Google’s Second Class Customers

Google PlusTo Google not all customers are created equal. In fact, some are [as yet] forbidden from even using certain products such as profiles and Google Plus. Unlike most products however where paying customers are often allowed to try things first, with Google it is the paying customers that are excluded.

Who are these customers? They are those who use Google Apps, a service which brings GMail and other Google services to one’s own domain. Due to the power of branding and the price of the service ($50/user/year for a premium account) I use Google Apps for all of my domains, both personal and business. Even the Aviation department I work for at SIU uses Google Apps for our email. This means that I can’t be involved with Google Plus, Google Profiles, or a host of other services.

I don’t think I would find this so frustrating if it wasn’t for the fact that myself and so many others I know who use the service do so because we understand both the power of Google’s services and the power of branding. For those of us who use it for personal use (as opposed to just using a standard GMail account) we do so because it is the use of our own domain that demonstrates to others that we know what we’re doing when it comes to marketing ourselves.

Now we could admittedly just sign up for a standard GMail account and get on Google Plus, profiles, etc, but that is a slippery slope when it comes to branding and marketing. First, we would need to use another email account which could cause confusion among people we know. Second, as Google promises to eventually support the service with Google Apps creating a social media account on Google Plus that you plan to close and start over later is akin to social media suicide. When you spend the time cultivating your network, deleting that network and starting over just isn’t a workable solution.

So in the end I, like the millions of other Google Apps fans, must just wait. We’re used to it though. We’ve been the second class citizens of Google since the service first came available and, although Google has made some strides in remedying this, they never seem to follow through all the way.

5 Replies to “Google’s Second Class Customers”

  1. I tried to +1 this post, but, I’m using a Google Apps account that doesn’t support Profiles. So here is my +1!!!!!

  2. I understand your frustration and I feel the same way about Google Apps. As a long time GApp user, I think it’s crap that we can’t use it in combination with other services. I don’t want premium treatment as a GApp user, I just want it to be equal across the board.

    You mention G+, I started using that service at beta launch with my regular (personal) Gmail account. Branding is tricky business in that service, mainly because they will suspend your account if you choose to name your profile as your business. The service does not have fan pages (yet) like facebook and they are very diligent when it comes to cancelling people’s profiles. In terms of business branding, G+ is a double edge sword. You can still market your brand via your profile, but not as your business name. I personally don’t find this to be an issue. For those that strictly use their business names for online profiles are complaining about this, and GApps really has nothing to do with it.

    Since you already use your regular name and brand this website with your face, I think you could easily transition and gain followers in G+ without alienating your clients.

    It’s my opinion that, it doesn’t really hurt branding per say by using a regular GMail account to open up your G+ profile and market well in your profile by following the guidelines. You don’t have to give people your personal Gmail account, but you can have your G App address public if you wish, for marketing purposes. Just my two cents.