LinkedIn Awards – A Different Perspective

Posted on February 7, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Following my previous comments about the European LinkedIn Business awards and the feedback I have since received I thought it only fair to clarify several points.

I had a very interesting and encouraging conversation yesterday with Kevin Eyres, the European MD for LinkedIn. Kevin had read my previous post on the subject and wanted to make a few points to put the record straight.

Contrary to what I previously thought the selection process did involve a panel of experts who selected the top ten nominess in each category. This selection was based on a 500 word essay detailing why each nominee felt they were worthy winners – Kevin was very clear that several individuals who had amassed many votes did not qualify for the top ten because they had not submitted a sufficiently compelling entry (despite getting more votes then those selected). This does, to some extent ensure a degree of quality.

I also had some feedback from one of the nominees Steve Smithson (Rising Star category) who wanted to make the point that he had no intention of entering but ‘out of the blue’ a satisfied customer nominated him. Having been nominated he felt there was nothing wrong with asking his connections to vote for him – this is fair comment.

Despite all this I still think the process could well lead to the wrong people winning because, whilst the panel of judges will make the final decision, they will be mostly influenced by how many votes each nominee has and that means that it is still favouring those who canvass the most votes!

I personally feel it is OK for a nominee to ask their connections to vote for them even though not everyone is connected to people they know and trust but I draw the line at getting their connections to further spread the message via updates and emails etc. I also think it is shameless canvassing to directly post vote begging messages in groups.

Having thought more about this subject it struck me that the really guilty parties here are those who vote for people they don’t know or even if they do know them they would need to be in a position to have worked with them to know that they are deserving of an award.

Nominees are guilty of blatant electioneering but I can understand that once one person does it, the rest feel they have to follow – I believe the voting process has still allowed this situation to occur so the organisers are still to balme to an extent but undoubtedly the main culprits here are those who have shown very little respect for the awards by voting for anyone that asks them – whether they know them or not!

There is still more voting to go and my advice is that if someone (who you don’t know) asks you to vote you should reply by asking them to send you their 500 word essay – then perhaps you can make some kind of judgment before voting. If everyone did this, the LinkedIn European Awards really would be a prize worth winning.

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3 Responses to “LinkedIn Awards – A Different Perspective”

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Hi,
John L. Evans – winner of the voting in support of my nomination in the Business Leader of the Year category.

I’ll keep it brief.

I was nominated without my prior knowledge, and, certainly without my sanction.

I received an email inviting me to accept the nomination and a URL – a link – was automatically posted into my LinkedIn Status, inviting “all members of LinkedIn” to support me.

The email:

Dear John L.,
Congratulations! You have been nominated for Business Leader of the Year in the inaugural LinkedIn European Business Awards 2010 in association with Cisco WebEx online collaboration.

You have been nominated by Catherine Crawley (ccrawley@btinternet.com).

The LinkedIn European Business Awards 2010 in association with Cisco WebEx online collaboration have been set up to recognise exceptional business success on a personal and business level and to celebrate innovation, collaboration and the power of working together.

To accept your nomination please click http://www.linkedinbusinessawards.com/Nomination/Accept/521. Once you have accepted, your nomination will appear on your profile page and be visible to all members of LinkedIn who will have the opportunity to support you.

The shortlists for the Awards will be published in January 2010, with the awards being presented in March 2010 via a live Cisco WebEx online meeting.

PS The awards are free to enter and are open to every member of LinkedIn who is based in Europe. To find out more about the awards, please click here.

No other information or instructions from anyone on what I was supposed to do – I read the rules which explained how the nomination had to be created including the ‘essay’ about one’s achievements, however, once the nomination was made there was no provision to change the wording – hence an assumption that this must be a subsequent requirement. As far as I could tell the nominator had no guidance either.

Research told me that the competition started in late summer 2009, however, I was not nominated until just before Christmas, so there was much catching up to do, particularly as half the planet was on holiday. There was and had been zero publicity of the awards, to the best of my knowledge, prior to that, and I have a fairly extensive network and visit LinkedIn many times every day (sad I know 🙂 ).

In the absence of any publicity for the competition, electioneering, as you describe it, a perfectly normal part of the democratic process, was essential, and, indeed, instigated and facilitated by the provision of the URL by LinkedIn.

The rules stated that voting would have an impact on short listing – clearly a falsehood, or every ‘winner’ of the voting, in each category, at least, should have been short listed.

The application was badly designed and badly implemented. It was difficult to understand and to find ones supported candidate. Many, many people complained to me that they couldn’t find my nomination, as a result of which I provided people with the link and further instructions. 3 people, independently, actually nominated me in each the other 3 categories, because that’s what they thought they were supposed to do – I did not accept those nominations and asked them to vote for me instead – they all found it virtually impossible. Many people refused to vote because the mechanism asked for LinkedIn email address and password and people assumed it was a scam to break their id. At first I explained, encouraged and cajoled people, but it simply became too onerous so I set up groups (on facebook increasing LinkedIn’s publicity) to help people and provide a viable community for discussion.

Many people complained to me that there was no ‘Support’ [rectangular Blue Button] on their screen, and that theyu could vote – a cookies problem. Many people told me they had voted, but, on checking, their vote was not registered. Many, many, many people complained that the CAPTCHA human check simply wouldn’t work and that they couldn’t vote. Personally, I tried to contact ‘Support’ for the competition several times but never succeeded in getting past the CAPTCHA. Requests to LinkedIn customer support met with (and continue to meet with) the customary silence.

People were allowed to post defamatory comments and requests to remove them to LinkedIn customer support were ignored – remember it was impossible to get around CAPTCHA to report problems to the competition support.

The Awards community itself was supposed to be enhanced by the creation of a LinkedIn ‘Group’ for nominees, judges, participants, supporters, etc., however, that was mostly silent and unmanned and useless to anyone who had their full (restricted) complement of 50 LinkedIn Group memberships.

Despite 707 votes, many of them from some of the greatest names and luminaries in social networking, and most of them accompanied by some truly moving tributes – for which I would like to publicly thank everyone, my nomination was overlooked, ignored, dismissed, passed over, denied, and ruled out, and my candidature and the fantastic support and opinions of many fine people were insulted.

Now one might put all this down to yet another badly thought out, badly designed and badly executed LinkedIn Application and Initiative, or one might take a less charitable view.

Why were the rules changed after the voting for nominees had finished – the original rules were very clear; there were to be 20 short listed nominees in each category, and the top 3, in a head to head to head election would be finalists in each category.
It was still to be the case that thereafter the judges would choose their winners from each of the four groups of 3 finalists, but at least the last 3 in each category would be democratically chosen and representative of the views of the members of LinkedIn – and let’s face it this is about networking and so, therefore, presumably ones ability to network is considered important? A cursory check of the current state at the Awards reveals that shameless electioneering is winning the day again, but, at least this time, the judges will only stamp on the egos of eight people.

I am confident that the fact that I was not short listed had nothing to do with the LIONs™ and the love hate relationship we have enjoyed with LinkedIn for over 4 years. I can see no reason why Reid Hoffmann would feel in any way disparaging towards me and / or the fantastic group of people I lead. J

As for next year – I am sure the rules will be better devised to prevent anyone who uses LinkedIn for anything other than connecting with their friends and colleagues from entering the competition, or am I just showing signs of a cynical disposition?

Cheers John
johnev4ns@aol.com
Moderator The LIONs™

That is an interesting perspective John and thanks for providing us with a different viewpoint. It clearly shows that Kevin was correct when he stated that there were nominees who didnt get through, despite collecting many votes.
I am sure LinkedIn will look to improve things next year.

I am amazed at some of the low votes of the nominees who did get though, and the high votes of some of those who did. I think you make a good point that the essay was an essential part of nomination, but does that mean a good essay outweighs X number of votes?

I think in the age of the telephone vote, LinkedIn are making to much a fussy complex of the nominating/voting system. Effectively, everyone who thought that the highest nominated person would get through has been – mostly – disappointed.

I also agree with you comment re people voting for people they don’t know. I voted for two people in the nominations window – John Evans included – but neither got though (although both were in the top ten in their category), and I won’t be voting in the main vote.

However, I cclose on my point about the voting systems complexity. I assume this is some form of PR exercise for LI, but as we have recently discovered with MP’s expenses, if you are not transparent on the system, then all credibility is lost. Suely it would have been easier to allow those through to nomination who had a complete and correct essay, then let every nomination through? Crazy, please get it right for next year!

Ian McA


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