Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Google ate my email address

Just now I did a routine Google search whose top result ended up being a thread on Google Groups. To my shock, when I tried to click on this link, Groups would not let me view the thread. Instead, I saw this message:

Update Email Address

You've changed the email addresses associated with your Google Account since the last time you visited Google Groups.
You need you to decide what to do with your subscriptions on your old email address.

Removed Addresses: ron [at] flownet [dot] com
Edit your Google Account Addresses
You can choose to re-add these addresses to this Google Account from the Google Account page.

Trick is, I hadn't made any changes to my account. Worrying that I'd been hacked, I started checking out all my settings but nothing seemed amiss. OK, no problem, I thought, I'll just add the flownet email back into my account. But when I tried that, I got this message:

There's already a Google Account associated with this email address. Please sign in; or, if you forgot your password, reset it now

Well, that's strange. Yes, there is an account associated with that address, but it's *my* account! Well, maybe this is just some kind of transient weirdness that will go away if I log out and log back in again. I tried that, and got this:

Your account has changed

This account has an alternate email address, This address is no longer available because an organization has reserved this flownet.comemail address.

You are now signed in with your primary address. Except for the removal of the alternate email address, nothing has changed.

WTF?!? This address is not longer available? Because some (unnamed) organization has reserved it? How is that possible? I've owned the domain since 1993. How can someone reserve a address without my knowledge or approval?

This is a serious problem, because I am signed up to a ton of Groups under my flownet email. Until this gets sorted out I am completely cut off from all of these lists (including, ironically, a list of ex-Googlers who might be able to help me solve this problem).

I have been digging around trying to figure out what happened and how I can fix it for the better part of an hour now with no success. As best I can determine, it has something to do with Google plus (one of the help pages I landed on says, "If you signed up for Google+, your Accounts settings page might have been updated.") and the fact that I use Postini (now owned by Google) for spam filtering on (Since is one of the older domains on the Internet it gets boatloads of spam.)

If anyone reading this can get the word to Google that they've screwed this up I'm sure many people would be very grateful. I can't be the only one having this problem.


Anonymous said...

Maybe someone (or you) requested a google apps account for your domain name?

Selfcommit said...

You should be able to open a ticket with GoogleApps to resolve this.

(Actaully, did you recently create a GoogleApps account? That could be interfering with your account.)

leoluk said...

Yes, definitely a Google Apps issue. Maybe you set it up for your domain and forgot about it. The organization who claims your address is actually your own Google Apps domain.

When they extended Google Apps to mostly all Google Services, they removed all Google Apps mail addresses from regular profiles so you can use these to login to your GApps account instead.

Try to login there:

PJ Brunet said...

Ah yes, once start "converting" to Google Apps you're down the rabbit hole, you'll get all kinds of strange issues like this.

For example, Google Plus wasn't available if you had a Google Apps account. So in my case to get to plus I had to log out, log in with the same username but different password, ignore the error page, then type

Even more fun, now that Plus is available for Apps, they didn't bother to provide a way for you to transfer your data from your "personal" Plus to Apps Plus account. So now I have two Google Plus accounts, both have the same username ;-)

Now they just added a "feature" where I can be logged into both accounts at the same time, but some Google products are not compatible with the "dual login" concept, so forget that.

If you get Apps you're on the cutting edge I suppose, so for now these issues are worth struggling with.

Ron said...

No, I have not signed up for Google Apps. The only change I have made to my account was signing up for Google Plus, and that was months ago when it was still invitation-only.

I do have (as I mentioned in the post) a Postini account that I use to filter flownet's email, but I signed up for that over a year ago.

Anonymous said...

I have been having the same problem with YouTube for since the time they combined YouTube usernames with your gmail email id usernames. This is annoying to say the least.

It looks like Google does not know how to combine credentials. Now that all the emails are being combined with Google+ I wonder what is going to happen.

It might be time to start looking for an alternative to Google.

Ewantoo said...

While you might not of signed up for Google Apps on, someone has.

If there isn't a Google Apps account for that domain, then the page that leoluk linked to wouldn't work.

Since you don't say you've tried it, I've tried the password recovery on Google apps and it says:

We have emailed instructions on resetting your password to your backup secondary address, which ends in:

So someone with a valid email address did sign up for Google Apps, whch is causing your problem.

Ron said...

> So someone with a valid email address did sign up for Google Apps

No, I don't think so. I think what happened is that Google turned my Postini account into a Google Apps account without telling me. There does indeed seem to be a Google Apps account for flownet, but I didn't create it, and the only service that seems to be active on it is Postini.

Wes Felter said...

The same thing happened to me today. Google is creating Apps accounts for all Postini customers, so now you have a regular Google account and an Apps account.