Google+ Rolling Out Custom URLs To Users But Doing It Horribly
A few weeks back it was announced that Google+ was finally going to allow regular users to adopt Vanity URLs for their profiles and rid themselves of URLs like https://plus.google.com/105175761337711150993/posts (yes, that’s my real Google+ URL). Sounds great, right? Finally the common folk would be given on Google+ what most other modern social networks had from the outset, the ability to pick our own screen names and have a URL to link to which isn’t ridiculously unwieldy and next to impossible to remember.
All sounded fantastic until you went to the Google+ Help page and read their “Getting Started with Google+ Custom URLs” file. The second one reads:
“You’ll see the URL(s) you’ve been approved for. If you see more than one option, select the one you like best. You may also be asked to add a few numbers or letters to make the custom URL unique to you.”
So wait, I have to use the one Google approves for me? I can’t be Google.com/+TheDanLevy which is my screenname on darn near every other social network I use? OK, well maybe they’ll lighten up some day and I’ll be able to change it, right? NOPE! Check out the sixth rule in the red box below
“Once approved, this URL will be linked to your Google+ page or Profile, so be sure everything is exactly the way you want it. Once your URL has been approved, you can’t request to change it.”
I was feeling a bit pessimistic when I read that but friends who are way bigger Google+ users assured me, “You can request a different one if you have a valid reason” and “There is flexibility… You just have to request it…” so I decided to see what Google did when they finally got around to offering me a custom URL. Well, today that finally happened!
The notification appeared at the top of my Google+ profile page and I clicked the blue button excitedly. That excitement quickly turned to disappointment when I saw what Google was offering me as my Custom URL.
I could have +DanLevy1981 or +DanLevyExtraLetters but I couldn’t have +TheDanLevy. I didn’t even have a choice of multiple variations on the them. No +DLevy or +DanielLevy or +DanL. Only +DanLevy with whatever random extra characters I added after. My earlier pessimism was confirmed.
OK, well maybe it will let me take +DanLevy and leave it at that? That wouldn’t be what I wanted originally but it’d work quite nicely and still look professional. So I tried that and got this:
Well that totally stinks! But, as I have mentioned in my Dan Levy FAQ blog post a while back, Dan Levy is a super popular name so it must be taken already…right? NOPE! Google has decided to add insult to injury and not only won’t they let me use +DanLevy but apparently no one else is allowed to use +DanLevy either. Go on and check it yourselves google.com/+DanLevy on Nov 7, 2013 at 3:45pm EST brings you to a 404 page. Same goes with +TheDanLevy.
Am I not important enough of a Dan Levy for Google to give me the URL that no one else is using? Are they reserving it for a Dan Levy who is more famous than I am? What ever happened to first come, first served? It isn’t like I even had a choice of when the Custom URL was going to be available to me. Funniest part of this whole thing is that I don’t even want +DanLevy! I want +TheDanLevy but there seems to be no way for me to get it. So much for “Don’t Be Evil” as a corporate motto!
I keep seeing so much promise with the Google+ social network but it seems every time they take a few steps forward and make it more awesome they take double the amount of steps backwards leaving us without a real reason to totally abandon Facebook and make the move to Google+. Fail.
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