Important Changes to LinkedIn

Posted on March 15, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I am sat at my desk, it is very late on the evening of Tuesday 15th March. I have been in a workshop all day today and this was following a long weekend break with friends so this is the first time I have sat at my desk since Thursday night.

All I can say is “Thank God I have so many observant LinkedIn Connections and Twitter followers” It seems that while I was away LinkedIn have been busy changing things and these loyal supporters have taken the time and trouble to let me know before I find myself delivering a workshop tomorrow morning with incorrect information!

I suspect things things will become clearer over the coming week but as of today these are the changes you need to know about;

Group messages are no longer possible!

Previously as a free user it was possible to send a direct message to anyone you share a group with at no cost. This was a great feature allowing us to engage with someone prior to an invitation (something I always recommend).

Now our only option is to send an Inmail at the cost of $10 each or upgrade our account (starting at $25 a month).

I assume they have felt forced to do this because users have been abusing this feature by sending lots of spam. As usual the idiotic minority have spoilt something which was valued by the responsible majority!

The good news is that we can still see a 3rd tier as before (no surname) so visibility is not affected.

I have to say this change (whilst frustrating) is not a surprise really.

Invitations are restricted to 2nd tier connections for free users.

This is complicated so please bear with me…….

Here is what I can figure out so far;

On my Pro account I am able to invite 2nd or 3rd tier connections.

On a free account I found that  3rd tier connections were not possible to invite (see below)

There appears to be no new setting to state you do not want to accept invitations from 3rd tier.

There is a way around this but I don’t think it would be wise to post that here…..if you know what I mean!

Without any official word from LinkedIn on this we can only speculate but it seems that they have decided to seriously restrict who we can connect with. I also expect this to be related to spam problems – I have been concerned for a while that since the ‘I don’t know’ rejection to an invitation became a (largely unused) secondary option, that spammers would see this as an opportunity to use an invitation as a free message.

My only other guess is that due to a slight redesign (making the invitation link a big yellow button) a glitch has occurred and all will be back to normal soon….. unlikely but lets hope so!

I am yet to fully evaluate the likely outcome of these changes – good or bad I will make my views clear once I have had time to see the effect.

Please feel free to comment by telling us who you can (or cannot) invite now. It will be interesting to see how the results differ for different upgrade levels i.e. Can you still invite 3rd tier on a Business account ($24.99 a month)?


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21 Responses to “Important Changes to LinkedIn”

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I have a corporate recruiter account, but that hasn’t seemed to impact what I see when I’m in the user-side of LinkedIn before.

I am seeing confused options when it comes to groups. For some that i only share a group with I see;

Send Inmail – Free

and for others I just see

Send Inmail

As for inviting people – I still seem to be able to invite anyone to connect, even those that I have no connection to at all.

Hopefully this will all become clear soon. Thanks for the heads up!


Thanks Katherine, the ‘send Inmail – free’ is a new one on me! I am not getting that at all. As for invites it seems you are able to invite those outside of your network whereas I am restricted upto the 3rd tier. All very strange

it is connections to second level for invites. 3’rd level is inmail only. I can see third level in groups but cant communicate.I can still send group announcements once a week in my groups. (Reason to build groups?).
I think this is the next real push towards paid accounts for anyone looking to do anything effective in linkedIn. I don’t think that is a bad thing though.

As an update: This post from Glen Cathey makes it clear how and why this is happening:!/notes/glen-cathey/linkedin-makes-obvious-moves-to-affect-x-ray-searching/10150120976613444
Time to start teaching people how to become visible again if they want to be found.

Glen’s post is on a completely different matter Bill, he is focussing on public profile visibility and settings. I agree people need to make themselves more visible but whether they are visible or not they wont be able to connect to 3rd tier anymore – whether this will restrict people from growing networks will only become apparent in time – that will clearly effect their visibility within LinkedIn.
In my view making people harder to find from outside LinkedIn just increases the importance of engagement (within LinkedIn) for recruiters. It is getting increasingly difficult to find and approach other users ‘out of the blue’ on LinkedIn without being more closely connected to them and this (in my opinion) is not necessarily a bad thing.

Find on LinkedIn, connect elsewhere Mark. if you can get to the third level connections via Bing, check the twitter profile listed on 1/3rd of profiles and engage there. Failing that, e-mail or phone. It’s not all linkedIn.

Thanks Bill, I agree its not all about LinkedIn but LinkedIn is obviously the focus of this blog. There is nothing wrong with the phone or even better meeting someone in person! email is less effective in my view but a useful back up. Twitter would be great if enough people were using it but the 1/3 figure you state is way off – the last figure I heard from LinkedIn (about 2 months ago) was that less than 2% of LinkedIn users had linked a Twitter account.

You can still send messages to Group members from the “Members” section in individual groups.

Hi all,

There is a slight work around for messaging people in groups without having to pay for an inmail.

If you click on someones name and go through to their profile then I only have the option of an inmail.

However if you hover your cursor over that persons name (whilst in the group you share with them) then you can use the free message still.

Not for long though no doubt !

To send a group message, first go into the group, select members and search for the person you want to communicate with. You can send a message from there.
Happy Networking. T

Thanks Tim, Martin & Nick.
Well spotted – I hadnt checked the option of sending within the group but it makes sense. I hope to be speaking direct with LinkedIn today to find out the logic behind the changes

Hi Mark,

I noticed the changes yesterday when I tried to follow up on the messages I had sent to some of my group members. I no longer had access to send them messages. This is on 2nd and 3rd level connections.

I should mention that I have a free account.

A strange thing I’ve noticed is that for me, on some people I am given the option of the “free” Inmail. But when I click on it I get a message that states “We’re sorry, the contact method between you and the recipient is no longer available, and your message did not go through. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

This happened when I actually looked up your profile on LinkedIn – we are 2nd degree connections. Not sure what the heck is going on – doesn’t happen with every profile. I’ve even seen comments from people with paid accounts that are having issues like this.

Very disappointed how this has been handled by LinkedIn. No message from them if this is a change on purpose or a glitch as you mentioned.

Please keep us updated as you find things out.

Cheers from across the pond.


Hi Chris,
The encouraging news is that LinkedIn have called me and I now understand the changes, I will post an update tomorrow.

With regards to your defunct ‘Free’ Inmail issue it looks like that may be a glitch and my contact has offered to look into that for you.
Are you OK if I pass on your details to them?


Hi Mark,

Will they give me a paid account for free for being a test subject – lol?

Sure , pass on my details.

I’m hoping these changes aren’t permanent. I understand from a business perspective to charge for better tools and features but to wipe it out totally isn’t a way to make people warm and fuzzy for LinkedIn. The free account was barely enough to network effectively as it was.



Hi Chris,
Did this problem (“We’re sorry…. the contact method … is no longer available”) ever get resolved? I ran into it today and would like to know how to fix it.

With a free account, I can send messages to group members, even 3rd degree connections. I simply mouse over the circular blue network symbol over towards the right of each group member and I get an option to “send message.”

Strange situation today. Current employee of former employer created connection with me but I never received a request. How is the possible?

Its not possible! at least not in any way I have heard of before. A connection can only ever happen via an invitation. Something has gone wrong here but you can obviously disconnect with them if you wish.
Sorry I can’t be of more help.

I just tried sending an invitation to a LinkedIn group member and it was sent.

What connection tier were they?

I love what you guys are up too. Such clever work and exposure!
Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve included you guys to my blogroll.

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