Introduction: an unconventional voice on CTR and Authorship

With his article Dispelling the Myth of Authorship Impact on CTR Andrea Pernici went against the crowd raising several good points about Google Authorship and CTR.
This article elaborates on one of his point: whether it would or not be a good web strategy for a company to set Google Autorship on the corporate blog.

Corporate blogs and Authorship, not always your employees' interest

Scene from the film 'Fantozzi' (1975) depicting employees running away from the office - Public Domain imageSetting up Authorship means first of all imposing authors to have a Google+ profile (I heard of little faces from other profiles like Twitter and LinkedIn, but never saw them and they could be experiments), and to keep it alive.

Corporate blogs have often articles written by employees who are not interested in binding their face to the company; they write there because that's their duty, but may be their life is more focused on "after 6 p.m."; sometimes they prefer not having a G+ profile, or just prefer using it for their own interests and social life, like they are used to do with Facebook.

When your employee's look is not your best ambassador

Would it be "strategic" to a company to bind their public image to the private profile of an employee?

Authorship with photo not fit for your company public image
This employee might be a nice guy, but is not fit to represent your company

The guy could post on G+ about topics where for a company wouldn't be wise to venture (e.g. politics, religion, ect..) or upload pictures with unprofessional postures. While everyone has the right to express his opinions, companies usually have better keeping neutral on certain topics.

Your employees loyalty can't be forever

What if the company sets a page authorship to an employee account, and then the guy resigns to join a competitor?

Authorship with photo of your employee
Once your employee was your content author...

First someone has to realize what this implies, and it may take months.
One can remove authorship for contents hosted on its own servers, but would Google understand it (I've never seen case-studies on the matter)? And how long would it take?

Authorship with photo of your former employee
...but now your content author is your former employee.
You are ranking a link to a competitor (the author's profile link).

And what if contents are on guest post articles? The articles would still link to your company, but if the user clicks on the profile link, after a couple of hops your ranking article might lead a visit to your competitor!
Or may be the former employee would solicit you to remove it, and you don't control the content.

An ideal strategy for a company would be having full control and ownership of the used G+ profiles (ok, you can't say "full control" of Google hosted content, but stay with me), but would probably not fit with the Terms of Service; they could impose their employees the use of ad hoc profiles controlled by the company, but other than again conflict with ToS, profiles have to be kept alive to have a value and be used for authorship (at least this is my understanding, I didn't experiment with it).

An uncomfortable truth about corporate blogs

Scene of the film 'Il Secondo Tragico Fantozzi' (1976) depicting the employee in front of the Mega-Galactic Executive Officer - Public Domain imageAnother common scenario: company blog posts signed with the name of a company executive, but posted with the username of an employee. Of course, the executive is too busy, he delegates, and doesn't have to get his hands dirty with a vulgar CMS. But if you want authorship set, someone first should review years of posts to correct the association between official author and username. You can always find a dirty employee for the dirty job, but it would cost his time, it's error prone, and the return is uncertain.
Besides, even high executives can resign and join a competitor!

When your employee's face is too ugly

Another consideration about authorship and company strategy is:
what if their best author had such an ugly face he could sink his face in dough and make monster cookies? Would it be "strategic" for a company to associate it to its brand?

Authorship with photo of an ugly face
This employees might be your best writer, but his ugly face repels clicks

TL;DR : to cut a long story short

Scene of the film 'Il Secondo Tragico Fantozzi' (1976) depicting Fantozzi freely expressing his opinion on the immortal masterpiece he was forced to watch - Public Domain imageTo summarize:

  • your author/employee might not want to put his face on your company blog
  • your employee might not be your best ambassador
  • if your employee joins the competition you might give free visits to your competitor

And what do You think about Google Authorship on corporate blogs?