Business engineering google social networking

Google Apps update – is now working

trefSince Monday I’ve been trying to set up a Google Apps for Business account for I kept getting rejected with a message saying that “the domain was already in use”.

I was using it via my personal gmail account – picking up emails pulled from my Timico POP3 mailbox. Deleted any reference to in my personal mailbox then when Google continued to reject my efforts to register a new apps account I discovered you have to wait 24 hours for “things to filter through the system”.

Over 24 hours later it still didn’t work and I made a comment to this effect on Twitter. Twitter is a truly powerful networking tool.  @AndyCDoyle offered to help and this lunchtime, having started to raise a ticket with Google, he found that there was already a Google Apps account for Funnily enough it was one I registered meself years ago. I’d totally forgotten about it.

A password reset came through to the recovery email address, my own personal gmail account,  and hey presto I was up and running. Ish. It does take time to learn how to navigate your way around and I can see why a business might want to contract the setup out to an IT consultant.

One thing that flummoxed me was that in all the help guides it says you have to verify that the domain is yours. None of the relevant fields appeared on my screen so either I had already done it (certainly don’t recall that which I’m beginning to find out perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise) or when I signed up for Google Apps you didn’t need to do that step. I suspect the former is true.

Setting up email was easy. I just had to modify the Timico hosted zone files so that the MX records pointed at 5 google servers. Once that was done it worked straight away. Simples. I can now add aliases to my heart’s content and because the account was set up before Google started charging it’s all free. Result!

It would appear that I can have up to ten users in the free account which is going to do me for the forseeable future. Not figured out how much storage I get yet but I have over 100GB in my other account thanks to me buying a Chromebook so that should be fine for a couple of years.

I’ve already set up some aliases including one for use in tradeshow registrations that is automatically filtered and archived 😉

Important to make a bit of progress every day and this is progress.

PS As you may have noticed at the top of this post I’m experimenting with new profile pics. Have managed to change my personal gmail pic but struggling with  one for the new account. Keeps telling me the jpg photo is an invalid file. Google Apps is great for many things but it ain’t perfect and seems to have plenty of bugs that need kluges to work around. Not figured out a kluge for the profile pic yet.

PPS big thanks to Andy Coyle. Was surprised to hear he has a broad Mancunian accent. Shouldn’t have been because he lives in Manchester but that’s Twitter for you. Andy there will be a beer waiting for you when I come up for UKNOF27. Also you might want to think about using his services especially if you are in the Manchester area. His website is here.

Ciao all.

Business google

New business bank accounts for startups and problem with Google Apps for Business domain

Went to open a business bank account yesterday. It’s not opened yet. There are hoops to jump through, despite the fact that I have been with the same bank since I was a kid.

In fact the business bank manager was able to do nothing apart from record the details of the new business. Approval has to be gained by some examining committee or other. He couldn’t even look online to see what was all about. There is no internet access at the bank. Quite a good thing really when you think about it.

It’s all about money laundering. I had the same issues in having to prove who I was at the accountant and the lawyers. In fact the lawyer, Helen, told me they had to reauthenticate my identity every three years. I guess a lot could change in three years. I might have a sex change. It isn’t without precedent in this industry.

My main concern in seeing the bank manager was the charges. As a start up it’s free for 18 months which is good. However preparing already for the future I had taken a quick skeet online to see what it would cost eighteen months hence. The numbers weren’t particularly attractive. Looking a bit closer whilst in at the bank I found that online banking was pretty much free. I don’t plan on doing much non online banking. It reaffirms that everything needs to be online and automated.

When starting Timico one of the first things we did was to take on an accountant, also coincidentally called Helen (highly efficient and top operator 😉 ). Pretty much everything is going to be outsourced at so I’m intitially doing it all myeslf. I imagine the only skills we will really need will be editorial and web development (see ad – if you know anyone we are hiring).

Anyway the banking ball is rolling. Next up VAT  number.

The other bit of “progress” yesterday was to get an advert up on the Lincoln University graduate jobs board. I like the idea of creating local jobs. A developer could in theory work from anywhere. Anywhere with a decent internet connection and as long as it was within reasonable reach of Greenwich Mean Time. I want the developer to be in the same room as me. Ideas grow when you can bounce them off people. is actually going to be a partnership. More about Matt, the other partner, later. Sometime over the Christmas break Matt and I met in a pub for lunch and to work on the spec for the forthcoming website refresh. We sat next to each other working on the same document on our own laptops. We chatted about the content we could see in front of us and each made changes to the doc in real time based on our discussion.

Now this is also doable remotely using hangouts and video conferencing but on that occasion it suited us to “do lunch”. Google Apps is looking like an invaluable set of tools for us and will be using a Google Apps for Business account.

In theory this is straightforward to set up. However in practice it hasn’t been so. This is because I already had  the domain associated with my personal gmail account. After an initial flurry of investigation following a message that told me “this domain is already in use” I figured out a plan.

Stop mail forwarding from Timico’s mail servers & access mail via webmail interface, delete all references to on my gmail account, set up domain in new Google Apps For Business Account and repoint Timico mail servers at that mailbox. Turns out Timico wasn’t forwarding the mail but Gmail was pulling it from the POP3 mailbox.

What’s more having done all this Google still wouldn’t let me set up the new account with that domain. Now I find I have to wait 24 hours. So tonight’s job will again be setting up the google Apps for Business account. In principle we could get away without a business account but I want the ability to manage multiple aliases from one gmail account.

One of the things that’s put me off email after nearly ten years at Timico is the amount of “legitimate” spam that comes through. With the new business I will be using a specific alias for all online registrations which I can then filter into a separate folder away from harms way and my line of sight.  I know that some people use different specific email aliases for different registrations so that they can see who is selling the contact database. I’d be interested in hearing any results of doing this. Naming and shaming.

Got to go. VAT number to sort out. Ciao.