Google+ Screws Up the Brand Trust Equation

I was right in the middle of writing a blog entry on how the well-documented trust problems of the Facebook brand have left a gaping strategic hole that could have allowed Google+ to topple the social media giant. But then Google+ messed up in a big way. They no longer can claim trustworthiness and may have just torpedoed their chances in the marketplace.

Google+ logo

Saturday Google+ began a purge of user accounts. The move was unannounced and massive. Even famous people like Arianna Huffington got purged. To make matters worse, a few folks with connections—like Arianna—were able to get their accounts restored. But most people were advised to get advice from forums or apply for a review—essentially Google+ was telling them  “tough luck.”

ZDNet summed up Google+’s brand implosion: “Google+ remained silent, and combined with contradictory actions over the weekend it’s now a trust trainwreck, a growing PR shadow and a textbook-case community management nightmare.

The brand math is simple:

No communication + Disdain for customers + Random and contradictory actions and policies =
No brand trust = No reason to dump Facebook for Google+

GooglePlus could quickly become GoogleMinus if the brand continues to operate this way.

UPDATE: A month later, Google+ is still torturing customers. Read this horror story.

5 comments to Google+ Screws Up the Brand Trust Equation

  • What a one-sided and poorly prepared blog post. “Disdain for customers”? Where did you pull that one out of? Sounds like someone has been burned by Google in the past, or a motive to see Facebook succeed. Which one is it? Both?

  • LDMerriam

    Not communicating with your users, showing preferential treatment to some, offering no alternatives to others–that’s showing disdain. For the record, I have no business relationship with either Facebook or Google and have not been burned by them.

  • EAM

    Hi,
    http://plusevil.wordpress.com/
    http://www.vimeo.com/26740598
    “I don’t think people have changed that much in thousands of years. “
    Then why do we need yet another social network?
    “And I think that they are still fundamentally driven by the same uh internal needs, same desires and the same kind of uh hopes.”
    Our ancestors did just fine without Google Plus. If fundamentally there is nothing new under the sun, then why are we being pitched yet another social network?
    “Sometimes uh iitttts not relevant to talk about certain things with certain people, especially my guy friends I don’t throw them in on every aspect of my life. Or is I might with my girlfriends or my mom or whatever.”
    Why is email ruled out as an option? What about real-life face to face interaction?
    “You know like in your head you assign everyone these roles, like you think you know like these are the people that
    matter and these don’t, and then like once you like step back and get away from that you realize oh these are the people
    that were actually there for me.”
    Okay. But how Google Plus relevant to any of this?
    “Yeah yeah I definitely think that when you are a child, when you are young it is just more about showing up and being at a place and then seeing what happens and the idea of like uh in school you just have recess and that is just a period of
    time for whatever you want to do you can do. “
    Is Google Plus catering to the Pre-Kindergarten demographic? Can young children even sign up for this service?
    “There is nothing like uh the night that was not planned the way it was supposed to be planned, you feel like you are connected to a group of people, you feel like you are a part of something. “
    Does this mean if I don’t use Google Plus to plan my “not planned” nights then I am not connected and not a part of something? Is Google okay with me making offline friends and not have to categorize them in online virtual circles?
    “I know that there are people who are just driven by kind of internal confidence that lets them uh see their path from
    here to there. I’ve never been that guy, I’ve always been part of a community and I rely so heavily on the personal
    connections between me and the people who are close to me, its its its uh its fuel.”
    Is Google planning on solving our energy problems now? Is Google Plus really the solution for people with a lack of internal confidence, or is it just another clever emotional ploy to sell more targeted ads?

  • eri

    I can totally agree with you. The users ARE NOT THE CUSTOMERS, but the product being sold and marketed. Which is why they require all this information from you. They already track everything else you do on the internet, why not throw in your Maiden Name, Nickname, and every other thing you have TO your name. Wonderfully written article. You should check out this new site called OnlyMeWorld. They offer the user as much or as little anonymity as they choose, only requiring a USERNAME, no real names OR e-mail. Because I’m sure you and I both know where people can go with just these TWO pieces of information, even just one.

  • K

    Great article – concise, well-written, and truthful. I felt the same way – Google Plus would be perfect to fill the Facebook space, but then they’re pulling this crap and not giving a damn what people think.

    What else besides “disdain” would anyone call it? :-/

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