Crappy Custom Invitation

May 20th, 2008 | by Jason Alba |

I get some great custom invitations. My favorites include those which say: “I look forward to getting your newsletter.” Not because I’m looking to increase my newsletter base, rather because I know they actually read my profile! I get a grin every time I see this in an invite as I think “good job!”

Here’s an example of a crappy invitation. I despise these (I’ve received … oh, about 10 of these in the last year):

Hi Jason,

I see you also utilize linkedIn to keep up with your professional contacts and help them with introductions. I would like to invite you to access my network on LinkedIn.Through my network on LinkedIn, I’ve found business people that I may want to get introduced to some day, and many of them are friends of friends I didn’t know were there. Additionally, LinkedIn has enabled me to find and reconnect with many colleagues who I used to work with but had lost track of.It’s been pretty amazing to see the number and quality of people you can reach through just a few trusted contacts. And my LinkedIn network is growing daily by literally thousands of professionals. I look forward to connecting with you!Best regards,(name, contact information)

I know why you use LinkedIn. I know it’s valuable. I know there are benefits.

I wrote a book about LinkedIn :) You don’t have to sell me on it.

But you did convince me that you have no idea who I am.

My request plea (!) to you is to please create personal, custom invites, not canned custom invites!

  1. 8 Responses to “Crappy Custom Invitation”

  2. By John Harper on May 20, 2008 | Reply

    Now, Now Jason – you sound a little too reactive. This goes back to the point we were discussing when you were out in the Bay Area for your book promotion. Do you only link to people you are willing to bet your reputation on or is being a promiscuous LION hold more potential.

    The whole social networking phenomena is interesting and out of control. Many seem to think if yo throw enough mud on the wall, riches will follow. It does for some – too true.

    I believe you and I agree that Never Eat Alone is a good book.

  3. By Jason Alba on May 20, 2008 | Reply

    John, good points… does the invite matter, etc etc.

    It gets old getting preached to about LinkedIn… for the simple fact that it shows the person did not even look at my profile.

    Would they send the same invitation to someone who works at LinkedIn? Shouldn’t… but they probably do.

    But you are right, there definitely is the “mud on the wall” factor, and this is just my position (which is different than what it was two years ago).

  4. By Walter Feigenson on May 20, 2008 | Reply

    Jason, your example is particularly egregious, but it demonstrates another point as well: any social interaction needs to be mutual. This one is purely selfish. “What can I get from you.” There’s nothing about what he’s going to give back. So he’s not only fishing for connections, but he’s clearly not going to provide any benefit from linking to him. All I get from this is “me, me, me.” (Oh, and I love the part where he comments on the benefits of a few great connections (which is true), and then goes on to say he’s adding thousands of connections every day.)

  5. By Thomas E. Kenny on May 20, 2008 | Reply

    I’ve found the most useful invitations to be the ones that remind me how we know each other. I’ve gotten some canned invites where I almost hit “I Don’t Know” however they were saved by my query and their response regarding how we know each other.

    The part in the example that concerned me most was “my LinkedIn network is growing daily by literally thousands of professionals.” Hmm, “literally thousands” how credible is that?
    Seems like there’s already a debit in the trust column of the relationship….

  6. By LA Blogger Gal on May 20, 2008 | Reply

    Oh, that standard message drives me nuts. Especially if I don’t know you all that well. Take a moment, tell me where I met you or how you know me, or heck, even why you think I should know you if you’re contacting me out of the blue. It doesn’t take that long, but it makes a world of difference.

  7. By Maria Elena Duron on Jun 4, 2008 | Reply

    I agree, Thomas. “Take me back” to how we’re connected. Sometimes my mind is focusing elsewhere and it’s a challenge to know “where do I know you from?”. I always appreciate someone who is willing to connect the dots for me!

    Jason – as always superb advice!

    Maria Elena Duron

  8. By Harish Keshwani on Jul 10, 2008 | Reply

    The funniest custom invitation that I have received is:
    “You happen to be on my Outlook Contacts list. It is best in our mutual interests to connect with each other on LinkedIn.”

  9. By Scott Allen on Feb 17, 2010 | Reply

    The ones that really kill me are the ones that go on and on about why I should connect with them because they’re so well-connected. Riiiight.

    You know, those of us who do these all the time take it for granted… I just did a post about how to write great LinkedIn invitations and why it matters. I hope folks find it useful — feedback welcome.

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