LinkedIn Free Level Losing Steam as LinkedIn Jumps The Shark

December 9th, 2010 | by Jason Alba |

Have you heard of the phrase “jumped the shark?”

It refers to a Happy Days episode when The Fonz (aka, Fonzie) was water skiing and he jumped over a shark.

From wikipedia (read that page for more info and a picture of the Fonz skiing :p):

These changes were often the result of efforts to revive interest in a show whose audience had begun to decline.

I don’t know if there will be a decline in signups, users or upgrades (those are three different things!), because LinkedIn has a lot of steam and momentum, but they have done stuff over the years that have ticked off the real, main users.

But there is certainly grumbling.

I don’t think LinkedIn cares, though.  I’m guessing this is a strategic move to increase their upgrade revenues so when they do their next financial move (IPO is what they are saying) they can have big numbers and get more money.

In their latest change, they have taken some capabilities away from non-paying users.  No big deal, I guess, as us freeloaders don’t give them any value (oh wait, we do… we impact their valuation, we increase their google ad click revenue, and they count us as USERS even if we don’t USE their system… but I digress).

Now, when I look at a 3rd degree connection I can’t see their entire profile.  IMO this was a lame, low-handed move.  But, it’s a simple business decision (that leaves a lot of users in the dust).

Here’s what I see now, if I click on a 3rd degree contact’s profile:


That link is new.  When you click on it, of course they don’t show you the name, they say GET OUT YOUR WALLET:


It will be interesting to see what else we lose over the next few weeks or years as they get ready to IPO or sell… :(

  1. 6 Responses to “LinkedIn Free Level Losing Steam as LinkedIn Jumps The Shark”

  2. By Juli Monroe on Dec 9, 2010 | Reply

    Darn them! This greatly reduces the utility of LinkedIn for networking. And the other paid features are of no use to me. If they want me to upgrade, they need to give me value. Which they aren’t. Mad sales/marketing strategy.

    Oh well, I use Twitter more now anyway, and I think it’s still a more useful tool. Nothing here changes my mind on that.

  3. By Vicky Zillioux on Dec 10, 2010 | Reply

    It is difficult when you have certain priviledges and then they are taken away. but I can understand the other side of the discussion as well. I guess the idea is to get you hooked on the functionality and then make you pay for it. Of course, we could look at it as we got this for free for a long time whcih was a benefit. Some features are only important if you use Linkedin seriously as a tool. Then it is worth something to pay for it.
    Vicky Zillioux

  4. By Marc Freedman on Dec 10, 2010 | Reply


    Good piece. I agree that this change is important. It’s another in a long line of LinkedIn tactics that limit or restrict their users.

    LinkedIn has been implementing this new limitation in stages or according to some magic algorithm. I had this reported to me a few weeks ago. But I still see full names in my own free account.

    It’s all a part of their VC-driven culture. I write more on this @ .


  5. By Karen Siwak on Dec 13, 2010 | Reply

    LinkedIn is only as valuable as the information that people voluntarily choose to display there. For jobseekers (both passive and active) developing a full LinkedIn profile increases the likelihood of being found by recruiters and hiring managers with whom they don’t already have a connection.

    The most recent changes have eliminated that value – a shark-jump indeed. I anticipate that people will stop refreshing their LinkedIn information, and the value of the database will degrade over time.

  6. By Bryant Turnage on Dec 13, 2010 | Reply

    This is one of several very frustrating changes by LinkedIn. What’s more, the monthly subscription doesn’t offer very high value, but is also *extremely* expensive for individual users. Sure, maybe if you’re a corporate recruiter that doesn’t add up to much, but for job seekers – especially those like me who are long-term unemployed due to the economy – there is no way to justify that expense, especially for more than a few months.

    The downside for us as consumers is that LinkedIn is positioned as the 800-pound gorilla of the marketplace. It is the go-to social networking site for professional services, filling a niche that Twitter and Facebook don’t (at least not completely). Will a competitor be able to surface and give us a legitimate alternative? Right now, not having a profile on LinkedIn just doesn’t seem like a logical option for job seekers, but we are left wondering just how much longer it will truly be useful to us.

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