Top Five LinkedIn Blunders

April 4th, 2013 | by Jason Alba |

I hate to sound like a negative Nelly, but this stuff is no secret.  Here are what I consider the top five blunders from LinkedIn:

Moving free features to premium, and hiding information from Profiles unless you upgrade. There’s no one buying taco trucks about these moves to announce the changes (like they did with News or Signal)… but plenty of users are sick of LinkedIn moving features that used to be free to the premium level.  They are drawing a line between who is using their system and who they want to use their system and I think job seekers are the ones getting pushed out.  As they make it less usable without upgrading I think we’ll see people move to other places.

LinkedIn Endorsements. What a joke.  This was purely a play to get more eyeballs, even if they are confused eyeballs.  I can’t spend the time to belabor the point anymore.  Someone predicted Endorsements would go away by the end of 2013.  I won’t hold my breath, but they should go away.

It will be an absolutely boneheaded move if LinkedIn ties the general search results to the number of endorsements.  I’m guessing they will do that.

Answers. I can’t believe they took Answers away.  I’m speechless.  This was the #1 most powerful tool for LinkedIn users (not “members,” or people who didn’t come into the system, but real users).

Not engaging evangelists, and pretty much ignoring everyone else. When I was writing my book I reached out to LinkedIn and to some LinkedIn communities.  The response I got from LinkedIn “go away!” was surprising.  Over the years I’ve learned that’s how they engage with most everyone.  People who evangelize LinkedIn are snubbed.  It obviously hasn’t hurt LinkedIn, but it’s a shame that a company based around networking, who says “relationships matter,” have zero interest in developing relationships with users, power users, etc.  About six months ago I was asked to jump in on a group letter from another group of LinkedIn evangelists to communicate with them, but I declined and laughed, knowing where that would go.  #nowhere

Allowed LinkedIn to be a Monster replacement (aka, a job board). I think this is the most catastrophic strategic move LinkedIn has made.  In the recent Ask The Expert webinar with Nick Corcodilos (will be on the blog on Monday), Nick talked about this too.  He said LinkedIn should move away from being a job board and go back to being a connector of professionals.  In addition to moving towards being a job board, they have made a huge mistake in allowing others to talk about them as a job board replacement.  If I were at LinkedIn I would launched an aggressive branding campaign to convince people that LinkedIn is about connecting people and professionals, not selling ads as a job board.  Look at the future of Monster (or at least the last few years). Do they really want to go that route?

Controversial but not on the Top 5 Blunders list:

Limit to 50 Groups per person. I think it’s ridiculous to be in hundreds or thousands of Groups… it hurt when LinkedIn made this limit which seems low, but it forces you to focus on the top value of fifty Groups and not goof around on too many.

Arrogant responses from LinkedIn employees. I’ve been involved in this space for a long time and rarely have I had to deal with people as arrogant as some of the LinkedIn team.  There are two, in particular, who were horrid to work with.  Neither of them are there now, they are probably fabulously wealthy since the IPO.  But your employees are your brand, and those two were a mess.  I’m not listing this as a top five because it has a lot more to do with people than the overall company strategy.

All the constant and useless interface changes. At least in the last year or two it seems like they have desperately tried to “keep up.”  I hear people saying that LinkedIn is trying to be more like Facebook.  I wish they would just try to be more like… LinkedIn!

Alright, that’s enough for me. What do you think?

  1. 3 Responses to “Top Five LinkedIn Blunders”

  2. By Carlos Scarpero on Apr 4, 2013 | Reply

    I have another one to add. Aggressive IDK policies. Sure, there are spammers that need to be stopped and the “CEO from IBM” invites from Malaysia are exhibit A. Those don’t seem to be stopped nearly aggresively enough.

    There are also a lot of people like me who send out personalized invites and have a high acceptance rate. I still end up with restrictions due to the sheer number of invitations sent.

    Personally, I don’t think the policy is about spamming at all. I think it’s an attempt to get power users frustrated enough to just pay the money to upgrade.

    It’s just sad. I’m one of the people evangelizing the site!

  3. By David Goorevitch on Apr 8, 2013 | Reply

    I totally agree. I’ve pretty much been driven away, not driven to buy an upgrade. I understand where Carlos is coming from but I don’t believe anyone’s stupid enough to try frustration as a buying strategy. Not even the people at Linked in.

  4. By Bob McIntosh on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply

    Jason,

    I appreciate your honesty yet relentless dedication to educating LinkedIn members. I agree with every point you’ve made, especially the one about doing away with Answers.

    I, like you, valued Answers for it’s engagement, and can’t understand LI’s reasoning for this. You and I are not the only ones who have decried the vanquish of Answers.

    Stay true to your convictions.

    Bob

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