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Google+ users show some teeth

I am usually not very news oriented with my posts here at Biznology but today is a good day to break that trend. You see, I woke up this morning to find that one of the search marketing elite, Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land, experienced an interesting reaction to an open letter he posted on Google regarding their handling of Google+ profiles. In short, Google has shut down many attempts to set up brand pages because they are not ready for that part of the social experience yet. In fine Internet fashion, many tried to circumvent this path including Sullivan’s Search Engine Land. Google took the page down and Danny didn’t take kindly to the treatment. Find out what this controversy tells you about Google+ and its chance for success.

Here is his “letter” that was publically posted on Google+:

Hey Google, I’d say I know you’re all new to the social game and should be forgiven that you have messed up with how to handle brands here so badly. Except, you’re not new.

For one, you know that Twitter and Facebook both support brands, and that there would obviously be demand for this here. You failed to implement that support. Bad on you.

I know it’s all “field trial,” but that’s not really an excuse, given that you knew — had to know — this would happen.

Worse, you gave no clue that Google Profiles were suddenly changed to bar non-humans from using them. Before Google+ came along, this wasn’t a problem. I know. I remember Google Buzz, when plenty of brands, including our own +SEL on Google Buzz account, started up.

No one said a word against this. No one told us not to do it. So when Google+ happened, no one had any idea the rules had changed – and especially changed for Google Profiles which are a superset of Google+.

IE, plenty of profiles that have nothing to do with Google+ but which are for businesses were suddenly made outdated.

I know you have great plans to have super wonderful business profiles eventually. But if you’re going to only let a “tiny” number of businesses operate before that, then you taint them and yourselves with favoritism.
At least when you announced applications for business profiles, there was a sense that anyone interested would have some type of a fair shot. Now that’s gone.

Don’t try to put the genie back in the bottle. Restore the business profiles you have closed. Drop the rule you silently added that blocks business profiles. Let businesses use profiles here just as regular people do. Works just fine on Twitter. Then upgrade those accounts when you’re ready.
If you’re really into doing things right, that’s what you should do. Otherwise, you’re just further doing it wrong.

Well, in what I saw as an interesting development, the Google+ crowd came to Google’s defense in the comments area and as a result turned the section into a bash Danny Sullivan fest.

I am not saying whether it’s right or wrong. In fact, I could really care less other than to watch the interaction in this new social venue. If I were Google, I would be pretty excited at how many came to the search giant’s defense rather than siding with the less than flattering assessment from Sullivan. Here is a sample of some of the responses.

Paul Johnson – Whilst brands are inevitable, I think there’s a lot to be said for starting with ‘real people’ first. Gives it more of a social initial impetus.

Travis Campbell – Renewed hope that Google is doing what it takes to get it right after making so many social missteps. In order to have a chance at the masses, they must build a solid business case with +. A few upset today is a blip on the radar if they get it wrong over the long haul.

Del Williams – They told the brands NOT to do profiles and they did anyway, so the issue is not Google, but integrity of the people who run the brands. And as for facebook, it was a LONG time before they allowed brands on there.

You get the drift. Sullivan tried valiantly to defend his position but the Google fan boy parade got bigger and louder and essentially shouted him down. Once again, I have no dog in this fight. What got my attention was the intensity of the defense of the search giant turned social media fan favorite.

So I am not here to say who is right or wrong. I know we made the decision over at Marketing Pilgrim to wait until Google put their formal process in place before we went the route of creating a brand presence on the fledgling social network.

What is most interesting to note out of all of this is the passion around Google+ and Google in general. Sure this is a very small sampling of users for any data set but it is an indicator that people are paying attention to the bigger players like Sullivan and seem to be vested in Google+.

Where there is passion in business there is hope. It looks like Google may have plenty of both with Google+.

Do you agree?

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