A recent update allows Google users to get a Google+ custom URL for their profile or Google+ pages. However, in some cases they are not offered their preferred custom URL, requesting them to add additional characters or numbers! And sometimes their favorite custom link is being offered to their Google+ page! This is my personal adventure that just began at Google+!
Why would you want a Google+ custom URL in the first place?
If you are wondering just that, it means you are new to Google+. Google’s social network uses a 21-digit number to identify the users; and pages. So, when you register a Google+ profile (you have already done so, if you have a Gmail account), your profile’s link looks like this:
Those X’s are just random numbers, designated to your profile.
Each time you want to hook up with people online and direct them to your Google+ profile, you need to link to that ugly URL. It’s not that you have to remember 21 digits. Besides, you’ll seldom speak of that link, rather than type it (or usually paste it). It’s just that it looks ugly. And if there wasn’t an alternative, this wouldn’t be an issue.
But now that Google+ update offers the alternative, users are going crazy when they can’t get the custom URL matching exactly their name. One of them is me!
Since the update, you can change that 21-digit number to a real name, like +JohnDoe or +JimSmith or +AnythingYouLike. As long as it is offered to you, that is! Because initially, Google gave just one option for the custom URL. Take it or leave it.
Initially, only my Google+ pages were offered a custom URL, while my Google+ profile did not feature the option shown above.
The latest Google+ update allows you to add a suffix
This week Google+ allowed users to add characters after the suggested custom URL. The case seems to apply only if your name is common with other users (or pages). If you have been unlucky and your parents named you without giving it much thought, you are lucky when it comes to Google+! Your custom URL will certainly match your peculiarly-looking given name (or the name you are using at Google+).
The problem arises when you have a commonly used name at Google+. It turns out my pseudonym, Jim Makos, is one of them.
Still, I have the option to get that custom URL! Alas, not for the purpose I want it! At least I am now thankful my Google+ profile can change to a custom URL.
My favorite custom URL is booked for my blog!
I cannot get the custom URL for my Google+ profile, because my blog’s Google+ page may do so! Here’s an image that pretty much explains my dispute.
My blog is offered the desired “google.com/+Jimmakos” (I had already sent a feedback to Google last month, requesting that custom URL to be offered to my profile – obviously, that wasn’t what I had in mind!). However, I may opt for the second alternative and add a suffix after that. I would pick +JimMakosBlog in an instant, if that guaranteed I would be able to get +JimMakos for my personal profile! I am afraid though, that upon doing so at my blog’s Google+ page, +JimMakos may end up to another user. And that would be a disaster!
At least at this time I have the option to get that pretty custom URL after all!
At the same time, my personal profile only has one option: to add a suffix after the +JimMakos custom URL! I thought of +JimMakosGR (I am Greek, read more about me) or +JimMakosWriter. Still, I don’t want to associate my birthplace with my online name, nor do I want to link what I do with my custom URL. Who knows, maybe one day I end up as a photographer!
+JimMakosWriter: Taking photographs for a living.
I bet that wouldn’t sound right.
What if I delete my Google+ profile and convert my blog’s page into myself?
Let me explain my way of thinking on that.
My real name isn’t Jim Makos. It’s just a pseudonym I use since 1995 when I registered my first email address (you did read about me, didn’t you?). In 2005 I went on and register this domain, jimmakosdev.wpengine.com. For the last 10 years or so I have been building on my pseudonym, mainly by writing articles for partners. At the same time I registered Jim Makos at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites, despite of me choosing Google+ as my main social sharing media.
If you are interested in your online presence, I suggest you pick your favorite name and stick with that, whenever you register a new account anywhere on the internet. Even at forums or when you are leaving comments.
Thus, I am widely known online by my pseudonym. That was my goal right from the start. But time went by and Google introduced Authorship. So, every post I make online, every article that is published under my name in partnered websites links back to my Google+ profile. Google identifies the author of these articles as Jim Makos, the name I opted for my Google+ profile. After all Google+ isn’t a social media, it’s an identity platform!
Google asks when it visits a post: Who wrote that piece? Upon reading the byline of the posts, it comes across: “By Jim Makos”. And that connects back to my Google+ profile.
Got that? Google+ profile! Not Google+ page.
Could the Google+ page be used in Authorship markup to identify the author of the content?
Till now I haven’t got a clear answer. If that’s feasible, I would convert my blog’s Google+ page to my pseudonym (in effect, my alias will be linked to a Google+ page instead of a profile) and get my favorite custom URL that is already waiting for me to grab. From that moment on, I would use that Google+ page as myself and get rid of my profile.
- I will lose all of my followers. I need to let them know of the change and pray that some of them will understand what is going on and make the move to my Google+ page. But time is precious for people. I should spend mine to rectify this issue, not theirs.
- What happens to my blog’s page used as the publisher of my posts? According to the authorship markup, apart from identifying the author, the coding also identifies the publisher of the content. Therefore, Google identifies me as the author and my blog’s Google+ page as the publisher of my blog posts. Like the one you are reading right now. What will happen when Google revisits my blog posts and find out that the publisher is now the author and there is no publisher?!?
Have you got any advice for me? Have you been on Google+ lately and were you offered a custom URL? What would you choose for a suffix in the Google+ custom URL? Let me know in the comments below.