Google+ and Unfair Advantages


The best way to win in business (if not life) is to have what business school teachers call an “unfair advantage.” Although that sounds sleazy,  it is really just an economic principle. Here’s an unfair advantage: “I’m the only one who has a basketball, so if all you guys on the court want to play basketball with my ball, you have to let me play, too.” In fact, the whole net neutrality argument is all about unfair advantage: if your ISP is a big cable company, it has the power to make it much easier for you to watch through cable TV and not so much through Hulu. (Depending on government regulation.)

OK, now that we got that out of the way — what does this all have to do with Google Plus?

1) My invite is through my lunametrics email, but I understand that you can get at it through your gmail. I assume it is just like Gtalk — sitting there on the side of your gmail.  Gmail is the third most popular email service in the US (sorry, international folks, no data), according to Hitwise’s report from last week (July 2, 2011) .  So Google has easy access, or more correctly, you millions of gmail users have amazingly easy access to Google Plus.

2) Google has been rolloing out their black bar on various properties (such as search and maps and you guessed it, Plus.) So in many different Google services, your plus profile is available, as is the red notification at the top, mentally nagging you to do things like assign people to circles.

3) And to take it all round trip, the Google +1 button (not to be confused) is now enabled for every search results when you are signed in to Plus , somewhat annoying on search, but it probably leads to way more +1 than I could have expected.

So — Google has taken advantage of all their unfair advantages, such as their role in your gmail, your search, your maps, to really try to make Google Plus a winner. The fact that the product manager, Surfer Boy, and his amazing team did an amazing job with the product, if not with the product name, helps enormously.  That, however, is “just” great design and engineering, a topic for a different post.

And remember, there is nothing unfair about an unfair advantage.


So,  +1 us on Google Plus.  Really rolls off the tongue, no?  No?

Update: Read this article that Danny Sullivan wrote on Search Engine Land.  He points out that Google, while still not quite getting it right technically, clearly shows how “friending” the few company pages that have been allowed helps those companies in the Google Search. And remember, there is nothing unfair about an unfair competitive advantage. It’s just business.

Our founder, Robbin Steif, started LunaMetrics in 2004. She is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Business School, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Digital Analytics Association. Robbin is a winner of a BusinessWomen First award, as well as a Diamond Award for business leadership. In 2017, Robbin sold her company to HS2 Solutions and has since retired from LunaMetrics.

  • I couldn’t agree more with this post. I joined G+ early to have a look, but had no desire to move away from Twitter or Facebook. But given the fact i’m on gmail, use greader, organise myself through igoogle, search on google, etc etc, i don’t go more than about 15 minutes without being exposed to G+ during the day… Is it just me and the rest of the geek squad? I don’t think so. They really have a good chance this time.

  • I have yet to try Google+ yet, plenty of other things to get going first but as I am well exposed to the Google family of services it will only be a matter of time.

    Gmail is THE online email service as far as I and many of my friends are concerned, they have maintained their relationship with the worlds ISPs, where as yahoo has failed in this area and now deliverability is an issue with them.

    Google do not always get it right but by throwing out enough projects they have managed to get it more right than wrong, which is why we are where we are now and I love it.


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