Missouri television station KOMU was the first dog to the bowl when it became the first television station to start up a Google+ account. Of course, that was because the social-networking site isn’t allowing businesses to start accounts just yet.
Lost Remote reports that KOMU’s site on Google+ has been shut down. “In lieu of flowers, please send your topic ideas for my next recorded Hangout,” KOMU anchor Sarah Hill wrote in an obituary of the page on Google+.
KOMU New Media Director Jen Reeves “points out that Google’s enforcement of the ‘no brand’ policy is random and perhaps even unfair,” the site notes. After all, a KOMU competitor, KRCG, also has a page that hasn’t been shut down.
Meanwhile, Google+ is still working with Ford and other major companies to ready itself for the launch of branded pages of Google+. Ford, like KOMU, was an early adopter and went right ahead and hacked a branded page into the site, Ad Age reports.
The upshot: just as Google is trying to establish a new brand with Google+, one that could take on (or enhance) Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and other social platforms, the delay in branded Google+ accounts has become a branding challenge for Google itself.
Google has been accepting applications since early July from businesses that would like to create branded pages within the Google+ network — it just isn't formally open for (or to) business yet.
According to the International Business Times, Google “was thrilled with Ford's eagerness, as one might imagine, and results.” Christian Oestlien, the lead product manager for social advertising at Google, told Ad Age earlier this month, "We're positively overwhelmed by how quickly Ford has become involved with the project. They're doing some incredibly cool stuff.”
Consumers, meanwhile, have been breaking down the barricades to set up accounts, even as it remains unclear exactly how many users there are of Google+.
The Guardian estimates that the social-networking site is close to 20 million users at about three weeks after launch.
That estimate came from Paul Allen, the founder of Ancestry.com, who calculated that the site was growing at a rate of 750,000 users a day, down from 1 million a day in the site’s second week of existence, according to the Guardian. However, this was before the Google+ app launched, and before the site began cross-promoting on all of Google’s other sites. (In another knock, influential Google+ mobile user, Wired's Tim Carmody, calls Google+ on mobile "antisocial.")
For the week that ended July 16th, Experian Hitwise reports that the actual visits to the site equals 1.8 million, as TechCrunch reports. “That number was up 283% from the previous week, and up 821% from the week before,” even if it's unclear how many of them are active users.