Google Removes Mashable, Sesame Street & Other Prominent Accounts From Google Plus

google-plus-logo-squareSome of the biggest company/brand accounts on Google+ have now — finally, some might say — been removed.

The Google Plus pages for Mashable, Ford and Sesame Street are all gone. Our own Search Engine Land page has also been removed. Mashable was, according to, the No. 4 most popular account on Google+ with more than 103,000 followers.

All of those accounts have been replaced by a 404 error message. (Update: see postscript at the end of this article.)

Google has been removing business/brand accounts for more than a week now, but some users were unhappy with the random nature of the process. Some accounts were zapped early on while others seemed to get special treatment, or at least were ignored, and continued to increase their following.

It’s been a rocky few weeks for companies and brands wanting to have a presence on Google+. Within a week of Plus’ launch, Google announced that business pages would be coming soon, but days later had to ask brands to stop making new accounts. Google eventually invited businesses to apply to be part of a test program and accepted applications through last Friday.

The most recent news about Google+ for businesses was this message last week from Google’s Christian Oestlien, who said that Google would be “selecting a diverse set of business partners for the test period” and notifying them this week. Here at Search Engine Land, we did get a notification that our Google Plus account has been suspended, but there’s no invitation to a test program.

Your profile is suspended

After reviewing your profile, we determined that some of the content (e.g. text, images, name) violates our Community Standards or our Names Policy. Please remember that we are currently limiting profiles to real people and will be launching a profile for businesses and other entities later this year.

If you believe that your profile has been suspended in error, or you have recently edited your profile to comply with our Community Standards or Names Policy please submit your profile for reconsideration. Your profile will be reviewed again and unblocked if it complies with our Community Standards.

We’ve reached out to Google for more information and will update this post if/when we have a reply.


As of 2:00 pm PT, the Mashable and Ford accounts have been restored, while Sesame Street (and Search Engine Land) is still returning a 404 message. Mashable founder Pete Cashmore has just posted that he’s been talking to Google today and that he will use the Mashable account personally, and Mashable will wait for Google to formally launch business profiles to have an official presence on Google Plus:

We chatted with the Google+ team today about their plans for branded accounts, and we’ve both agreed that while the Mashable community is very engaged on Google+ and we all have great fun joining discussions here, it would be better for Mashable to wait for branded profiles to launch officially before having a company presence on here.

We’ve still not heard back from Google on our earlier information request.

Postscript 2, From Danny Sullivan:

In the case of Mashable, it’s technically not back. Rather, founder Pete Cashmore — who already had an account with 40,000 followers on Google+, has said on that account that he’s “winding down” and instead now going to be posting from the former Mashable account that currently has 100,000 followers, as he said on that account. So it’s not really Mashable back, see? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. It’s Pete.

That’s clearly a workaround that lets Mashable maintain its heavily followed accoun. Ford is using no such workaround, so it’s unclear why it has been restored.

Postscript 3, From Danny Sullivan:

Google has now said that brand pages are going, and the test program that people applied for to have brand pages appears dead in the water. Instead, the company will allow a “tiny” number of businesses to keep their profiles. It’s also encouraging businesses to find real people willing to take over the business profiles that have already been maintained.

From Google’s Christian Oestlien post on the matter:

A few weeks ago we mentioned we would be doing a test of business profiles and asked people interested to apply. Believe it or not we actually had tens of thousands of businesses, charities, and other organizations apply to take part from all over the world. Many of you have reached out to me personally through Google+, e-mail, chat, and even other Googlers. Thank you. Your response has been humbling.

With so many qualified candidates expressing intense interest in business profiles, we’ve been thinking hard about how to handle this process. Your enthusiasm obligates us to do more to get businesses involved in Google+ in the right way, and we have to do it faster. As a result, we have refocused a few priorities and we expect to have an initial version of businesses profiles up and running for EVERYONE in the next few months. There may be a tiny handful business profiles that will remain in the meantime solely for the purpose of testing how businesses interact with consumers.

In the meantime, we ask you not to create a business profile using regular profiles on Google+. The platform at the moment is not built for the business use case, and we want to help you build long-term relationships with your customers. Doing it right is worth the wait. We will continue to disable business profiles using regular profiles. We recommend you find a real person who is willing to represent your organization on Google+ using a real profile as him-or-herself.

Frankly, the entire thing is a mess. Google Profiles allowed for non-human use long before Google+ existed. Search Engine Land, for example, had a profile with Google Buzz (and still does) before this change happened.

Those profiles all now need to be axed, because Google either didn’t think clearly about the obvious need for businesses to be on Google+ or didn’t devote the resources to make it happen? Crazy.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Google: Google+ | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Jason Keath

    Mashable is still up.

  • debilz

    Yep, SEL, your info is wrong – Mashable is up and running atm :)

  • Alter Falter!

    Mashable was down, is up again.

  • K.C.

    Hmm. Maybe the “official” business version of Google+ is coming soon?

  • Chris Rindone

    Um, Mashable is still up, still posting.

  • Glenn Southam

    There are 40,000 people in Pete Cashmore’s circles though so the important Mashable messages will still be communicated. Google(+) can’t go down the route of ‘blocking’ influential individuals and I suspect they won’t. They’ll be a plan to introduce businesses in the future but it will be by their rules…

  • Matt McGee

    Chris – Mashable isn’t STILL up. They were gone. Now they’re back for reasons unknown. No word from Google on any of this yet.

  • Matt McGee

    And now I’ve updated the story with more about the business profiles and Mashable’s situation.


    That’s a pretty good deal for Pete Cashmore then, he gets an instant 105,000+ followers on his personal account.

  • new_haven

    Google: “Hey guys, don’t create non-human entities.”
    Search Engine Land: “Eh, let’s do it anyway.”


    Search Engine Land: “Google punished us for breaking the rules? Let’s bitch about it.”

  • znmeb

    That’s interesting! I don’t remember where I saw it, but supposedly Google had *invited* Ford to put a profile page up!


    It´s so sad Google didn´t have a strategy for this before starting the G+ project. Our account is still working, but we´re the only ones seeing it atm. Our Google Buzz (which previously worked fine) is gone too. Why did they suddenly decide to penalize their most engaged users? I agree, it´s crazy. We have put a lot of work into this thing as well. Hopefully they will reconcider the whole thing quite fast. A lot of people are depending on Google. I just can´t see why they are treating us like this.

  • andismit

    Nothing to do with Ford spending possibly upwards of $30K per day on Google PPC? Or am I just being cynical?

  • http://seofuel Hitesh

    This is going to be very difficult for Google to police long term, they will need to offer businesses a way in soon.

  • Maurice Walshe

    oh dear poor google they don’t get out much in the real world do they I was at an interesting meetup between Policy wonks and Gamers last night.

    We had some interesting discussions about online identity – and how this plays out both for real people and also for brands / nonhuman/ anonymous identities – a strict reading of this means you would miss out this gem from @Queen_UK “Mr Jobs, there is no such thing as ‘American English’. There is English and there are mistakes!”.

    So presumably they will be banning anonymous protesters in say Syria from using google+

    Are theer actually any grownups who think about things at google at all

  • FFB

    Yup, I discovered that I lost my account on Google+. I couldn’t +1 articles, then went to my profile and saw it was suspended. I changed my profile name to my author name and resubmitted the profile and now I’m waiting to hear back.

  • S.B.

    Mashable is still there just renamed Pete Cashmore who now has two accounts – the mashable account remains the same with 108166 followers only the name has changed! Ford is still there

    Lisa Barone of outspoken media puts it quite well in her article:

  • Douglas Crets

    Seems like some of these brands mentioned in the article were doing this because they have to keep “first-mover” branding in any social space. They live and die by that access to new content and to users. it validates their ROI methodology and their continual operation. Personally, I see nothing wrong with waiting until the business use case is established, no need for me to be the first mover.

  • S.E.I.

    Google is clearly picking companies that are positioning for marketing instead of interacting because they have something to say. It makes sens and connects with the idea behind the unveiling of Google Plus to begin with. I still see search engine land and Search Engine Round Table and not to mention my own Search Engine Israel up.

    As I said there is a difference between industry blogs and those websites jockeying for marketing position.

  • C.M.

    The fact that these accounts were removed is not a surprise. The reason some lasted longer than others is a mystery that Google probably will not reveal. What it comes down to, is they ask for businesses to not crate Google+ accounts for the time being, so no one should be surprised by the suspension of accounts. What they should be surprised at is that Google seems a little set back by the number of businesses wanting to join. I think the real mystery is why Google did not have business pages ready at the same time as personal pages. I know that Google+ is not technically open to the masses, but when users can invite as many people as they want it will only seven invites to invite the whole world. So what is really going on behind the scenes at Google?

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