How To Sign Into My Google Account On Play Store – For the uninitiated, Google Workspace is a paid version of Google’s suite of products, including Gmail (with your own domain, not a gmail.com address), Google Calendar, and Google Docs. It used to be called G Suite and before that it was Google Apps. When it launched in 2006, Google Apps was free, and even after Google started charging new customers, those who adopted it kept it free. This year, after abandoning an unpopular plan to force everyone to pay, Google required free users of Google Workspace to certify that they were not using the product for commercial purposes (see May 18, 2022).
Well, what if you can’t make this statement, or worse, you don’t realize it’s necessary because you’re not a super administrator of your Google Workspace account and you haven’t been in that role for a long time? My new client found out the hard way: Google turns the account into a paid version, and after a grace period for adding payment information, suspends the entire account and bans access to any mailbox.
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This is about me going down a deep rabbit hole to reset my account. It’s also a cautionary tale that if an account is important to you, even if someone else sets something up for you, it should be a top-level manager. (That’s why I buy “white label” reseller services without opening an account at the source. What if your seller is missing?)
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My client, let’s call him Connie, has had a one-person work email since the early days of Google Workspace. (The person and domain names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent.) He woke up one day to find that his email address was no longer available on any device. Connie accessed her email address through the Gmail web app, so she had no Mail email history on her Mac. When trying to download Gmail, Connie was told that her account had been suspended and that she should contact her administrator. Which admin? It was my job to find out.
Google doesn’t provide an easy way to contact an account manager or identify an administrator’s email address. In an organization with a large IT department, a certain amount of this policy might make sense, but in this case there was a liability.
I asked Johnny if anyone else had opened an account. He thought so, but the only person he could think of was John, who he still keeps in touch with. Unfortunately, neither of them remembered the password for their Google account. Worse, our attempts to reset his password were met only with instructions to contact an administrator… theoretically John himself. This led him to believe that there was another administrator with another account in the game, but Johnny couldn’t remember who it was.
Then Google “Forgot your email?” option that allows you to find your Google Account email address using your recovery email address or your phone number and last name. Google found private (inactive) accounts for Johnny and John, but no one else.
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What’s next? Google’s Admin Toolbox has a somewhat obscure feature that lets you submit a user request to a Super Admin (or contact an admin, but that doesn’t help us). To submit this form, you must edit the DNS zone records for the domain. So I did, but unfortunately it didn’t work.
The results of the form said that Google would contact the existing Super Admin and, if there was no dispute, Connie’s promotion to Super Admin status would happen automatically after 72 hours. This did not happen. Unfortunately, the application said that the request would be processed manually and any additional information needed would be requested via email…it’s hard to respond when your email account is closed. It’s a chicken and egg scenario. Google failed to address this situation.
I’m afraid the suspended account has been deleted and I had to speak to someone at Google after my client hasn’t been emailed for five days; the only way it works is to have an active and paid Google Workspace account. So I used my account and luckily the support agent helped me even though the issue was about another account. Redirected to another form that allows you to specify a non-domain email address for contact. The form provided instructions to further edit the DNS zone, which I eagerly did, but had no choice. When I received an automated response, my suspicions that Google support was overwhelmed, that they were closing the case, and that I should use the Toolbox Admin form were justified. I already tried. Another hour burned.
After looking around, I was surprised to find that the suspended Google Workspace account still allows access to the user’s Google contacts. Inside, I could see a company directory with a third email account name and a Google Workspace email address that had both and I assumed it was Super Admin. Let’s call that person Rachel Cole. That was a partial victory!
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It was the middle of the night, maybe I could have waited until morning to ask Connie if she had Rachel’s contact information, maybe I could have found Rachel online, but I was hot on the road. Also, I didn’t want to go to all the trouble of finding out that Google had hacked a suspended account while I was waiting for more information.
I tried to reset the password for Rachel’s account and this time I was given several different options that she was indeed an administrator. In particular, it should specify its recovery email address as the key: ••@daw••••••••.com.
I searched for Rachel by her full name and found a job on LinkedIn that matched her email address: Dawson & Cole. Then I searched for Dawson & Kole and found some links to dawson-kole.com. Bingo. (Few search results made it hard to tell what the company did.)
The dawson-kole.com domain didn’t have a website, so I consulted the ever-present and invaluable Wayback Machine, although the dawson-kole.com website was not known for its content between 2008 and 2016. it is often shown regardless of the date it was taken.
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There was also a more important hurdle: if dawson-kole.com is indeed a valid domain and I can correctly guess the full recovery email address, how can I send Google’s two-factor code to that address? I checked to see if dawson-kole.com was still registered…and it wasn’t! Fortunately, the domain was not re-registered by a squatter. So I registered it with my GoDaddy account. Now there was dawson-kole.com. Yes.
GoDaddy no longer offers free email with domain registration, so I thought I’d create a new Google Workspace account for dawson-kole.com. But Google won’t let me do that because this domain has never been removed from the Google world, there is no domain registered behind it. It seemed like a great opportunity to test out the newer iCloud+ custom email domains feature (“How to Set Up Custom Email Domains with iCloud Mail”, August 27, 2021).
I was pleased to find that the process was a breeze – I went to iCloud.com, entered my domain, entered GoDaddy when prompted, and iCloud took care of setting the region tag. I chose not to create an email address because I didn’t know what was going to happen and what I did was everything and every message sent to dawson-kole.com went to iCloud Mail. Huzza!
After sending a few test emails to confirm that I could email dawson-kole.com, I went back to Google Workspace and tried to guess the recovery email address: [email protected], [email protected] email protected] , [email protected] After the third try I was so shocked I stopped trying again for a few hours. Like anyone who tries to remember an iPhone passcode, I decided to carefully study my next guess.
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I did some additional internet research but could not find Rachel’s email address (for dawson-kole.com anyway). So I took another crack at the Wayback Machine. But all his pictures returned the same thing – a single frame with a broken image.
I had an idea of what was going on: the late 2000s were still the days of Adobe Flash-based websites, and some sites wouldn’t display at all if Flash Player wasn’t installed. In 2022, Flash will be blocked by every major browser and Adobe itself. I looked at the image source code on the Wayback Machine and found a link to one