Super-Connectors Are Blocked

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I would be glad if some of the positive predictions outlined in Martin’s post on the Microsoft-LinkedIn deal came true. But I doubt LinkedIn will change in any significant ways anytime soon. (I’d welcome some changes if you ask me.)

Looking back, we should be grateful to LinkedIn for its multiple innovations and new terminology in professional online activities. An interesting “unofficial” notion that didn’t exist before LinkedIn is “open networkers”, or LIONs, meaning, LinkedIn members who accept all invitations.

There has long been a controversy on the subject of accepting invitations. Non-LIONs think it’s best to connect only with the people they know. (It’s everyone’s choice, of course. To me, it raises the question of needing a global business network to keep in touch with people you know. 🙂 I’d think that an address book can do fine). LIONs, on the other hand, accepted all invites and grew their networks.

By the way, logically, it is thanks to LIONs that all LinkedIn members have larger networks.

LinkedIn advised against connecting with the people you do not know; but then, it didn’t prevent open networking from happening, allowing large personal networks. (Even some LinkedIn employees have connections whom they don’t know personally, based just on the numbers of connections.) The first complications happened when LIONs reached 30K connections. For years, at that mark, “accept” invitation button got broken; the button would show it worked, but nothing happened.

However, the “invite” button continued to function for the super-connectors even after the 30K barrier. Some super-connectors invited back the members who invited them (I did that); some, just gave up and connected with others only occasionally.

Well, here’s the news: all super-connectors with the largest networks (30K and up) are done connecting. Their “invite” functionality has stopped functioning as well. It shows that it works, but it doesn’t. If you invite them, expect nothing – they are not able to connect with you. Note that it’s not possible to identify whether someone whom you invite is in that “blocked” category. So if your LinkedIn invitation is not accepted, don’t take it personally.

Was stopping super-connectors from growing their networks further an intentional change on LinkedIn’s behalf? It’s hard to say. Maybe it was a side effect of changing some other software code.

Since that block happened a few weeks ago, I have received a few hundred invitations. I’d like to keep in touch with new connections, but I no longer have a way to do so on LinkedIn. So, I’m have set up a page on this blog to “connect” with those who would like to, keep in touch, and share sourcing content. Maybe, even connect on LinkedIn if the number limitations change! In the meantime, please feel free to subscribe to my blog.

Comments 5

  1. Personally speaking, I have always being perplexed by both camps: while I think connecting with one’s acquaintances is a narrow-minded approach, I think LIONs have taken their openness a bit to far.

    That said, I feel LinkedIn should not prevent people from inviting as many fellow members as they please.

  2. My advice: export all of your LI connections NOW. Do not wait. You don’t know what MS is going to do. Let’s face it, they will never get any return on their investment in buying LinkedIn. They didn’t do it to make money. You disagree? They spent 10X revenue and 33 times profit. It will take them 33 years to make their money back. Think about that. No company in their right mind would wait that long. Ergo they didn’t buy it as a financial investment. They bought it to kill it off. And why wouldn’t they just kill it off? They don’t need it. They have facebook, remember? Do you think there is any human not on life support that does not already have a FB account? Do you think there is any company of any size that MS does not either already do business with or that they or their partners do not already know about? They’ll probably just add some minor kludgy networking or worse reporting features to Outlook contacts or Dynamics to shore it up against Salesforce and then block Salesforce and other competing CRMs from connecting to Linkedin. I mean what would YOU do if you were MS? Do you think MS wants to be in the recruiter business? Come on get real. If you have a business model that is directly tied to or worse wholly dependent on LI, you need to move fast. Either find or start a LI replacement network. The opportunity is clearly there. LI serves a valuable purpose but not for MS. If you have $2 or $3 billion lying around, you might be able to offer to buy just the recruiter services portion of LI. MS might want to get rid of it. They will almost certainly get rid of and whatever other pieces/parts they can.

  3. It’s so they can sell more subscriptions/service levels. Super connectors make everyone a 2nd connection. (BTW, address book is not enough to keep up with legit business contacts frequently. I have 3500 in my address book. Recruiter for 32 years — easy.)

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