This one time I couldn’t access the Google products that I use all day, every day:
- I have 14 email addresses piped into my Gmail account
- Google Search
- This is the bedrock of my existence!
- Google Analytics
- I look after 40+ websites and couldn’t access any data
- Google Docs
- Google Adwords
- Google Adsense
- Picasa Web Albums
- Google Maps
It all started 2 weeks ago when I got a static IP address from Telecom (for free as part of the 40GB Total Home package). Almost immediately I noticed that I couldn’t access YouTube, but this didn’t ring alarm bells because I thought it was just a bug or they had high traffic at that moment. But when I couldn’t access my Gmail account a week later, that’s when I got really worried. And then when I noticed I couldn’t access anything else owned by Google I spotted the pattern.
I couldn’t access any of these Google services but other websites in NZ and overseas worked fine.
It was so bad that if I visited a website that used Google Maps, I couldn’t see the map but I could see the rest of the website.
I couldn’t run my business. Email is my core function. It is how I communicate.
I was cut off.
I tried clearing browser cache, tried 3 different browsers: Firefox, IE, Chrome. All with no improvement.
After 3 days of waiting for the problem to disappear on it’s own, I conducted a few Google searches via my iPhone (I turned off WiFi so I was using Vodafone 3G) and I began to suspect that my static IP address was the problem.
After a 60 minute phonecall with Telecom (on a Sunday) with 3 different people (2 in Malaysia + 1 New Zealander) who all suggested clearing the cache and trying different browsers, the last one agreed that a black-listed static IP address was probably the problem. He told me to go to www.telecom.co.nz/staticip to request a new one. I did so.
12 hours later I got an email regarding the request that asked “have you tried a different browser?”.
Yes, that made me furious.
But I held my temper and simply replied “yes, of course I have. Please change my static IP address immediately.”
4 more hours later, it was done. I was assigned a new IP address and all Google’s services are available to me again, hooray!
Why did Google block my IP address in the first place?
Perhaps the computer assigned my first IP address was used for automated Google searches or spamming and was black listed by Google? Perhaps my computer is infected with Malware and automated searches were being conducted without me being aware of it? I don’t know.
Will Google block my IP address again?
I bloody hope not. But if it does, I know what to do next: I’ll go to http://www.telecom.co.nz/staticip and request yet another one.
What have I learned from this?
This experience has reminded me just how dependent I am, and my business is, on Google’s free products/services.
Perhaps I should purchase a single Google share (about US$520 each at the moment), so at least I can justify my sense of entitlement.