Google+'s own special brand of stupidity

G+ is now open for business -- literally. But Google+ Pages is a wet hot mess that makes it too easy for fakers to hijack your business online. UPDATE: G+ responds.

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Big news yesterday in the social media world. Google+ is finally open for business – literally.

Yesterday, Google announced Google+ Pages, a way for brands and businesses to establish a presence on the social network. But like its disastrous introduction of Gmail apps for the iTunes Store last week, Google has once again dropped a large load of manure onto the Web.

As commentator Ike Pigott points out in this video rant (“Google+ is still Business-“), unlike Facebook Google+ offers no vanity addresses. So instead of being able to hand out plus.google.com/Joe’s-Plumbing as your URL, you’re stuck with plus.google.com/112134531373479129748 (or whatever). Not exactly a friendly way to do business.

Problem #2: Every brand page can only be managed under one account; there’s no way to share admin duties with your lackeys. That may be fine for Joe’s Plumbing, where Joe is the sole employee; not so fine for corporations with hundreds of employees, where a page might be administered by half a dozen marketing minions.

The third and most problematic, err, problem: Anybody can register any page for any business, regardless of whether you own the company or any trademarks associated with it. As Piggot says, “it’s on the honor system.” Welcome to domain squatting 2011.

How easy is it to grab someone else’s G+ page? I decided to find out by creating a page for the Walt Disney Company. (They’re not litigious or anything, right?) It took me about 10 minutes, nine minutes of which was spent searching for and downloading the right images.

Meet the happiest (fake) Google+ page on earthMeet the happiest (fake) Google+ page on earth

The things Mickey and Minnie will be getting up to on Google+? Well, I’d tell you, but this is a family friendly publication.

As of this writing, about 15 hours hence, the Walt Disney Page is still live on G+. At some point, I expect G+ to cotton onto this and nuke it, or to be receiving a nastygram from Mickey’s attorneys (Huey, Dewey, and Louis, Esq.).

But the same thing can happen to any business. Again, just to prove a point, I took a business local to me (my chiropractor) and created a G+ page for it. I just searched on his phone number, selected from a list of hits, uploaded an image, and I was done. Easy peasy. And that one is highly unlikely to be caught by Google or noticed by my favorite spinecracker, despite how big a geek he is.

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