I hope this is the start of a trend…
One of my biggest frustrations with LinkedIn has been the fact that they have not made a practice of getting user input about new features before they’re rolled out – only after the cat’s out of the bag. This used to be just irritating, but increasingly, it has led to some near-disasters for LinkedIn, such as the launch of their really cool Answers feature, which was fraught with spam problems and other blatantly obvious shortcomings, causing them to have to make apologies and promises.
So I was pleasantly surprised to see a message from LinkedIn Business Analyst Ben Guthrie on LinkedInnovators today asking for public input regarding a possible new feature and change in LinkedIn policy:
Creating groups on LinkedIn is currently a painful process. In some
cases it takes 4-6 weeks. We are looking at ways to improve the
process for creating groups. One of the questions being debated is
whether to change the model from request a group and receive LinkedIn
approval to simply allowing anyone to create a group. Which model do
you think is superior? Should there be any limits on the creation of
groups on LinkedIn? Thanks in advance for any feedback you might have.
Business Analyst, LinkedIn
Like I said, this is a major first, and I hope the start of a trend.
Anyway, here’s the reply I posted on this particular topic:
Thanks for asking, Ben.
I have wondered since it first came out why the creation of a LinkedIn group wasn’t automated.? It’s a nice concept to have the groups somehow vetted/validated, but I’m not sure the labor cost is really worth it.? Simply put to you… does the marginal value of having the groups validated exceed the marginal cost of not only the labor to validate them, but the poor customer experience for those people waiting weeks to have the group set up?
The coding for this is pretty much a one-time investment.
Also, how do you validate a group that doesn’t already have some other kind of online identity?? Or what if their identity is, say, membership on some private listserv?
I’m of the opinion that it would be far less costly to LinkedIn, create a far better customer experience, and therefore attract more customers, to automate group creation.? Just put controls and guidelines in place that you can then remove groups that don’t meet the guidelines.
Here’s a question for you… what percentage of group requests actually get declined?? And for what reasons?
If that’s the exception, not the rule, wouldn’t it make far more sense to automate the rule and only make exception-handling manpower intensive?