Google is not great after all
September 7, 2008 9:00 PM   Subscribe

Google Groups denied two requests to add new subscribers to a listserv. Can I appeal this decision? Or, failing that, is there a way to see the two lists of emails that it denied?

I run the listserv for a University student association, managed through Google Groups. We recently had around 200 students sign up at a orientation week event to receive emails from us about upcoming events. I tried to add these emails to the list of subscribers in two batches (70 and 120), and upon learning that these were "pending review", explained the purpose of the listserv, where to find the club online, and where these new subscribers came from.

I received an email from google today saying both requests had been denied. Fwiw, the listserv's been running for a good 3-4 years, and there have been far bigger batches added in the past that were approved with no problem. I browsed around the help groups a bit, but couldn't find any information on what to do if I believe that my request to add new members was unfairly denied. Is there an appeal process in place, or am I stuck emailing a generic google help email and hoping they respond?

Furthermore - I can't seem to find a way to access the list of all the emails I entered. I stupidly did not back them up when I first added them into the group, and really don't relish the thought of trying to decipher 200-some emails written in cramped and barely legible writing all over again. I know which request numbers they were, but is that the only info Google Groups stores?

Thanks in advance; I am, understandably I think, a tad miffed about this.
posted by Phire to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
I feel your pain... once back in 2006 I was able to get a couple of batches of 100+ people added. I haven't had any luck since. This is a legitimate opt-in list for my small business that my customers specifically asked to sign up for. I was very careful to point out to Google my legitimate website (which is definitely nothing shady) which has been around for many years, and outlined how customers asked to be opted in. Declined. Tried again later. Declined.

I'll likely end up having to go to a commercial service to do anything serious with this announcement list, but I do agree that whoever runs Google Groups is slacking off and probably just using a dart board to do approvals. I was pretty pissed as I'd been so careful to make sure they knew I was above board and in the end it was a waste of my time.
posted by crapmatic at 9:34 PM on September 7, 2008

I can't help you on the Google Groups end, but does your university have listserv services set up for student clubs?
posted by thisjax at 11:51 PM on September 7, 2008

This link reads as if the submitted addresses are accessible.

1. Visit your group and click the "Management tasks" link on the right side of the page.
2. Select the "Manage members" tab.
3. Click the "Open Invitations" tab.
4. Select all of the members on the page by clicking the checkbox at the top of the list, to the left of the "Email" link.
5. Under "Set membership type," select "Unsubscribe" and click "OK".
6. Repeat this process for all of your members in the "Open Invitations" section.

That said, is there a reason you can't use the invite functionality rather than the direct add? I realize that's undesirable from a marketing point of view - certainly some quantity of people will get buyer's remorse and not follow through with the join - but I have to believe that the restrictions on inviting people are way lower than on forcing them onto the list.

In looking at the forms that do this, if you're really determined to do the overt add it wouldn't be a tremendous achievement for a middling perl hacker to write a tool that does one-at-a-time adds. There's a few small challenges, but for future endeavors you could put something together so that the students who are signing up type their address and the add happens at that point.

I'm not sure I'd try doing something to achieve this with the batch you have; Google is smart enough to watch for someone doing an add of 200 people individually over the course of 10 minutes.
posted by phearlez at 7:18 AM on September 8, 2008

Response by poster: Phearlez, I'd be fine with using the invite function if I could retrieve all the emails I originally added without having to resort to retyping everything. I've been to that link, and I don't see the email addresses I need in the 'open invitations' list. The last open invitation was issued September 2007.

We're really not gung-ho enough to care all that much about the difference between 'invite' and 'add' from a marketing stand-point; the case was simply that I chose 'add' this round because 'add' has always worked in the past and I saw no reason to do differently this time, that's all.

Thanks for the suggestions though.
posted by Phire at 12:47 PM on September 8, 2008

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