Google Plus has been experiencing growing pains as usership continues to grow. Today, Google announced that the much-discussed real name policy will be made a bit more flexible.
The original real name policy
The original policy of the Google Plus team was that all Google Plus profiles had to match legal names. The real-name policy was intended as a way to help G+ become the central clearinghouse of identity on the web. There was significant frustration about this policy from individuals who are known by pseudonyms, but Google stood firm in the face of outrage from a small percentage of users.
A change in policy
As of today, the Google Plus team has officially announced that the name policy will get more flexible. Any accounts that have been flagged as potentially not including a real name will have a review process available. Individuals will have to prove that the name they wish to be displayed is a “common name” that has a significant following or notoriety. This includes showing that name in print or on a domain name controlled by that individual. The Google Plus team uses Madonna as an example of a commonly known name that would fall under this policy.
For businesses, this policy doesn’t matter
For businesses, this real-name versus pseudonym issue is one that should not have any immediate effect on operations. Since Google Plus started including business pages, no business should have a personal profile. Personal profiles and business profiles are entirely separate entities. Businesses with personal profiles are not indexed the same way, are not treated the same way, and do not have the same functionality. If you have a personal profile for your business or non-personal page, then transitioning as soon as possible to a page will be the first step you should take and the best step toward getting your Google Plus profile and page indexed properly.