Sharon Machlis

Google+ pages for business: misfire

November 07, 2011 2:18 PM EST

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Google has done a poor job of rolling out its Google+ business pages offerings today, raising doubts in my mind whether they understand how to market social networking to businesses.

How poor? They had a button on the site this afternoon encouraging users to "Create your Google+ Page." However, if you clicked on the button, you got the message: "Google+ Pages isn't ready for everyone."

What were they thinking?

Obviously, they weren't. So let me assist, Google+ team: You're not in beta anymore. If you're "introducing" something that's not ready, state clearly: "We will be rolling out this feature soon and will let you know as soon as it's ready." Don't send people to a page with a button enticing them to do something, only to have them receive a message that "we haven't finished releasing them to everyone. Please check back soon."

Google+ business page message
Message to most Google+ users who clicked through to create a business page.

I don't want to have to keep "checking back" to see whether I can create a page for my brand -- nor, I suspect, do many others who have social networking responsibilities as part of our jobs. Hint, Google+ team: We have a lot of other things to do in the course of our workday besides returning to the Google+ business page and clicking on the button to see if it works. Notify us when I can do so.

Google may be touting its pages for business as "a leap forward in building relationships between businesses and people," but let's just say that's a bit of a stretch, given that Facebook has had such pages for years. Some people may have been willing to click endlessly to see if they could get access to the Google Plus limited beta, but business professionals don't really want to do the same in order to get a business page up on Plus.

A full Google blog post explained the pages weren't ready for all yet. However, posts on Google+ were less clear. Astonishingly, though, the Google Plus team didn't appear to account for the fact that some people might come to the Google+ Business page from, oh, a social networking link that didn't mention the "it's not ready" part and not their complete blog post.

To quote a comment on one thread about the alleged introduction: "it's only for select brands...again...Bad Google."

Update: A Google spokesman says pages should be available within 24 hours, and late this afternoon I was indeed able to create one.

Update 2: It appears that Google+ business pages can only have one owner for now. That may be fine for a small business, but is quite a problem for a larger organization. I'll double down on my original opinion: Google has done an awful job of rolling out business pages today.

is online managing editor at Computerworld. Her e-mail address is smachlis@computerworld.com. You can follow her on Twitter Twitter @sharon000, on Facebook, on Google+ or by subscribing to her RSS feeds:
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