Business profiles have been becoming more and more present on Google+, but were outlawed from Day 1 according to the ToS:
Your profile and name must represent one person.
Google Profiles doesn’t support profiles for couples or groups of people. Additionally, you can’t create a profile for a non-person entity such as a pet or business. Google may continue to allow existing profiles that don’t meet these criteria, as long as the profile names are unchanged.
Oestlien, who has Mashable News, Ford Europe and Ford Motor Company in his Google+ Circles, said that Google will actively collaborate with non-entity profile owners to help them shut down their service. Google will also allow a select group of businesses into the test of business profiles. According to Ostrien the profiles for businesses will allow more features and other uses, different to regular profiles.
Profile for businesses will be rolled out later this year but no date was given.
Business owners can sign up to be considered for the Google+ Business Profile preview here.
Business owners now face a difficult decision. With many brands already present on Google+ a business owner has to decide whether to create a new profile and hope that there will be a way to convert profiles in to business profiles once the latter or launched. Alternatively the business owner can sit back and look how competitors create profiles and gain followers already.
Of course there is always the possibility to report profiles, but we sincerely doubt this will work.
As I said in a previous Google+ status, addressed to Google’s Head of Web Spam Matt Cutts, I do hope that the G+ team means business (pun intended) and will follow through:
Dear +Matt Cutts,
I have enjoyed the successful launch of Google+ but sadly it has come to my stream attention already that so-called social media experts have set up pages for their business, as well as several companies who have already joined.
I am talking profiles such as +The Next Web ., +Mashable – and also brands such as Ford Motor Company and MTV India.
While I do understand that pages for businesses are needed and might come at some point, I do hope that the Google+ team will be loyal to its own guidelines and ban these accounts since I do particularly enjoy the experience of a spam free Google+.
In all honesty I am also looking forward to the option of pages for businesses since I am web publisher myself and have several clients as well, but I would like to see rules being enforced before the actual Google+ experience suffers f your typical social media expert who thinks every platform needs to be abused, regardless of ToS.
I do hope you will collaborate and when users do report profiles of brands, no matter how big the brand or website and how popular the page, these profiles will subsequently be deactivated until the pages option for businesses is available.
Sadly until the mega brands have their profiles deleted, we will continue to see new business profiles be created and follow users. While it might be a good move by the Google+ team to enforce the rules, I do think that it would be smarter to allow the profiles and offer a conversion tool once the official option is released.
After having enjoyed Google+ for almost a week now, I have changed my opinion and profiles such as Mashable and The Next Web do enhance Google+.
IMHO it would now be silly to deactivate profiles with thousands of followers already, because the true victim here is not the brand but the user who has decided to hang out on Google+ and follow their favorite brands on the newly launched network.
Christian and Team,
We do hope that you will consider the option to convert profiles, rather than nuke the active user experience. After all you also have brands in your circle and where’s the fairness if you can follow Mashable News but other publishers, such as we here at Splashpress Media are not allowed on the network, or I can not follow The Next Web on Google+.
Update: The profiles of The Next Web been deactivated already. All three business/brand profiles Oestlien follows (Ford Europe, Ford Motor Company and Mashable News) are still active.
Disclosure: We did go ahead and created a profile, noticing how many other brands are already present and very popular on your service.
Author: Franky Branckaute
Franky is CEO, Editor and 21/7 Muppet on Duty at Splashpress Media. Occasionally he even sleeps. More sporadically even he also blogs about the professional online life at iFranky. He also is regular Guest Lecturer on all things blogging and ‘web 2.0’ish’. Follow him on Twitter.