I still remember a time without the internet. I remember when people, published indexes, printed books and guides, and other analog sources of information was all that was available. It’s my belief the interwebs started becoming too smart for it’s own good back around the introduction of MySpace.
Once upon a time, I was able to easily setup and configure my Google Adwords account. I could navigate through setting up email DNS settings in my zone records. I could update my credit card easily for online services. But things have become so overly complicated. In an effort to make things ‘better’, most interweb applications have evolved to being so complicated you almost need specialized training to use them, or they’re endless loops of time wasting redirects and referrals to other places.
Take updating my credit card on Zoho, for instance.
I’ve tried various methods to create web pages over past few decades of interwebing. I published a few websites on Zoho.com. One site still exists, along with a domain name purchased from Zoho for simplicity. This year I received several emails from [email protected] about the renewal. It advised my credit card would be charged (in about 2 weeks), and I should click a link to update my card, and email was signed Domains Purchase, Customer Relations, Zoho Corp., [email protected], +1 (888) 900 9646.
Here’s the red flag: The payment link was https://zoho.email-view.com. Who is email-view.com? It wasn’t Zoho, that’s for sure… maybe it’s a phishing email trying to steal my credit card info!! Let me browse to that URL… it immediately redirects to https://internal1-transmail.zoho.com/. At least that’s a Zoho.com website. But how do I know ‘internal1-transmail’ is not a phishing site setup by imposter using a Zoho-Sites created site? To continue the confusion, the redirected site asked to send emails to yet another domain, [email protected] OK, if you go to the transmail.com website, it finally hits a zoho.com domain that looks like maybe it’s a genuine Zoho owned site.
But I’m still left with the problem of maybe verifying my payment information, so my domain renews properly in a few weeks. So I login to my account and goto accounts.zoho.com. After browsing for about 5 minutes, going to various tabs, account settings, profile, subscriptions, I wasn’t able to find where my credit card information was stored, and click the small ‘?’ for help. It takes me to page titled ‘Zoho Accounts Help’. Great. I type in update card. Nope. No results match your search. credit card. No results match your search. payment. No results match your search.
I could go on. And on. I’m sure after I spend time emailing Zoho’s support, waiting for a reply, etc., I’ll get my account information updated. And it’s not just Zoho. (Although I did abandon most of Zoho years ago when I found someone elses data in my ZohoCRM account… which they quickly ‘corrected’ without explanation about how it happened.)
But the point is… things are so complicated in todays interwebs. Nobody seems to know anything, and time is no longer saved. Even when you reach a tech support person by phone – or live chat – their knowledge is more than often than not limited to the FAQ already listed on their site.
Today instead of expending time communicating with people, ‘technological advances’ fill our time with meaningless automated redirects, endless phone trees, and another ticket number for each.