Musicians: Don’t Let Google Hijack Your Brand With “Shared Endorsements”

Google-shared-endorsementYou may have come up with the new of your band on a whim but over time you've built your brand, the total image others have of you, and you're known for any number of qualities that connect who you are personally with your music, live shows and public acts. Now Google's following in Facebook's footsteps with their new "Shared Endorsements" advertising untis featuring you and your friends in Google ads. However, unlike Facebook, it's currently easy to opt out and save your name and photo for more valuable things like music placements and product endorsements.

Google has new Terms of Service headed our way next month and they include information related to possible future use of your name and/or photo in "Shared Endorsments," their new advertising product featured unpaid endorsements from Google+ users across Google properties. This ad unit is not yet active but this is a key step towards a likely inevitable future.

In the "plain English summary" Google explains that:

Your Google+ "Profile name and photo might appear in Google products (including in reviews, advertising and other commercial contexts)."

Your actions that might show up in ads include "content like the reviews you share…things like +1’ing, commenting or following."

These actions will be shown, based on your current privacy settings, "across all Google services, including Search, Maps, Play and in advertising."

You can opt out of Shared Endorsements here.

However, this does not affect how your information is used on Google Play. If you are using that then double-check your privacy settings.

Note that if you are ok with endorsements, they'll be showing up not only in ad units but in search results and the like, according to Marketing Land's Danny Sullivan. Also, Google has been doing similar things since 2011 but now they're preparing for much more visible uses of your endorsement.

Facebook has been even more active on this front, often confusing users intentionally or not, resultings in a $20 million class action lawsuit that they lost. However, Facebook's privacy director said "nothing has changed" except the language in their "data use policy."

Key phrase: "nothing has changed." Here's our $20 million, we're making way more than that off you, puny human.

While such issues may or may not upset everyday users of Google+ and Facebook, if you are building a public brand as a musician or any other thing, for that matter, reject your inclusion in the various "endorsements" and "stories" being developed by social media behemoths.

If they want your sponsorship, they need to pay for it.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. Thank you for sharing this.I don’t know about other musicians but i feel like distribution companies like Tunecore,CDbaby,…ect have hijacked my music with their “music licensing” agreement.When i compare what i get directly from youtube and what i get from distribution companies dealing with youtube i can see the rip off.

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