New LinkedIn Policy Penalises User-Made Groups

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 by , under , , ,

An open letter to my Social Media Marketing group on the LinkedIn network, from group moderator Michael Crosson (a typical user, not a LinkedIn employee). If you're on LinkedIn and are using groups, this concernts YOU. You be the judge.

"Hello, everyone - I am using a new feature on LinkedIn to contact you about something very important to all of us - social networking. I'm sure you joined in order to find information and resources, get feedback and network with other people interested in Social Media Marketing.

But LinkedIn has just made some policy changes that have severely restricted what group managers can do and makes the functionality of this group much more limited.

What they have done:

1. Taken away my ability to send you the monthly email newsletter that I have produced in the past. I can no longer access the group's email list.

2. Taken away my ability to send you individual welcome letters or direct correspondence. I can't even view who is a member of this group, it is limited to seeing only 500, not the entire 15,000+.

3. Forced advertising onto profile and other pages - but the group managers do not profit. There is no revenue share. I don't make a dime from any of the work I put into LinkedIn. [Note from Ed: This is just like you creating a web page, and some company putting web banners on your page without you getting any money from the advertising. Cheap.]

4. By disabling the email list download, I now have ZERO visibility into group performance reports that I used to have through my email management system. I can't tell how many people are unsubscribing, how many undeliverable emails there are, etc. etc. LinkedIn has NO reporting capabilities whatsoever.

They claim they had to do this because some unscrupulous managers were building lists for spam. Their response is penalize all the legitimate group managers for the actions of a few bad apples. There are far better ways to deal with this issue.

I pride myself in moderating and managing this group to the best of my ability. For almost a year, we have grown at 25% a month. LinkedIn overall has grown almost at much. The fact is, it is groups like ours that makes LinkedIn successful. But now they are biting the hand that feeds them. My ability to interact and network with you as individual members has been completely hamstrung. This is the only way to reach you individually.

I URGE YOU TO TAKE ACTION AND VOICE YOUR OPINION. Ask them to rescind this heavy-handed and totally unnecessary tactic. Send an email directly to the Founder, Chairman and CEO of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, directly on his LinkedIn page:

Thanks for taking the time and for participating in Social Media Marketing. Let's keep growing and improving it, and that means growing and improving LinkedIn, too."

Comment away.

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