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LinkedIn Answers? Or LinkedIn Spammers?

nospam.gifShould’ve seen this coming… no sooner is the very cool LinkedIn Answers up and running than it starts getting hit with spam. No, these aren’t your typical anonymous Viagra hawkers — these are people who still just don’t get the fundamental difference between networking and being an idiot selling. It’s also NOT a way to get a free job listing or post your resume — come on, people — are you really that clueless?!?

LinkedIn will have to do something about this very quickly or the whole thing will be sabotaged. I expect to see “report this question” and “report this answer” links soon.

I’m not going to name names and permanently humiliate some of these people (though I think they deserve it, that’s just not my style), and I’m not going to link to these, because hopefully they’ll be gone soon and the links would be broken. But here’s a sampling — a “wall of shame”, if you will:

Are you looking for a fast efficient and cost effective means of promoting your software products in the UK. We will get you there in a third of the time for half the price.

Are there any non UK companies wishing to start up in UK or Europe?

Are you looking for a career move? If so I am recruiting a “head of architecture” must have Contact centre, CRM, Oracle and Siebel experience. Based in the Northwest UK

Are you looking for a career move?? If so I’m looking for a “Head of Architecture” with contact centre, oracle and sieble experience (yes, TWO from the same guy!)

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR THE NEXT STEP WITHIN YOUR CAREER? I’M LOOKING FOR A…………… NEW HEAD OF ARCHITECTUTRE! (make that three…and all-caps, no less)

Looking for a senior Contract / Interim / Permanent role where I can add value

a new challenge in the media, entertainment, internet or communication sector

Hi Everyone, I’m looking for some PeopleSoft HR Experts for a permanent position based in Belgium. If you know someone,please let me know

Looking for Application/Middleware Sales Executives for Commercial & Service Industries

Need help with your Staffing Needs in 2007 – let me know how I can help

I certainly hope LinkedIn takes some drastic steps to nip this in the bud.

Scott Allen is a true social media pioneer, helping turn virtual relationships into real business since 2002. He is coauthor of The Virtual Handshake, the first book on using social media for business, and contributor to over a dozen books on social media, marketing & entrepreneurship. He is currently Director of Client Solutions for Momentum Factor, a social media and online marketing management firm specializing in the direct selling industry.


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  1. David Regler says:

    When I saw LinkedIn Answers today I thought… this is really cool. It’s a great feature and unlocks real value for all LinkedIn users.

    As the day wore on you could just see where this was going.

    You’re 100% right, Scott: LinkedIn need to take immediate action.

    I hope they do.

    David

  2. Scott,
    I’d like to echo David’s comment, when I first saw Linkedin Answers, I also thought: “At LAST!”

    And then, within 24 hours, I thought: “That didn’t last!”

    Now, Scott, I’m not going to say that I actually saw a UFO back in the 1970’s but, I’m really starting to wonder WHERE some of these spammers come from! :-)

  3. You are absolutely right Scott. Stomping out spam should be LinkedIn’s priority right now. I sent a message yesterday to one of their lead engineers. There’s great potential, but it is a complete turn off if they don’t do a better job of cleaning it up.

  4. I liek the feature but it is open to misuse as you rightly point out. I, for one, dont want to see every question on my home page and my first quesion was to see if others thought the same way, they do. Filtering is very desirable for the homepage. As a product LinkedIn needs to meet consumer needs and as consumers we need to have our needs heard and met.

    I dont think that LinkedIn needs to play policeman but the community ought to manage the feature, after all we are all thinking adults.

    Rod McPherson

  5. eric scheid says:

    My #1 wish for LI Answers is that they get filtered through my network in a similar way to how requests get filtered. That is: if i post a question then only my immediate contacts will see it, but then they can one-click some button that re-publishes the question to their entire network.

    If my question is obviously spammy then it won’t get far and I’ll only annoy my direct contacts. If my question is particularly intriguing then it will travel further afield and garner more answers.

    Obviously this works in reverse too – I’ll only get annoyed by spammers in my first degree (and I’ll soon disconnect them), and the deluge of questions I get to see will instead be reduced to a trickle of high quality and interesting questions.

    As it is now, with questions broadcast to everyone up to 3 degrees away, it just doesn’t scale. More transactional relationships please, less passive broadcast networks thanks.

  6. Arnnei says:

    My two pence….

    The feature is nice, though it turns LinkedIn into something it is not – a mailing server.

    The feature allows you to choose the type of the content that is sent. One of the type is – promoting your business. That in a way is an indication that such material is allowed. I for one, have assumed that if you can define the type of the content sent – there must be a way to define a personal filter as to what types you may receive.

    But there is a larger issue. Is sending your close contacts a message can be regarded as a spam. In my mind, networking with other people is also a commitment, not just another registry. It is a commitment to listen to your contact requests and messages (questions) and reply. If you find the messages not appropriate, it is your duty as a contact (in my opinion) to indicate that and ask not to receive certain types of messages. Or, you should not maintain your contact.

    This is by the way one of the reasons that I advise people to be cautious about turning into a power networker. The more contacts you have the larger your burden. If you can’t take it – stay with your real close friends.

    To conclude – Questions are sent to close contacts. If you want contacts, learn how to manage them and how to build the trust by indicating to them what are your preferences.

  7. Is there a site that explains how Q&A works? Who can “flag” the question or answer? Is it a number of flags and the q or a disappears? Is there someone at LI who ultimately decides on the flagging rationale? If your q or a is “flagged’ does itr affect your account? How does the whole thing WORK?

    Who is watching the watchers?
    Maureen Sharib

  8. [...] – LinkedIn Answers LinkedIn’s first foray into public interaction started off on shaky ground, but it has become one of the most useful resources on the web. People have used it for market [...]

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