Google+ Seeks Celebrities

The social media site would reach a new level if only some famous people would join

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Google, looking for a little celebrity cache to lift its social network's status, has implemented a "celebrity acquisition plan," according to Google e-mails reviewed by CNN.

The site has racked up over 10 million users in under three weeks, but a few famous people could put Google+ in a whole different league. So far, Google has seen success with its strategy to first hook techies to the site, "Google+ is off to a promising start, especially with tech-savvy early adopters.... It looks to be on a similar trajectory as Twitter was during the network's fledgling period, with a similar list of Internet notables among the most followed," explains CNN's Mark Milian.

But, it's time to pull out the big guns. Twitter's acquisition of celebrity users was a huge step, continues McMillan: "Twitter reached a new stratosphere when it got the endorsements from athletes and luminaries, such as Ashton Kutcher and President Barack Obama."

Google could benefit from that kind of fame. When notable voices use social media sites, others join to follow their musings. "Celebrities can be magnets for mainstream participation in online services, drawing new users over the obstacles of account creation and up the learning curve," CNET's Stephen Shankland adds.

Before Google implemented their grand plan, curious celebs had joined the network, including Alyssa Milano, Ashton Kutcher and 50 Cent. But without a way to verify the legitimacy of these celebrities, mass famous-person adoption may not come. Even the celebrities themselves are wondering how this works, apparently. Take Alyssa Milano's apparent musing, for instance:

Not only does the current lack of verification provide an inroad for profile fraud, but it could also deter celebrities, who fear fans or Google won't take their profiles seriously--it happened to William Shatner, as we reported yesterday. He got kicked off of Google+ briefly for creating a fake profile.

Following this incident, Google announced their "celebrity acquisition plan," which will implement a validation system, similar to Twitter's, ensuring no imposters hack the community. "Google is beginning to devise a system that would verify the identities of public figures who sign up for the service," Brett Schulte, a Hollywood consultant, told CNN. Like Twitter's bright blue mark of fame, Google+'s system would not only prevent impersonators, but it would also prove the users' famousness, drawing the vainest of celebs. "Being 'verified' on Twitter has become something of a status symbol. It's sought after among celebrities who take to the service," says McMillan.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.