In Sam Laird’s article in Mashable ‘Google+ Widens Roll Out Of Custom URLs‘ the author notes that “Google+ users may eventually have to pay for their convenient, easy-to-use custom URLs”.
Here’s the excerpt Laird refers to from the Google+Policies & Principles page:
“Custom URLs are free for now, but we may start charging a fee for them,” the terms-of-use page reads. “However, we will tell you before we start charging and give you the choice to stop participating first.”
I find it curious that a social network that is struggling to attract active/regular users on it’s platform, let alone a larger number of registered users, would decide to, in effect, pioneer the idea of users paying for their ‘easy-to-use custom URL’.
In principle, I’m not opposed to the idea of paying for a custom URL. After all, I pay an annual fee for my website domain name and having an easy-to-use custom URL for my social networks makes complete sense to me.
That said, I don’t pay for the service on other social networks that are, at least for now, more important to my business and and are far more popular than Google+ (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter). And, in reality, I already have a custom URL for my Google+ accounts through gplus.to.
All that to say, is this another one of the ways Google+ may be shooting itself in the foot?
Granted, should a Google+ URL be offered I’m not likely to turn it down – even if I have to pay a small amount for it. But, overall, how will this help Google+ in the long term and will it help draw more users to the service? I don’t think so.