Developers Outsource Support to Google Groups: Fail

04/06/2011

Yesterday, I bought TaskPaper, a simple to-do list manage from the Mac App Store. I had a reproducible crashing issue, and wanted to contact support. But support is only available via Google Groups. So, I had to post this review on the Mac App Store, in hopes I would get a reply.

I shouldn’t have to write a review to get support, but more and more developers are “outsourcing” their support to Google Groups these days.

I bought the app yesterday, seeing that it was on sale for $5. It’s well worth that, even more, but not $30. It’s a practical, simple tool, which, for me to-do list needs, is ideal. (I have OmniFocus, but only use it for big projects where lots of people are involved.)

But I have a problem: whenever I press Command-Shift-Return, the program crashes. So I went to the “Support” page and found that I could post a message to Google Groups. But that message was rejected, because, apparently, I have to be a member of that group. I don’t want to be a member of any Google group, so this means that, essentially, I can’t get support.

I’ve had this problem with other apps, and, while I can understand developers using free (well, “suck up user data and monetize it” support solutions, I think it’s a serious failure in serving customers. I won’t use apps if I know they only offer support like this, because it isn’t the way I expect to get support.

Hence this review. I’m sure the developer reads the reviews here, and may even attempt to contact me; he’ll have no trouble finding me if he does so. But developers should be aware that the free Google system doesn’t always work.