Oh dear, oh dear. This Google+ Events launch was a quite a disaster. Spamming and irrelevance were the biggest issues, but is it all bad?
We announced Google was launching an event section for Google+ and so it happened.
What I could not forecast was the nightmare sparked from the launch and the overall feeling of inadequacy of this product.
Yet this is a Google initiative and therefore it is worth understanding whether there are still opportunities for events marketing managers.
First the facts...
It Started Great...
Lots of positive signs from the Mountain View company were building momentum for this launch. I covered a few on this blog.
I was quite pumped up to have a look at what it was going to be. The excitement grew even further when Google launched a live blogging tool specifically designed for I/O, the developer conference where they ultimately announced the new feature.
This is what I thought. Only to be absolutely unimpressed when they later announced the Events feature.
Completely Wrong Focus
The 28th of June you may have experienced the huge splash screen informing users about the launch when logging into Plus. One thing was immediately obvious, this is about parties..
I don't remember raising my eyebrows so high when looking at an events products.
Don't get me wrong, I love parties! It's possibly the most recurring reason why we organize events. What Google may have not noticed is that there is a player in this space. It's called Facebook.
We did not need another way to share pictures. We use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, which is again Facebook.
We did not need a Party Mode button. No we did not.
What we needed was a tool to create moderately complex events, RSVP management, Live Streaming integration and possibly some form of ticketing (possibly NFC enabled).
We also needed a Plancast style way of RSVPing and serendipitous discovery.
This is what I expect from a search company.
What I got was a bad imitation of Facebook Events. A mediocre event platform that any mid sized business could launch.
Out of this events nonsense the only interesting feature could have been Google Calendar integration. Nonetheless they managed to enter a PR nightmare because of it.
Calendar Integration and Robert Scoble
Possibly the only rule of a fragmented social Webs is to avoid upsetting Robert Scoble. Like him or not he is quite influential, special within the early adopters community.
At launch, having Scoble talking good things about your product usually means success. Some examples include Flipboard or Plancast.
Google managed not only to upset him. He got really mad. Why?
Because Google+ gave users the chance to add invitations to someone's calendar without consent. With million of followers, Scoble's calendar was immediately flooded with spammy calendar entries.
You can have a taste of Scoble's appreciation for the feature in this NSFW for language, but instant classic video and it's accompanying post:
Bear in mind that Scoble has been one of the first to adopt Google+ and to evangelize its use.
The funny thing in this PR tragedy is that Google hasn't even fixed the issue, postponing it to future upgrades.
With such lack of focus and spamming credentials, is Google Plus Events still a viable marketing tactic?
Therefore the burning question...
Should I Post My Event to Google Plus?
I am advising all my clients to hold until the spamming situation it's been resolved. Being associated with spam is like having bad credit rating on the internet, stay away from it.
In terms of marketing benefits, while there may no be benefits from the platform in terms of usability, as it is a party oriented product, the SEO implications of posting your event to Google+ are intriguing.
This is the only outcome event professionals should look for.
Dear Google, you messed up this launch and it is not the first time. While the spam fiasco is fixable I don't think the platform focus will be as easy to fix.
What really saddens me is to hear Vic Gundotra, Google's Senior VP, to say that they released a product that users wanted.
I believe, dear Google, it's time to search Google for better suggestions!
Photo by amboo who?