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Google Decides GrandCentral Number isn’t for Life



After Google acquired GrandCentral, I decided to sign up for the service. It seemed like a smart move–a service that offers a central phone number and now owned by Google. A great service could only get better, right?

Well, it appears that Google’s decided to risk a whole bunch of bad publicity by going back on GrandCentral’s claimed “one number for life” promise.

Judi Sohn recently received the following email from Google

Dear Judi Sohn,

We are sorry to inform you that your GrandCentral number (703) xxx-xxxx will need to be changed as of August 25, 2007. As part of our beta testing, we are continually evaluating different solutions and partners to create the best quality service possible. Unfortunately, a very small number of users have been assigned numbers that are not performing to our quality standards and are being replaced with higher quality services. To ease the transition to a new number, we have already added (703) yyy-yyyy as a replacement number to your account. Both of these numbers will ring your GrandCentral account until the 25th of August, at which point only the (703) yyy-yyyy number will remain active. Your login and everything else regarding your account will remain the same, including all your settings, voicemails, and contacts. If you have any questions or would like to request a different number, please reply to this email and we?ll do our best to accomodate you.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and hope you continue to enjoy the GrandCentral service.

Sincerely,

Craig Walker & Vincent Paquet
GrandCentral Founders

It appears that the emails are only going out to a small number of users, but even a few recipients is enough to give the service a bad reputation.

Google’s spin doctors must have worked overtime to come up with…

“Unfortunately, a very small number of users have been assigned numbers that are not performing to our quality standards and are being replaced with higher quality services.”

Smells like bullsh$t to me. I’ve handled PR for tech companies a long time. Any time you make a change for the good of the company’s bottom line, you always try to spin* it to the benefit of the customer–it sounds so much better than “we’re going to save a bunch of money by screwing with your service.”

Ok, so maybe Google truly does have its customers best interests at heart, but honestly, is it that difficult to let these customers simply transition off of the old number at their own pace?  One week to let everyone know you have a new number is ridiculous!

* I’m now reformed and practicing radical transparency. ;-)

(via)

  • http://www.seorefugee.com/seoblog SEO Refugee Blog

    Someone should do a video of the future with a G-bot going around killing people with the explanation of “Unfortunately, a very small number of users have been living lives that are not performing to our quality standards and are being replaced with higher quality services.” What a crock of ****!

    “Google, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways….”

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    LOL!

  • http://www.masquenumber.com Del

    Hey what did you expect… Grand Central biz model was based on buying costly stuff (numbers are expensive) and giving them away for free to everyone. The goal? Get the buzz, get bought. They raised 4.4M$ to be bought $50M less than 2 years after. A great success for the investors and the founders. Customers not happy? Oh well… This service was not made for customers in the first place.

    Now Google’s accountants looked at the bottom line and said stop. Normal.

    My customers used to ask why they have to pay for their Masque Numbers when Grand Central gave numbers away for free. Now they know.
    Our own company can survive without being bought, so if you really want a number for life… you know where to go!