Sunday, 30 December 2012

WTF Google

tl;dr: Google charged me 5$ for a Chrome Developer's account two months ago and I still can't get into my account, although I've reported the problem right away. Apparently going public is the only way to get their attention.

Two months ago I created my first Chrome Extension. I had an itch using a crappy website. With a Chrome Extension you can run your own javascript in other websites which can greatly improve their user experience. That doesn't really matter. What does matter is that I could not publish the extension.

I have an Android app for another itch that had to be scratched. When I created that, I had to pay $25 to sign up for a Developers Account. This was for administration purposes and as a measure to prevent fraudulent applications or whatever. Ok, I get that. Besides, $25 is peanuts. So I paid.

But now Google wants even more peanuts. I thought having a Google Account meant being able to use it on all Google Services. Silly me. Of course I only had my *Android* Developer account verified! Now I needed to pay $5 to have a *Chrome Extensions* Developer account.

Nevertheless, I clicked the "Pay now for your Chrome Developers account" button, because well, $5 would not really break the bank. I entered my credit card code. After about five seconds I got a popup saying: "Uh oh. There was a problem." - "We couldn't complete your purchase because of a technical issue."

Fair enough. Being a programmer I can be very patient. I tried again, same error. Now what? More patience. Days later the problem persisted. In the meantime I had filed a ticket with Google support. Here is the entire transcript of the e-mail exchange.

-----  Oct 21, 2012
Question regarding order #xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx:
I got a "There was an error processing this order" error. I've tried again but with the same results. I would like to publish my chrome extensions, please let me know what the problem is.

----- Oct 22, 2012
Thanks for contacting the Chrome Web Store fee team. It looks like this order has been successfully charged.
Let us know if you have any other questions about this specific order.
The Chrome Web Store Team

----- Oct 23, 2012
14 hours ago I added new comments to the order, stating that I still had a problem. I've not received any reply and I'm not happy.
I can't proceed in the developer dashboard. I still get the Developer Registration page whenever I try to publish something. When I try paying I see: "Uh oh. There was a problem." - "We couldn't complete your purchase because of a technical issue."
I am getting somewhat annoyed, could you please activate my account?
By the way, I have already paid an Android Developers fee that's linked to my Google Account almost two years ago. Seems kind of strange that I have to do the same for a Chrome Developers account.

----- Oct 23, 2012
Hello Jouke,
Apologies for the delayed response. I have forwarded your concern to our specialists. I'll update you know once I hear from them. We appreciate your patience as we work to resolve your concern.
The Chrome Web Store Team

----- Nov 3, 2012

-----  Nov 6, 2012
Hello Jouke,
Apologies for the delayed response. I'm still waiting for to hear back from the relevant department. . I'll update you once I hear from them. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to resolve your concern

So now it's almost 2013, and I'm still waiting.
The amount has been charged  from my card by the way, so technically, they stole my $5. The Extension I developed would be useful to thousands of people, and it'd be a great example of why Chrome Extensions are a good idea. So I'd say that it'd be very good for Google if I could publish it. Instead, Google is creating frustration with developers.

Oh, and it has been discussed by others on the Chromium apps Google Group as well.

Hopefully this will generate a bit of noise and Google will do something. You can discuss this on Hacker News