Google is getting strict with its Name Policy. This policy doesn't allow for nicknames, pseudonyms or internet handles on Google+ profiles.
According to Google, this policy was created to fight spam and keep its users safe from internet evil-doers—scammers, pedophiles and the like. There has been much outcry from the public, many arguing that nothing will prevent a criminal from going by a common, non-suspicious name. Others are upset because their nicknames are who they are, that they are known in both their real and virtual lives by their pseudonyms.
But in spite of the push back, Google is standing by its policy and has given those using a nickname—or those who have a Google+ Profile for their dog—notice that they have four days to change their profile name before they are banned.
What This Means for Doctors, Lawyers and Other Professionals
Unless you go by the handle "Dr. Awesome" or "Kent the Super Attorney" on Google+, the news doesn't mean much for you. If, however, you're going by a nickname—Dr. 90210 comes to mind—you'll need to change your Google+ Profile to your actual, legal name and title. Sorry, but you must. If you want to do right by Google and not be punished, you have to follow their rules—end of story.
But do not despair, Dr. Awesome! If you have a nickname that you are well known for, you can and should maintain a Google+ Pages account for your pseudonym. This will allow you to remain connected with your nickname, which may be an important part of your branding efforts. So, as long as you change your Google+ Profile to your real name, you can have your cake and eat it too.
Still not sure you "get" Google+ and all of its trappings? Then listen to our recent webinar on demystifying Google+ or make use of our free Google+ checklist, The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started With Google+.