YouMail

With a case of bad communication now cleared up, YouMail has made its way back to the Android Market. As it turns out, T-Mobile was to blame for the pulling but it was all pretty much a misunderstanding and if nothing else -- a hard lesson for YouMail.  As noted on the YouMail blog, here is what happened:

  • First, a  subset of the YouMail Android applications have a real problem.   It looks like 15,000 users who went straight from 1.8.3 (an old version) to 2.0.45 (the one that was in the market and was taken down) got into a situation where the app is polling our servers continuously (the polling time got set to zero).   Of course, this leads to a host of issues for those clients, such as bad battery life, and a boatload of transactions, eating up network bandwidth.   T-mobile saying that we disrupted their network is fair, though we were unknowingly causing that.
  • Second, T-mobile did try to reach out to us that they were seeing an issue.   Unfortunately, it was in way that was almost guaranteed to be ineffective, and is probably not how businesses should communicate.   As far as we can tell, one of their engineering team sent an e-mail to our free customer support e-mail address in early November, and one of the support team basically replied it’s fixed in next release and treated it as resolved, not reporting it to anyone else.   With 1000s of e-mails/week from over two million registered users, random users weekly threatening to pull us from various stores, and lots of users with tmobile.com email addresses,  it was easy for this one message to get lost in the shuffle.   
  • Third, after almost 30 days with no response from us, T-mobile went to Google with charts showing the traffic our bad apps were generating, said we were unresponsive, and that the traffic was growing quickly.   Google then immediately cut us off - without ever sending us an e-mail beforehand, or providing us anyway to contact someone at T-mobile. That left us wondering what the heck was going on - and having a hard time figuring it out.

So, as you can tell -- T-Mobile did have genuine concerns wth YouMail disrupting their network but they seemingly went about handling them the most uneffective way possible. Either way, lesson learned -- one for YouMail and potentially other developers out there and now YouMail is back in the Android Market where it belongs.

Source: YouMail

 
There are 12 comments

icebike says:

Maybe if Youmail would actually POST A PHONE NUMBER on their web page this wouldn't happen.

I'm pretty tired of companies who a) communicate via twitter, b) force you thru some webmail interface, c) hide behind a go-daddy domain registration which does not provide a phone number.

You would think this was some fly by night purple pill pusher the way they hide. Its their own damn fault, and they got what was coming to them.

T-Mobile posts their tech support numbers. Is YouMail too stupid to pick up the damn phone? These clowns really are too dumb to be running around loose in the world writing software for phones.

hmmm says:

Google is horrible with customer support and communication.

miller7796 says:

So the lesson is, don't email YouMail for support, because it will probably get lost...even though there really isn't any other way to contact them.

cguella says:

On the other hand I never heard of them until this "crisis".

icebike says:

Which is just as well. They offer nothing you can't get for free from Google Voice, which works perfectly regardless of carrier.

Steve G#AC says:

Wait...so YouMail acknowledges that someone inside their company was notified of a technical issue but didn't understand the magnitude of the problem and blew it off...and had a rogue app version flooding their own servers for 30 days without them even realizing it (where are their own monitoring tools?)...and they only offer to *share* the blame with T-Mobile? Alrighty then.

icebike says:

YouMail doesn't have any monitoring tools that can monitor t-Mobile's servers.

The problem was that Youmail was supposed to send the standard documented GSM code to switch the voicemail number on T-Mobile to YouMail's number. There is also a GSM code to see what the voice mail number is set to at the carrier.

See these codes here: http://geckobeach.com/cellular/secrets/gsmcodes.php

The problem was that youmail got into a check-the-number loop and was hammering the t-mobile servers from all of these handsets. Essentially this amounted to a distributed denial of service attack against a major carrier. (They could just as well have been arrested for this.).

bbennett40 says:

Lesson: Tech support for users is ineffective.

CeluGeek says:

Non-premium YouMail users should take note. Don't bother emailing YouMail for support. If they dismissed a genuine and critical issue of T-Mobile's, the odds of getting your issues solved don't look promosing.

miller7796 says:

Their support forum help isn't much better.

robbloyd says:

I used the app on my Pearl... Storm... OG DROID, and for about a week on the X. I never had an issue until I got to the X... and it was a pretty big one. The stupid app killed my battery 3 times in one day. It took me over an hour to finally reach someone to give me the CORRECT info I needed to take this off my phone. Never again.

tronthedon says:

Now I'm glad this happened to them. They were obviously fully responsible with their craptacular support.