moving google apps domains to … google apps … is painful

After having recently moved google apps accounts from the domain with an alias for our emails, to reverse it to be with aliases from the domain, I wanted to help you avoid some pain.

First – there is no easy way to do this. There is a planning doc from google apps, but google apps and google analytics aren’t even on the same page. (Trust me, we got so frustrated that we finally conferenced google in with google and listened to two highly intelligent people contradict each other. #sigh).

I don’t intend this post to be a “how to migrate your google apps domain to a new one” but I can at least hopefully help you on a few particular items. Consider this a “stuff to look out for” post with the usual YMMV caveat.

  1. There is no “switch” to change primary google apps domains.
  2. As of January 2014, the only way to do it is to DELETE your primary domain and wait for google to “fully delete it” (whatever that means) and add it back to your new google apps domain. Probably best to keep a primary that isn’t on google.
  3. Analytics is tied into a gmail, either or google apps account. Given you probably don’t want to lose analytics and PPC for 1 to 5 days, move this one a week ahead of time at least. How? Get this.
    —– to change google analytics master accounts you have to update each one individually. Really fun for an agency with a few hundred accounts under management. Thus DO THIS FIRST. If I could do it again I’d go with and move everything over there instead of waiting out even the removal of an alias from the primary.
  4. You have to remove the alias domain fully before you can add it as a new google apps domain. This includes removing it as an alias from deleted accounts, which requires restoring the account, removing the alias, deleting the old account again which resets the “up to a week to delete” clock for the deleted account. /~slams head on desk~/
  5. Removing the alias domain is hard. Searching for the alias won’t show everything. you basically have to check every group, user, resource (shared calendars) etc to see if they have it as an alias. And they probably do because you set it to automatically add that alias to all resources in the domain like google prompts you to do.

First make a backup. More on that below. AFTER backing up the accounts, even if it doesn’t get docs and calendars etc, migrate. Well, sort of.

For us, we used backupify to move our google app accounts content

Side note I also used Backupify to backup my facebook pages before requesting a merge and that was also delayed. However, I believe Backupify rocks, but gmail and facebook don’t make it easy. I couldn’t find a better solution than backupify so they get a tip of the hat from me.

Back to backupify and google apps – it does NOT move the domain or create a new app account, it just moves “most” and “some” and “tries really hard” to move the data. Works fine for the young guns but if you have 15+years of emails it won’t move it all no matter how long you wait.

Out of sequence, but see the next post on backing up your google app emails for deleted accounts or your larger accounts as backupify can’t migrate those. You have to backup and restore. Or backup and don’t restore. A great chance to start over. See next post.

Security, and Therefore Privacy, Remain Social Software Job 1!

John Battelle has an interesting post that emphasizes Security in Social Software 101.

BattellesearchbookFrom Battelle’s Search Book:

That bargain is this: we trust you to not do evil things with our information. We trust that you will keep it secure, free from unlawful government or private search and seizure, and under our control at all times. We understand that you might use our data in aggregate to provide us better and more useful services, but we trust that you will not identify individuals personally through our data, nor use our personal data in a manner that would violate our own sense of privacy and freedom.

That’s a pretty large helping of trust we’re asking companies to ladle onto their corporate plate.

Privacy and security is a complex subject.  I would venture, as someone who has gone through a bunch of software license negotiations, that most of the evil comes from clients.  Yes seriously. The vast majority of clients are ethical, but I have heard every request from prospects including "can you automatically make a copy of every inbound and outbound email of xyz person without their knowing" to "I want to install a keystroke logger on the IT managers PC. Can you help me?" and the old standby of "Y’all are great at SEO!  Do you do porn sites? (NO!)"

PiranahsMore recently we sent a fair license agreement to a prospect and they had it reviewed by some piranah lawyer who sent it back with carefully articulate points that basically suggested we just sign over rights to our own heartbeat to them now.  We refused to do business with them.

There are, perhaps, legitimate national security reasons to request data.  Yet Battelle’s point is "we trust you to not do evil things with our information." Evil is of course difficult to define, particularly when it comes to social software which is itself difficult to define.  Interestingly I find myself saying "you can’t define evil when it comes to social software but I know it when I see it."  Go figure.

ICANN considering single letter domain names

ICANN is considering single letter domain names.  No mention on the ICANN site yet of course.

I was doing research on this tonight to prepare for an interview.  Clearly ICANN is a topic that relates to branding, search engines and technology so I try to keep abreast of the latest.  But I found that research from Google, despite its all powerful status, was not as good for the LATEST information as Technorati.

In Google’s defense, the topic I was looking for was three (3) hours old.  Three hours.  Freshbot can’t keep up.  Technorati did get me to the correct URL for the latest information, or gossip even, on single letter domain namesThat was a cool success.  Google 0, Technorati 1.

Google wants ALL of your data, not just the recent stuff

… when Google tries to host my content, how much you want to bet they’ll also change what I say by adding links to things they like (for example ads) and removing unnecssary (sic) links (for example, the ones I put there). … Or, perhaps my site won’t be included at all, by some mysterious algorithm (like Google News) not deemed worthy of inclusion.

(link added by me) and

Haven’t sites been publishing RSS feeds for years? Yes, but those feeds only included recent items. Google wants ALL of our data.

Google will probably come to their senses, but if ever anyone believed trust wasn’t a big part of branding, google may, or may not, be proving a point in the next year.

Time. Collective Action. Google. Gillmor. Attention.

LordganeshA discussion of three related topics.  The first is the concept of Google as content provider, the second is the Gillmor focus on an “attention economy‚Äú and the third is collective action.  The battle matters for the PR practitioner and social scientist alike because it provides the filters to discern the winners.

Google as Content Provider

Google originally created a valuable brand through buzz from alpha geeks using a minimalist interface that worked.  It worked, it helped us find stuff, because it leveraged something under the radar which was, at the time, hard to game or trick.  That thing was described as page rank which to oversimplify means links to your web site (content) are votes for your site and therefore the site is probably more relevant.  So links about a topic mean this content is good and you probably want it so we (google) will direct you (you) to it.  They provided a service to help us make the best use of our time seeking stuff.

We cared about google because we lack long attention spans and don’t want to waste time going through 5 pages of search results to get to the answer.  We are smart and impatient and want what we want and we want it now.

[Sidebar: that elephant is Lord Ganesh the Remover of Obstacles which just seemed appropriate for this post]

Continue reading “Time. Collective Action. Google. Gillmor. Attention.”

NYT – Google controls more advertising revenue that MSM

Google Wants to Dominate Madison Avenue, Too

<snip> This year, Google will sell $6.1 billion in ads, nearly double what it sold last year, according to Anthony Noto, an analyst at Goldman Sachs. That is more advertising than is sold by any newspaper chain, magazine publisher or television network. By next year, Mr. Noto said, he expects Google to have advertising revenue of $9.5 billion. That would place it fourth among American media companies in total ad sales after Viacom, the News Corporation and the Walt Disney Company, but ahead of giants including NBC Universal and Time Warner.

I can see the suits on Madison Avenue shaking all the way from Texas.  Happy Halloween guys.  The article goes on to talk about some of the potential conflict ahead.

Not content to just suck advertising dollars from Web search, Google is using its windfall to pay for an eclectic range of ambitious projects that have the potential to radically disrupt other industries. Among other things, it is offering to build a free wireless Internet network in San Francisco, plans to scan nearly every book published and is testing a free classified advertising system it calls Google Base.

CNN also covered Google Base in a very no-nonsense manner pounding home the conflict this will cause with Google’s clients like eBay and Craigslist.  Nothing like a good fight on the horizon.

Continue reading “NYT – Google controls more advertising revenue that MSM”