Unlike Facebook, where almost any name will do for your profile, Google+ takes your name very seriously. Its authenticity determines whether or not your account will be suspended. Google Chairman and former CEO Erich Schmidt recently described the measure as a means to ensure that the new social network remains an “identity service.” Schmidt was more specifically addressing criticism that the strict naming guideline restricts user privacy and confidentiality. Google basically doesn’t believe that false names infringe on user privacy. They do, however, recognize that false names infringe upon a social network’s ability to make money.
That’s good news for anyone wishing to utilize social media marketing effectively.
The move is meant for Google+ to gain ground against Facebook in becoming the “online identity” of users against a backdrop of mass mobile connectivity and the advent of cloud computing. Currently, websites across the Internet utilize the Facebook Connect feature to instantly integrate the visitor’s profile into their web content. For example, some websites feature a way for you to “Like” content directly on the site itself, and you may or may not be shocked when you see your own Facebook profile picture on the site in the respective window. Google+ wants in on this ability to connect with Internet entrepreneurs. They see an edge by eliminating alter-egos from their social network.
In my opinion we should just trust Google. They know what they’re talking about on this one. The “real names only” rule sounds like some hardline nonsense, but it’s meant to preserve the accuracy of Google+ identity. That accuracy will become invaluable to social media marketers as Google+ grows. Instead of allocating so many dollars of internet marketing as projected “waste” for worthless profiles, those that focus their funds on Google+ users will be able to count each profile with actual value. The integrity of Google+ user names will be one of the major selling points in arguments for SMO strategists to make the switch.
That could change if Facebook decides to follow their fresh-faced opponent and figures out a way to crackdown on fake users. Surely the Facebook bean counters don’t like the idea that users have the luxury to create false names. The bold statement by Google+ might be the excuse they need to convince the heads of the company that a new change in the rules needs to occur. Online identity is becoming a serious issue for these companies, but only because it’s becoming the predominant concern of the public.
Either way, social media marketers benefit from the assurance that those they reach out to on social media are who they say they are.
Ryan Sandberg is the Director of Outreach for Growth Partner Capital and has a passion for entrepreneurship, efficiency and ice hockey. He enjoys sharing his opinions/findings on finance, marketing, entrepreneurship and current tech trends.