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You can't have both free (or extremely cheap) services and have highly available tech support. I'm not sure if you've ever been part of a company building a call center for tech support in the US but it is a nightmare. It can easily be one of the most expensive elements of having a service-oriented business.

The chap in the post isn't seeking highly available tech support. And it's not a free service - he paid.

Customers/users should never be left guessing about whether they've been forgotten or not. If you have users, have some flow like this:

1) Receive the customer communication. If you can't fix it immediately, then you immediately respond to the customer to tell them what you're doing, and clearly indicate when they will receive their next communication from you. It might be "we can't even look at this for six weeks", but if you've taken their money you should give it back.

2) Set a calendar event for your team so that they know about this if you get hit by a bus.

3) On the date, you contact the customer. If you haven't fixed the issue, then you indicate what you're doing at the moment, and give a new date by which the customer will hear from you.

If the customer is unlikely to be happy with the resolution then you describe why and describe their options.

IOW, you get what you pay for. That said, Google could do much better in customer service -- they indirectly make money on the backs of these customers. It seems deceitful to let people invest heavily in your ecosystem, knowing you won't help them when stuck (and they're so entrenched they just can't leave).

>you get what you pay for

Unless you do not, as in this case.

> indirectly make money

Indirectly? Read the blog post. $5 moved from the customer's credit card to Google's bank account. Clearly, Google is directly making money from this person.

It's a nominal amount. There aren't too many people who are developers, and the amount is likely dwarfed by several orders of magnitude by the 30% revenue on purchased apps. The $5 is purely an anti-spam mechanism. If it were free, spammers could flood the app store with cruddy apps.

Not that this excuses their behavior. App developers are a source of revenue, and treating them as such would be less evil.

What about paid enterprise services with tech support?

I work in a remote IT office and I would absolutely pay per incident for support as a user. I don't expect a free meal ticket.

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