Banned for Using Google Reader's Email Feature

Album Cover: In Rainbows

"Words are a sawed-off shotgun."
Radiohead / Jigsaw Falling Into Place

Posted on January 08, 2010 10:12 PM in Computers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Anyone who's been following my blog for a decent length of time knows I'm a Google Reader user. I'm also a big fan. That being said, I've had my fair share of trials and tribulations (I'll be blogging more about the tribulations in a coming post) with the service.

Tonight, the fun continues as I find myself completely banned from accessing Google Reader at all:

Screenshot of Google 'We're Sorry...' Page

I wish I could say I was doing some mad fancy hacking to achieve this feat, but all I was doing was using Google Reader's built-in email feature.

When I read feeds, I simultaneously act as a human version of my6sense for my wife. Most of the time, I'm either sending her links to the latest Seattle Seahawks news or bizarre stuff on BuzzFeed. Occasionally when doing so, if I've sent a few emails directly from Google Reader in a relatively short amount of time, I'm presented with a CAPTCHA dialog to prove that I'm human. This has always seemed a little odd in itself, since it seems a bit far-fetched to imagine spammers using Google Reader for spamming purposes, but I've nevertheless played along since it isn't too big a hindrance.

Tonight, given the insane frenzy of what's been going on with the Seahawks as of late, I had plenty of feed items to send my wife's way. After a handful, I was presented with a CAPTCHA, per usual. However, after sending only a few more, I started noticing that the emails were failing to send (Google Reader's Ajax-driven operations typically show a notification near the top of the page that indicates whether they succeeded or failed). Since the email feature seemed to no longer be working, I tried to mark the feed item I was trying to send as unread so I could send the email later. However, that operation failed as well.

My next plan of action was to get out of Google Reader completely and come back a little later. When I returned, I was presented with the "We're sorry..." message captured above because I might be "sending automated queries." I've been banned for several hours now.

I've already filled out Google's form for reporting ban-related errors, but it seems ridiculous that I would have to fill out a form or wait for the ban to lift at all. After all, what is the CAPTCHA there for, if not to determine that I'm not a script running some automated query?

Hopefully this gets straightened out soon, 'cause I miss my feeds.


Vanessa on September 07, 2010 at 3:06 PM:

I know this is a much older post but I was wondering what the solution was.. I have two gmail accounts person and my website and when I share on one I've never once gotten the Captcha however the other account I get almost every time I send an email... which is ridiculous I'm wondering if banning my account might eventually happen to me as well


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