The irony of this post is, I was on the Mashable site following some others that had followed me on the Mashable Social Network when I noticed that Mashable itself was advertising for Mashable readers to “Join the conversation by adding Mashable’s Pete Cashmore to your Circles on Google+ .” The upper portion of the site has a drop down bar telling you to add Mr. Cashmore (see image below).
Google Plus is the new darling of social networks and it is the latest in shiny things that we social media people love to jump in and declare ourselves as early adopters. We get to try it out and pick it apart piece by piece and provide feedback and add our 2 cents. I’m somewhat behind that game as this is my first post about the new network. I must admit that I have been on Google Plus now since I could get an invite when it first launched and tweeting every article I can pass along that I have read on the subject.
Getting back to the issue at hand, Google Plus originally opened up the invitations to its “field test” of their network to the user that had an invite. This made the invites like the gold standard for a while and everyone in social media was calling all their friends to get in on the gold rush of invites. Most of my colleagues were in and salivating on the new toy, and I heard tell of brands that were also jumping in and being a part of the fun, the point there is to be an early adopter and get a jump on the competition as we are all seeing how the past rolled out with Twitter and Facebook. This ended for businesses however as Google pulled the plug on the ability for businesses or brands to sign up on Google Plus. Google went as far as to suspend those brands they could hunt down and find on the network.
Now enter the folks at Mashable. The thrive on the metric of eyeballs. They are a media property that tries to gain as many eyeballs as possible for the businesses that pay them for distribution of their posts. They are known for reaching millions of readers and have mastered every trick in the book for having those million readers share and re-distribute their content. Enter the next distribution system in Google Plus and its already exponentially more than 10 million users and you have yet more metrics and eyeballs to add to your existing pitch of being the most read media property in the world of social. Last time I checked, Mashable was a business and therefore according to Google, unable to have a presence on its new network.
There are always those that are jail breaking iPhones and those that are gaming the system to get more followers and every other loophole that can be found to get the upper hand. This apparently is not much different with Mashable and their having a presence on Google Plus. The route they took? We will take our leader, Pete Cashmore, and his Google account and use it as a distribution channel. He is a person and not a business and therefore his account can be used for us here at Mashable. Is this a gaming of the system? Are other businesses and brands using their “ambassadors” (Thanks Chris Heuer for that Tweet) to get a jump on the competition and getting an early look as a business on the network?
I have an admission myself, I have not used my Google account for much other than Google Buzz or Wave or whatever else I have needed to use the account for and I suppose my company is getting a leg up on other companies that don’t yet have a Google Plus account, but I am actually at the helm of my account. I am not sure Pete is the one that is sharing each of the Mashable…err Cashmore shared posts on Google Plus. It did strike me as funny that they would use advertising space to increase the eyeballs of the Pete Cashmore account. Are they gaming the system? Probably. Do I blame them? Not really, but I do blame Google for not having a plan on how to better handle this and how they might unfold Google Plus for Business.
UPDATE: Upon further view it appears that Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land already discussed this in his post and updates. It appears that Mashable is now just blatantly advertising the fact to get more followers on the account for Pete Cashmore.