Rumors: Is LinkedIn Reducing Free Features AGAIN?

March 22nd, 2011 | by Jason Alba |

On a LinkedIn Group I saw a message that indicated LinkedIn is reducing free account services (AGAIN)… this time it’s a really big reduction.

I just tested and there is no change for me, but maybe it just isn’t rolled out in my account yet.  I honestly hope this is just a rumor, though.

Here’s what I know:

If you are NOT a first degree contact with someone and you want to communicate with them with a message, you have to upgrade (it says: “Send an InMail”… which sends you to a page to upgrade).

I’ve always been able to join a Group that that person is in, and the “send Inmail” link changes to “Send a message,” with no upgrade prompt.  This has been a great way to communicate with someone quite fast, without upgrade, and without a limit on how many times I can send a message like this (in other words, you only get X inMails a month, or at a time).

If the rumors are true, LinkedIn is changing it so that it will still say “send an inMail.”  Apparently, based on what the person reporting it wrote, you can still send them a message, but you have to go the “long way” to do it… you’d have to go to the Group, find the person, and then click the link to message them from there. That might take me a few minutes to do, which is a pain.

I’m not sure if this is really the direction LinkedIn is headed.  They’ve reduced the free features a number of times over the last while… I’m guessing they’ve done it as they’ve prepared for their IPO (“hey, look at us, we have a lot of people upgrading!”).  I hope it stops, though… if they keep reducing the free features they’ll really prompt people to look at an alternative.  Even an 800 pound guerrilla can’t keep pushing and pushing (and disrespecting) and expect to get away with it.

I’ve heard a lot of backlash about this type of behaviour over the years… on that one Discussion talking about this the comments include:

Yep… it’s like what IT people said Microsoft called their bugs… “features.”

This is a SHAMEFUL statement… it’s a shame that users are saying this disrespectful move is TYPICAL. If I owned or worked at LinkedIn this would be a stinging statement :( (I can’t defend it!)

I really can’t say more than that… :s

Like I said, I hope the rumors are UNTRUE!


  1. 8 Responses to “Rumors: Is LinkedIn Reducing Free Features AGAIN?”

  2. By Ed Han on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    Jason, I haven’t noticed this one yet, but I do spend a lot of time on Q&A and in the last few days, people report not being able to send messages on the basis of shared groups.

    Since I’m positive you talk to a lot more people than me on LI, I thought I should send up that warning: it’s yet another clear indicator of reduced features for basic accts.

  3. By Christine Pilch on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    Sadly, LinkedIn doesn’t seem to understand that it’s a bad business model to take away from the free product. They should be adding premium features that are so enticing, most people will want them. Every time they strip something away, they anger and alienate members. Eventually, a competitive product will rise up and people will go there to regain what they’ve lost on LinkedIn.

    On another note, one of the reasons I haven’t upgraded to a paid version myself is because I have to be fully aware of what the free version’s limitations are, as most of my clients use the free version. How many others like me are there?

  4. By Phil Rosenberg on Mar 22, 2011 | Reply

    Jason, I found this answer in Linkedin Strategies, a group I subscribe to. It seems that Linkedin hasn’t removed the ability to email group members … but they have hidden it to make it less accessible.

    “You can in fact still send messages to group members – it’s just more inconvenient. You can of course reply privately to any post made in a discussion. In order to send a message to a member, you now must access this via the group’s member list. Go to the member list, find the member (probably need to search on their name), then mouse over their name. Upon highlighting the name two links will appear off to the right including the option to send a message. This has not rolled out to everyone yet so some members you can still click on their profile to message, while others you cannot.”

    Hope this helps,

    Phil Rosenberg

    President, reCareered
    Subscribe and have reCareered

  5. By Steve Tylock on Mar 23, 2011 | Reply


    I’ve got the change and it is as indicated – no “Send a message” button on the profile, only the ability to send messages off the group member list.

    But – I think it’s worse as I’ve pointed out in – users can’t get an introduction to people they share a group with either;-)

    It get’s a bit tangled…


  6. By Irina Shamaeva on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Jason,

    The rumors are only partially true; the feature is still there but is much harder to navigate to. I just posted a clarification with some screenshots, showing two options on sending a message:

    The Rumor on Sending Messages On #LinkedIn

    Hope this helps.

  7. By Brad Merrill on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t recall seeing this (I’ll have to check), but I just don’t want to see it end up like classmates has. I get emails from them at least 3x a week saying “someone visited your profile” or something to that effect. I click on the link and there is a list of names with the date that person visited, but the name is blurred out. You can do almost nothing with a free account. I really hope this isn’t the way that LI is headed- IPO or not. (BTW, classmates was recently bought out by Memory Lane – a memorabilia company but it was bad before that.)

    I’ll have to look and see if that feature (or lack thereof) has been rolled out to my account.

  8. By Julie on Mar 30, 2011 | Reply

    I agree that they should leave the free version as it was and add to the premium, I will probably start looking for an alternative to Linked In, it was good for me in the past but they are taking away the value.

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