Google’s merger of Plus Local and Places has been like riding a very important train, that you have to take – with no tracks.  The merger and changes make inconsistency the only thing consistent.  I’m not going to get off on a rant and will offer this honest disclosure – it’s getting much better; but there are still a ton of bugs, very little helpful information from Google, and there seems to be no consistency in solutions.

The standard operation procedures for Google Plus Local (lately) for my new clients (with new businesses) has been to claim their Places Page, build out a Google Plus profile, create a G+ Local page, and merge them all into one product.  This has worked fairly well during all of the transition.   Although I discovered a new and quite frustrating issue two weeks ago when I repeatedly received the error message This name is restricted. 

The business had a long time Places Page with twenty or so reviews and I wanted to use the exact same name, as you absolutely should, for their Google+ Local so there was no funny business that should have thrown a red flag – it simply wouldn’t take the name and kept telling me This name is restricted.  I found very little information on the forums but they seemed to point to a few names that would cause this message to be displayed.

In the case of this client, the name “Family” was causing Google to throw the error message.  I’m still not sure why, as there has to be a thousand legitimate businesses that include “Family” within a stones throw of me, but Google+ sure didn’t seem to like it.  The most helpful response was from a group forum that basically said Google is aware of the issue and is working on it.  Okay- great, I’m supremely confident a 300 billion dollar company is throwing all it’s resources behind helping out a bald consultant in Dallas, so I’ll just wait it out…

Actually here’s what I did that worked for this client.  The business name was three words so I just set up the page using variations on the name, dropping each word until is took the name and ceased giving me the error.  Then I went in to the profile before claiming the page and changed the name back to the correct one.  At that time it reset the marker to the right address and proceeded without indecent.  I completed the verification and the card is on it’s way.

Now I get to wait, oh – maybe another month before this drawn out process is fully complete and hopefully not lose any reviews, pictures, or other business information in the process but for now I’ve found away around yet another Google+ Local bug.