Posted by tallulahlucy
Google made news headlines a few weeks ago by launching their long-awaited Brand Pages. However, it seems in their enthusiasm they went off less than half-cocked.
The Brand Pages look nice on the surface. Promises of delightful features like hangouts and separate circles dangle from the virtual branches like candy before the hungry children that are the world’s digital marketers. However, like the gingerbread cottage in the tale of Hansel and Gretel, something nasty lurks just inside the doorway.
Firstly, you need to be a person to start a brand page. You can’t start a page without a Google+ account and you can’t have a Google+ account without signing up for an email address or some such. There’s already been quite a furore regarding Google+ and the fact that you have to use your real name. Some people want to remain anonymous online. Google seems to believe that anonymity breeds trolling – or perhaps your data is just harder to sell if you’re blinky184 or sexylegs300.
Having to attach a Google+ Brand Page to a personal profile is less of a problem for small companies where the boss runs the account, or companies that have an internal social media person who doesn’t mind running the account as part of a greater portfolio. The real problem comes in with companies that outsource this task to PR firms or external digital marketing agencies. What are these specialists supposed to do? Tell their customers they’re not allowed Google+ Pages until Google changes the Ts&Cs? Fat chance. Customer will take business elsewhere, gladly.
Facebook initially had the same problem. When I first created a Brand Page on there, I had to link it to my own Facebook account. But – and here’s the issue – I could add other admins, and give them rights equal to my own, so that if I ever left, or was moved to another position, someone else could take over and even remove me. Google offers no such ability.
Which means… if I leave I take the company’s circles with me. The only way that they could ever get back their data is if I export it before I go, delete the page and they start an entirely new page with the same name and import it all again. And start their circles from scratch.
I discovered this quite by accident – all I was trying to do was change my email address. Surely it should be possible for someone to change which email address is associated with Google+? You can change your email address on Facebook. You can change your entire username on Twitter. Why, Google, would you not let me change my email address? You can add an additional email address to Google+, but it can’t be a Google one. I’m sorry, Google, did you just tell me that I can’t use your product over numerous competitors?
Google, what the hell?
So then the only way of me changing my email address in Google+ is surely to start an entirely new Google+ account. Oh, but you can’t do that either. Not if you manage a Brand Page.
You really don’t get this social networking thing, do you Google?
I live in hope that this is just a temporary inconvenience and that they’ll role out an update tomorrow that makes it go away. Rumour has it they might roll out said update… in Q1 2012. So if I were to quit my job over December… hmm. It’s still stupid, imho, to roll out without that already in place!