‘Why I Think Google’s Shared Endorsements Are a Good Thing for Social Media, Influencers and Consumers’

[Thomas Hawk has lost, something, sanity? Maybe. This post is so ridiculous that I am forced to walk you through almost the entire thing.][1] Now, it is fair to say that I am predisposed to disagree with people that would think this is a good idea, but Hawk’s argument is so thin that it’s just…

[Thomas Hawk has lost, something, sanity? Maybe. This post is so ridiculous that I am forced to walk you through almost the entire thing.][1] Now, it is fair to say that I am predisposed to disagree with people that would think this is a good idea, but Hawk’s argument is so thin that it’s just ridiculous.

He begins (after a brief intro):

> Because Google gives everyone an opportunity to opt out of shared endorsements, it’s easy to dismiss a lot of the criticism by simply pointing folks to how easy opting out is.

No, we could dismiss it if it was opt-in, but turning something on after people sign up, and are not expecting it, is a douchebag move plain and simple.

> Some people are very anti-advertising though and certainly this new advertising channel will naturally be met by some with healthy skepticism. It’s also worth noting that these ads are not going to appear on Google+. Google+ will remain ad free. The new ads simply will use Google+ data to advertise in places where Google is already advertising, like search.

Oh, well shit, if they aren’t on Google+ then *no one* has anything to worry about. It’s not like Google Search has more traffic than Google+ — oh it does? So Google is pulling your endorsements from Google+ and *not* showing those endorsements on Google+, instead showing them where the *rest* of the world looks *every* day? Nothing to worry about there.

> Personally speaking, for myself, I embrace change. In general I’d rather see more change, than less. I think change represents innovation (usually) and I probably tend to look for the positive in change rather than the negative. I’m a glass half full sort of guy when it comes to change.

Here Hawk is really saying: you are only against this if you are a negative person. To disagree with Hawk’s points must prove you to be a nasty negative person, because Hawk *is* an “glass half full sort of guy”. Me? I’m a *flask* half full sort of guy.

> I think most of us see how today’s announced change in the TOS is good for businesses who advertise. Personal endorsements by our friends are incredibly powerful motivators. Ads which feature personal endorsements by people we know, trust and respect, will be far more effective than other ads that an advertiser might come up with.

I don’t think anyone disagrees with this.

> I think we can also see where this new product would be good for Google.

Ok, but why is this good for the user? We all get it is good for advertisers and for the people that make money off those ads, we get that. No dispute here.

*(Skipping a bit of redundant shit.)*

> Social media is the future. By increasing the value of our possible endorsements through advertising buys, companies will spend more time, effort and money to court social influencers.

Right, but *most* users, like more than 90%, don’t fit that category of “social influencers”. So why is this good for them?

*(Fast forward through some crap that he loves and want’s to be paid for loving.)*

> If you consider yourself a social media type, this will be one more important reason why you’ll want to devote time to building out your presence on G+.

Uhh, what now?

> There will be a risk of course that some influencers will be bought off by brands for positive endorsements, but I think most of the time this stuff is pretty easy to sniff out.

Bullshit. Utter bullshit. They absolutely *will* be bought off — that’s the entire premise of linking an “influencer” with a *braaand*.

> It’s the true, authentic, natural posts (available for purchase after the fact as ads) that will be most valuable.

He’s kidding, right? There’s no such thing of true/authentic posts in an environment where people know they *could* get paid after the fact for that post. That leads to more favorable posts. It’s why most large media companies separate the writers from the people selling ad spots. Bias would be rampant otherwise.

> I bet brands spend more time showing us their cool new tech and products as the value of these ads become apparent and more of their budgets are spent on promoting products to G+ users.

I forget, do they try *not* to show use cool new products right now?

That was all just point one, here we go on point two.

*(Skip some stuff that is filler.)*

> One of the reasons why I never change my avatar is that I believe having a strong avatar that is consistent over the years with your brand helps you build recognition.

Uhh, ok?

*(Skip some stuff about Robert “Ego” Scoble.)*

> For about 2 months every time I logged into Facebook, I was seeing another brand that Robert liked. Were the brands paying Facebook for that? Probably. But it also constantly reminded me of a good friend and also linked back to him in the like. I have to admit that I ended up liking a lot of the same brands Robert did, when it was something I really liked.

Here’s the point Hawk is missing: did Robert like the brand because he likes the brand, or because he was paid *to* like the brand? Did Facebook take a like out of context, like perhaps because Scoble visited a page for those brands and by default “auto” liked those pages?

In this type of setup, you never know the answer to these things because it is in the best interest of the brand and ad company to hide this truth and make it as favorable as possible.

Point three (two was a real dud):

> Let’s say I’m in the market to buy a new filter for my camera. Wouldn’t it be a positive for me to know that another photographer I respect (like Joe Azure) seems to like his Lee Big Stop Filter? Isn’t that a lot better than just a generic ad? Especially if I see a lot of my friends endorsing one product, this may be a good signal to me that this product is worth checking out more than others.

Now *this* is a strong point. However, if you are in the market, wouldn’t it be far more helpful to see that your pals like this product on the product page instead of an ad? If you are looking for a particular product, do you really look for it in ads?

> I saw a report earlier today that said that by 2014 10-15% of online reviews will be fakes. With all the fake reviews and astroturfing out there, I’m more inclined to trust the word of a friend on a product or service, than a stranger.

And how many Facebook/Google “likes” do you think are fake, or severely outdated?

And lastly:

> Oh, and by the way, if you were wondering whether or not those sea salt and vinegar chips in the dark blue bag by Kettle Chips were the BEST CHIPS IN THE ENTIRE WORLD? Yep, they pretty much are — and if Kettle Chips wants to send a few bags of those over to our place, my daughters and I would totally be down with that. 


What should we have expected from someone that has this on their sidebar: “Google+ is for WINNERS!”.

I get that some people don’t mind this. That for “influencers”, brands, and Google this *will* be a good thing. But for the average user this will either be nothing of importance, or shitty. The idea that it would be good is laughable.

[1]: http://thomashawk.com/2013/10/id-plus-one-that-why-i-think-googles-shared-endorsements-are-a-good-thing-for-social-media-influencers-and-consumers.html

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