Electronic Musician, Drummer, Sound Designer and Technologist
An open letter to Google on the #nymwars
Categories: rants, thoughts

Dear Google,

Let me explain the #nymwars in a way you’ll understand.

If you continue your draconian real name policy, you WILL lose money. Plain and simple. If you really, really think that you’re going to create a growing social network in which everyone has their real name emblazoned on their Google profile, you might as well believe that we all dance with Unicorns every weekend. By limiting your users’ ability to simply use a name that they feel comfortable with, you’re limiting the number of people that will use +. Less users = less people clicking ads = less money in your ever growing pockets.

Here’s a tip for you, something that +Tom Anderson did VERY WELL with myspace; let the users be the users. Police the factions which will cause issues – and don’t tell me that you can’t sort them out. Spammers make themselves noticeable. If they don’t, they can’t spam. You’ll find them. Myspace thrived in its heyday because it gave people their own piece of real estate on the internet. What you’re offering up is a small apartment with a bad lease and rules that will keep people from being interested in living in your complex because they’re afraid you’ll come banging on their door anytime, telling them they’ve been evicted.

Your supposition that the internet is only for “real names” is a prejudiced view of what the internet is. Should we all have email addresses which are only our “real” names? Should we all use our “real names” in online gaming services? Do you REALLY think you’re growing a thriving social network with these policies? Oh, right, you do think that, because you have lots of money, and you control the users.

Well, here’s something for you, Google; WE pay your bills. We click your ads, we use your search engine, we use your apps. Many of us PAY for your services. Yet, despite the fact that I pay for more gmail storage, I’m afraid to use the name that the ENTIRE WORLD knows me by on Google +, because apparently, you’ll shut down any service you want that I have access to if you don’t like my name. Never mind that I pay you money. Who cares about the users, right?

Well, I do. And you should, too. Your network is NOT going to thrive if you continue your name policy. If Myspace had done this such of thing, people would not have been interested in using it. People often use social networks to build other versions of themselves. Their real name is for their everyday life, and they don’t want to associate that with their life on the Internet. That doesn’t make them criminals, or bad people – yet, you’re making it seem that we are.

Also, clear something up for me, Google; why is it ok to have a pseudonym on Orkut, but not on +? Or why can I have a gmail address under the name “brianbotkiller”, yet, on +, I’m a criminal for using the name people know me by? Please, tell me, I’m dying to know.

Until you get your heads wrapped around this, you’re just creating yet another enclosed space on the Internet which will, in all honesty, be boring to use as time goes on. If you prefer to use your real name on +, fine, more power to you. If you don’t like your real name, and you’d prefer to use your “evil” fake name, I guess you’d better go do it somewhere else, right? If I can’t find the people that I’m interested in following on +, because you’ve forced them use their real name, and I only know them by your pseudonym, then that means that I will find less people to follow, which means I will use + less. Don’t believe me? It’s already happening.

Yeah. Good luck with that, Google.


1 Comment to “An open letter to Google on the #nymwars”

  1. Google+ the social network that wont let you network with people who are wearing trainers.

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