In an upcoming and expected move, some hours ago Google+ proceded to close a majority of business profiles. We discussed the issue business owners face, due to the lack of profiles for businesses on Google+, recently.
One of the things I said was that Google+ would have to take a clear stand and when, also enforce it:
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.
And exactly that has happened: Christian Oestlien, announced that the Google+ team has deactivated multiple business accounts (also those of Mashable, Sesame Street and many more).
But the story took a rather ridiculous twist and
SEO Google spammer par excellence, Pete Cashmore, A.K.A. as CEO and Founder of Mashable, quickly changed the Mashable News account to his personal name and also changed the profile picture, the latter similar to the Mashable Twitter account.
Within a short time, the community was up in arms, mainly because of Cashmore’s move and Danny Sullivan, of Search Engine Land, had following to say:
So on the brands are being killed from, +Pete Cashmore  news is back, except it's not really +Pete Cashmore  now but rather +Pete Cashmore . By renaming the +Pete Cashmore  account as his own, Pete now takes ownership of the 100K people who were originally following Mashable news. And the old +Pete Cashmore  account that he had before with 40K people remains, though he says that's going to be winding down. Sesame Street remain out — maybe it'll scramble to find a founder who will lay claim to their own profiles. Or just hang in there until the limbo world of Google+ and brands finally get sorted out. Ford also appears restored despite not being a "person."
In the likelihood you might have lost Danny Sullivan’s thinking, I have added
 to his Google+ entry, where
 refers to the previous account “Mashable News” and
 to Cashmore’s personal G+ account.
Technically there is nothing wrong with Cashmore’s move but the question we have to ask ourselves, and Oestlien and Co., is whether both Google+ and Cashmore actually do respect and value the user. The weird Mashable News/Pete Cashmore switch has been approved by the Google+ team:
We chatted with the Google+ team today about their plans for branded accounts, and we’ve both agreed that while the Mashable community is very engaged on Google+ and we all have great fun joining discussions here, it would be better for Mashable to wait for branded profiles to launch officially before having a company presence on here.
While we already know that Cashmore only interested in Google SERPs traffic bait is, rather than actually positively contributing to tech reporting and providing added insights, the decision made – and especially the Google+ team reportedly approving this move by Cashmore – is more than dubious.
Oestlien also commented on his announcement post that Google+ will not offer the opportunity to merge Business accounts with previously used accounts.
In allowing this move to stand, Google+ actually continues its two classes system and continues to push the small business owner who wants to be present, in order to avoid that competitors might benefit an unfair advantage.
Mike Arrington and MG Siegler, of Techcrunch, did not take the story lightly either. Having been compliant with the ToS so far, they now moved ahead and created a new Google+ account, under the pseudo Techathew Cruncherin. Google+ retaliated and swiftly closed the account.
The war continues and so far there’s only one winner and his name is… Pete Cashmore. Everyone else who uses the internet professionally is the victim and at the mercy of the Google+ team who have publicly chosen side.
Or said with Google’s now infamous and long abandoned mantra: Do no evil.
For people still interested in Christian Oestlien’s announcement, watch the video below.
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.