Remember the Milk customer service? Yeah right.

I’m really frustrated by an ongoing issue with iCalendar feeds coming from my lists at Remember the Milk being consumed improperly by Google Calendar.  And the thing that is most frustrating?  They don’t seem to give a damn that the problem may very well be on their end.

Have a look at the help forum posting here.  The conversation gets real interesting when user wernst starts to do some digging into why the feeds aren’t working.  What he uncovers is that the RTM iCalendar feeds contain an excessive amount of timezone information.   He even sets up a new account, removes everything from the lists so that there are no to-dos and no events, and then grabs the feed.  That feed also contains excessive amounts of timezone information even though it has no events associated with it.   Emily from RTM insists its all about the timezones:

(for anyone curious, those lines describe the timezone; extremely important for ensuring your tasks display at the correct time!)

That’s all well and good but why is the timezone being described, in detail back to the year 1918, for a feed that has no events?  As wernst points out the feeds coming from AirSet, which can parse the RTM feeds, and which he then forwards to Google Calendar, don’t have all of that timezone information and, *gasp*, Google Calendar reads them properly.

So it very well might be an issue on Google’s end but I think it’s pretty clear that RTM is generating feeds, that while valid, don’t work properly everywhere.   I could probably form some valid XML that not all parsers can deal with.  That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t fix the XML to make it easier to parse.  RTMs position is that since Google is grabbing the feeds regularly the issue is out of their hands.   Google may very well be getting the feeds in a timely manner.  That doesn’t mean they’re parsing them properly.

To the folks at RTM:  your customer service in this instance sucks.  I can’t be much more blunt than that.  You had a paying customer do a lot of work for you and you’re passing it off like you can’t possibly have anything to do with the problem since Google manages to at least grab the feeds OK.  BOOO!!!!

I love your application but you guys need some work on the customer service front.  Sheesh.  Google is the 800lb gorilla here.  You’d do well to work with them to figure out what the hell is happening for the many users of both your service and theirs.  Just insisting that the calendar feeds are valid and then closing the posting certainly isn’t going to fix anything.

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