LinkedIn Users Are Revolting Spammers

It's interesting what happens when a few "power users" start using a social networking Web site such as LinkedIn in ways the owners didn't intend. LinkedIn allows business users to make introductions or pass on referrals to people in their network -- people they know and trust.

However, there's a small minority of users who each have thousands of links, in an attempt to become an important hub for business introductions or recruitment. LinkedIn is trying to discourage them from using the site in this way -- LinkedIn believes it's not possible to know thousands of people well enough for them to participate on the site for personal introductions or referrals. LinkedIn is now putting a cap on the number of links a user may have.

Truth be told, the behavior of some of these self-styled "power networkers" verges on spamming in our experience. Those who are amassing thousands of links are basically spamming in order to get them. Nevertheless, we're sympathetic to both points of view. Ultimately, though, it's LinkedIn's site and it makes the rules.

... Richi Jennings

One Comment

  1. Posted January 19, 2006 at 11:59 PM | Permalink

    As a clarification, there will not be a limit on connections one can have, but only on the number of invitations one can send in one’s lifetime.

    While there is little impact on our user base at large when one decides whether or not accept an incoming invitation, sending invitations affects other members in a very real as most of us suffer from overflowing email inboxes.

    Inviters get feedback from our users every day: sometimes explicitly when people decline their invitations or report them to us an unwelcome invitation; sometimes implicitly through the rate of which invitations are accepted.

    When people invite someone who is not on LinkedIn, then whether or not that person accepts their invitations has as much to do with LinkedIn as with the inviter. However, if the invitee is already on LinkedIn and accepting invitations from other people, then it really is a clear sign that someone sent an unwelcome invitation.

    Having data on millions of inviters, we saw that invitation #5,000, for example, is much more likely to be unwelcome than invitation #10. There seemed to be a distinct break point around 3,000, so that’s where we will be setting the default limit.

    However, we also learned that there are some truly connected people who send more than 3,000 invitations and people still seem to be welcoming their invitations.

    This is why users will be able to request we raise their invitation allotment if our users have generally provided implicit and explicit positive feedback on their invitations. It’s wisdom-of-the-crowds approach, which we wholeheartedly embrace.

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment. To comment, first join our community.