I received the most startling message from someone on LinkedIn earlier this week:
I am confused by your request to connect. You sent me an invitation, yet in your profile you say you only link to people you know.
Have we met? Or was this just spam to get me to your about.com site?
If you know me or have been reading my blog for any length of time, you probably know by now that I’m a “tight connector” on LinkedIn, generally only connecting with people I know very well professionally. On extremely rare occasion I make an exception on accepting invitations, but I never send them to people I don’t know very well already. So you can imagine my surprise at receiving this.
I checked my outgoing invitations and didn’t see an invitation to the sender, but she had clicked through to my profile from the link in the invitation she received, and yes, it was in her LinkedIn inbox, not just an email.
I reported it to customer service, but haven’t heard back yet (I’ll post an update when I do). But it seems this wasn’t an isolated incident. Kathie Thomas reported a similar incident on MyLinkedInPowerForum:
Someone sent me an invitation addressed to someone else so I responded and said I wasn’t that person. They resent an invite to my name and when I accepted they got a message to say the other person had accepted. When they clicked on the profile link it took them to my profile.
All of the bugs I’ve encountered on LinkedIn in the past have been minor nuisances. This one concerns me greatly because it potentially affects my reputation and even my standing with LinkedIn. What if the recipient of that misdirected invitation hadn’t contacted me, but instead had simply clicked “I don’t know Scott”?
Obviously they’ll get it fixed, and it’s the weekend, so I can’t reach anyone at LinkedIn for comment, but I thought I’d better put the word out. I recommend being extremely careful in both sending and receiving invitations until we get an update from LinkedIn that this is fixed.