It’s crazy the number of emails we have received in the past few days from clients who received a terrifying sounding email from Google. The email went out to millions of G Suite users that contained the following line:
“You are receiving this email because users within your organization may have active links within their documents, websites, scripts, or applications that go to Google’s G Suite Domain Contact page. On August 31, 2020, the Domain Contact page will be removed, since it contains the Admin contact details of Google’s customers. If your users don’t remove internal links to this page in their resources, the links will break as of August 31, 2020, resulting in a “404 Error” code.”
The email then goes on to reference the exact domain of the receiver, and because of this, the amount of panic this email has caused business owners, with websites that they rely on for their day to day operations, is unbelievable. I’m not sure why Google would word things in such a mysterious way without further explanation for users in a mass email.
Do I have this link? How do I know?
I know none of the sites we have built — I mean ZERO — would have included such a link. Unless your G Suite administrator included it as a contact link for users to manually provide IT support contact info to the users on the domain, such a link would not exist on almost anyone’s website.
I can see instances, perhaps, of VERY large businesses or corporations, with an IT staff, that might have put together a contact page that would contain such a link. But, it is very doubtful that smaller or even mid-sized organizations would have it.
What will happen if I have the link and don’t remove it?
The panic this email has caused includes people convinced that their site will quit working after August 31, if something isn’t done. This is, of course, not the case.
As I have been telling my clients for the past five days, Google has publicly confirmed that this is a non-issue for the vast majority of G Suite account owners, and the message can be safely disregarded.
Even if a website were to include such a link, the worst thing that would happen is when someone clicks on it, they would be met with a 404 error page saying that page no longer exists. That’s it! A simple page no longer exists message.
Don’t stress! Your site isn’t going to explode; your pages aren’t suddenly going to get de-indexed in Google search; your customers won’t be left wondering if you closed shop. None of that is going to happen! You are going to be fine.
If you are on a Website Maintenance Plan that includes checking for broken links regularly and you had this link, it would be caught and, hopefully, rectified by the service provider you use.
I see no reason to go looking for it, as it probably doesn’t even exist on your site. Unless you know that you included a link to have people contact your G Suite admin directly on your website, it’s probably not there.
So, what’s actually going on here?
Just to give you some background. This link of Google’s G Suite is being removed due to possible privacy issues. If a random person were to get access to your unique G Suite link for contacting your G Suite administrator they could potentially get the contact information of your organization’s administrator. Generally, this wouldn’t matter much with smaller companies, but for larger enterprises and corporations, it could expose sensitive information that they may not want the public to have.
I know our company’s particular link, just as your link possibly, no longer contains this information. But, that doesn’t mean that someone who is experienced in malicious attempts couldn’t find a way to retrieve it. Thus, they are removing the link entirely, and it will now show a “404” error when someone goes there.
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