact that after following the steps outlined, they are no closer to finding any old account and, instead, are advised they have no accounts associated with their ID.

People are changing their passwords and banging their heads against the wall, worried that this is some massive phishing attempt - because they aren't getting answers from Google.

Chuck Croll said...

Andy,

One of the challenges in general (Legacy and Google based Blogger accounts) is that it's always been too easy to create a new Blogger account - sometimes inadvertently.

Combine the possibility of having multiple Blogger accounts (legacy and Google) associated with any email address, having the blog now owned by a new Google account (non migrated), and the email being sent to registered owners of all unmigrated Legacy accounts (whether or not the accounts own a blog), and you have multiple possibilities for confusion.

Have you posted to your blog since 2007?