Google is starting to delete inactive accounts. New company practice


We’ve been spoiled by the era of social media growth, when companies didn’t care about costs and tried to attract as many users as possible. Few people were worried about dead souls, abandoned accounts in which some information was stored, but the users themselves did not enter them. The economies of Internet companies that focused on reach didn’t suffer at all, and what’s more, they could claim to have more users than they actually did. There was no need to delete such accounts.

The global crisis forces companies to look for efficiency even where it is meager or the chances of finding it are illusory. One of the actions is cleaning your own archives, deleting unnecessary information, as well as closing user accounts that were inactive. Elon Musk was the first to come up with such an initiative, Twitter * will delete user accounts that have been inactive for several years, the content from them will fall into the archives. But there is no word on whether it will be possible to access such an archive and restore your data. With a high degree of probability, we can say that this will be impossible. The business of social networks is built around user information, so it is always stored. A well-known, but unpleasant fact is that by closing your account in a particular social network, you will lose access to it. But closing an account does not mean at all that the owner of the social network will delete the data you previously posted, they will simply be hidden from the eyes of other people. But the archive itself will be owned by the company. Read at your leisure the user agreements that you enter into with social networks when you start using them. You transfer the rights to your recordings to companies, the latter can dispose of them as they please. This side of “free” social media is often overlooked.

In 2020, Google carried out the first cleaning of its databases – inactive accounts received warnings that all content stored in them (mail, photos, files, and so on) would be deleted. The accounts themselves were saved. Starting in December 2023, Google plans to delete not only content, but also the accounts themselves. In addition to the direct gain in the freed up space on the servers, we can talk about indirect effects, for example, the size of the databases that need to be searched is reduced. From a business point of view, having a base of current customers, and not those who have turned into dead souls, is always useful. The effectiveness of any communications is growing, all key indicators are improving.

In Russia, this trend began in the operator market, for example, Alexander Torbakhov, CEO of Beeline, has been saying for several years that dead souls and the distribution of SIM cards is a harmful practice. We need to abandon the competition in the number of subscribers, we need DAU / MAU indicators that are typical for Internet companies, and not for the same operators. In the broadest sense, it can be argued that most markets are moving from the growth stage to maintaining the number of users, and this requires effective tools and a clear understanding of what you are doing.

This is easy to explain on the example of our site. We have a relatively low attendance, about 70-90 thousand people a day. No comparison with many other resources or YouTube bloggers who show off millions of views per video. Just take my word for it that it is not difficult to ensure attendance of 300-400 thousand people a day, the mechanics are simple, well-known, and they literally cost a penny. But here another problem arises – the advertising model in which the resource lives does not imply the sale of some general attendance, but the effectiveness of each communication. And therefore, the total number of visitors does not play any role, what is important here is something else – how many people will see the advertisement, how many of them will go to the company’s website, and ultimately buy the product. And here everything is in order, somehow unexpectedly it turns out that our site easily competes with the same bloggers with millions of views. Sometimes this is surprising in companies, especially if they have young guys who are just immersing themselves in the market. Exactly the same story, just a look from a different angle – the number of visitors does not mean, by and large, nothing. As well as for companies, it does not matter how many SIM cards they have, if a significant part simply does not work, does not bring money. The same story with accounts in services, they are dead weight.

I’ll give you another example. Any mailing list has a cost for companies, it can be converted to one contact, that is, one mailing address. Go to a long-abandoned account and see that there are hundreds of letters in it, the company was trying to show you something, to tell you about new services. Within the same Google, it seems that any such communication is shareware, but this is an appearance. Pennies are collected in huge amounts, especially over a long distance. And today it’s time to increase efficiency, to look for it where it would never have occurred to anyone before.

In Google, any action in their products is considered an activity: sending and receiving mail, uploading files to Google Drive, watching a video on YouTube, subject to authorization in your account. But if nothing like this has happened for two years, then your account is at risk. Google came up with an explanation that this is done for security reasons. But I am sure that this is not entirely true; rather, this is done for the sake of updating databases, putting the number of users in order. In the new conditions on the market, effective tools are needed, and not mailings to everyone, including dead souls. So in the next year, expect reports that will start to show excellent marketing effectiveness of companies, but a decrease in the number of users. One is directly related to the other.

This practice will spread more and more, it will become fashionable among companies. For users who use the products, it does not pose any problem or danger. But creating accounts on different social networks just in case will no longer be a simple task. Just like with SIM cards bought because of a beautiful number and in reserve, you will have to make an effort to keep them. Remember that you have them, and do certain things. The logical development of the situation will be the provision of an account saving service, it will be automatically enabled for everyone who pays for the company’s services. For example, in Google, paying for a Google One subscription is considered user activity, whether you logged into your account, used it or not, no one cares here. You are active, because you bring money and in general, the ideal client pays, but does not use.

It’s unclear how the new policies will affect account inheritance after a person’s death, each company has its own rules regarding this. But, most likely, here you will have to prove that the person has died and you have rights to the account or some of the information from it. This clearly worsens the rules, introduces new restrictions.

I can’t imagine a normal situation when a person dropped out of life for a couple of years. Sopor? Maybe. But how many such people, a hundred or two? Even going to prison does not relieve a person of the opportunity to access the Internet, use social networks (even with a direct ban, people do it anyway, since this is a huge part of life). Therefore, there are no problems for those who use something, no additional fees and payments. But the market itself is moving towards the fact that companies want to receive money from their customers, add paid services. And one of the “free” options in paid services will be a guarantee against deletion of your account.

For famous people, this can be somewhat of a problem. If you lose your account, then someone can take it, use your name. As a rule, these are scammers, the fight against them goes on in a sluggish mode on any sites, as this is too expensive.

After reporting that Twitter* started deleting inactive accounts, I even logged into mine, where I haven’t posted in a while. In general, social networks turned out to be an obsession that takes a lot of effort, time and gives nothing but virtual goodies (there are also real ones, if you actively exploit them and extract money from your subscribers, I always disdain to do this in personal accounts). My Twitter profile* remained active, I wrote something in the feed, then I left until the next time. However, even if this account is lost, will be deleted, nothing terrible will happen to me. My interest in social networks has faded by itself, there are enough working accounts and communication in them.

Do you have accounts created in reserve? Just in case? Tell us about it in the comments.

Source: — Все о мобильной технике и технологиях by

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