LinkedIn Policy Changes? Let’s Hope So…

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827556_sign.jpgWhile LinkedIn opened a new customer service center and increased support staff significantly earlier this year, some policy changes made shortly thereafter flooded their customer service department with complaints from users whose accounts had been suspended. In most cases, LinkedIn replied with a letter explaining their connection policies, asking the user to abide by them, and promising to reinstate their account if they agreed to.

Seems simple enough, and in general terms, I support their efforts — LinkedIn invitations from total strangers have dropped for me from several weekly to just a few month. So in that sense it’s working. Only problem is… collateral damage.

For one thing, it has become readily apparent to many of us that the current threshold of five “I don’t know” responses is much too low, especially for someone who is using the capability LinkedIn gives them to invite people in their e-mail address book (see Sending Batch LinkedIn Invitations – What to Do Once You’ve Uploaded Your Contacts). There have been several cases reported on the Yahoo! Groups and by at least three friends of mine in which the person is not an “open linker”, but is trying to conscientiously use the tool as intended.

For another, there have been numerous reports on the Yahoo! Groups and in the blogosphere of users who have had to wait several weeks to get their account reinstated. In some cases, users have reported being told their account was reinstated, only to find the restrictions still in place.

LinkedIn has a customer service crisis on their hands as a result of this policy decision and its implementation. And it seems they may finally realize it and be getting ready to do something about it.

In a post on MyLinkedInPowerForum in response to one complainant, April Kelly, LinkedIn’s Director of Customer Service, stated:

I have heard the pleas from the forums for a change in our policy as it pertains to invitations and restrictions. Please know we are looking at an alternative and I hope to have something positive to share in this area in the near future.

Bill Austin corroborated this, saying:

I was contacted a couple of days ago and my account was unrestricted as well. They indicated that they are trying to make some changes and improvements to the restriction mechanism so that people who have “really well managed” accounts like mine will not be restricted this way in the future.

Of course, take that all with a grain of salt. Back on July 5, April said:

I have heard all of your feedback regarding this restriction limitation and please know that I am working on possible changes to curb this limitation.

So there’s obviously no guarantee on the time frame. Still, LinkedIn has to do something, because it’s starting to have a detrimental impact on their core user base, many of them premium users, not just the people who are causing the problem with unwanted invitations.It’s frustrating that it’s gone on this long, but I’m still glad to see that a resolution may be near.

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