I joined LinkedIn early on. Here was a professional networking app that mirrored personal relationships in a way that I felt really comfortable with; I connect only to people I know, only they can see my network and the only way they can connect to MY connections is through me. Perfect. No one gets spammed and harassed, a network of trust.
Now for the revenue part
Every business needs to make money, and the obvious revenue streams for LinkedIn are advertising and recruitment. At worst, they are a minor irritant (advertising) to users and at best, they actually benefit the member. whether they are recruiting or are looking to be recruited. All good so far. The last revenue stream is the one that I believe is the bit the Golden Goose might choke on…
InMail or SPAM?
With a premium subscription, you can pay some money and start sending mails to people you’ve never met in your life. “InMails” outside of LinkedIn would probably be called SPAM. Writing an unsolicited mail to someone you don’t know. So now all the list vendors, marketing services providers, investment service providers, pretty much every man and their dog are sending me invitations to connect, or asking me for meetings.
A network that first insisted that we network only with those we know has morphed into a place to network with those we want to know us. (The trouble with LinkedIn)
I am still a huge fan or LinkedIn. It’s possibly the best professional social network I know, provides lots of opportunity for discussion around specific professional topics in their groups and genuine opportunity for people to create meaningful networks. I’d go so far as to say that I don’t want to live without it…but I think that they’re killing the goose. And that’s a shame.