LinkedIn Changes Clarified

Posted on March 17, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Following my last blog I have received a flood of responses – some clarifying the changes, others clearly confused and frustrated by them. One response was from LinkedIn and they have provided me with a much clearer picture as follows;

Group Messages

This one is fairly simple and was also highlighted by several others yesterday. The good news is that you can still send a free message to users who you share a group with, its just done a different way now.

Group messages can now only be sent from within the group. Simply go to the list of members and when you highlight an individual you will see a ‘send message link’ on the right (see below)

The reason this change has been made is that group messaging was always intended as a private message between group members within the group and not as a way of  sending messages to people that are found in search results (i.e. searches performed by Recruiters).

So it can still be done, its just not as easy as it was.

Restrictions to Invitations

This one has been causing the most confusion so hopefully this will help to clear things up. The good news is that there are no restrictions on invitations – you can still invite anyone! This is the case for everyone, whether they pay for LinkedIn or not.

The change has been in how you find those you wish to invite. Invitations can still be made to anyone – 3rd tier or even outside of your network but only if you know their name. You can no longer invite any users you find through a keyword search result.

The following is a user I have found through a keyword search;

As can be seen I cannot invite her to connect but if I knew her name I would be able to send her an invitation as below;

This is why it appears that you cannot invite 3rd tier or anyone beyond your network because we are not given their names in a search result.

This is obviously in line with LinkedIn’s policy of only connecting with those who you already know, they are OK with 2nd tier as the view is that you know them through your first tier so you are more closely connected.

This may not be great news for recruiters although I am sure many know that there are ways around getting 3rd tier surnames anyway. The important thing is that you can still invite someone that you have met, or spoken to even if they are 3rd tier plus.

It did seem rather odd that you could meet someone, agree to connect and then not be able to invite them!

I am really grateful to LinkedIn for clarifying the situation. I am informed that they are working hard to improve the communication of such changes in the future and in the meantime I am pleased that I have a new contact who I can call upon the next time something like this happens!


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11 Responses to “LinkedIn Changes Clarified”

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Thanks Mark. I would like to say this is welcome news! Why is it that Linkedin seem to want to make recruiters lives difficult? Do we not add value to Linkedin? I know there are ways around this, but I wonder why they do not generate enough income from advertising/jobs/membership etc…

Hi Theo,
I am not here to defend LinkedIn but they are a commercial organisation and just like all of us they have a valid motivation to make a profit. I am convinced the site will remain largely free to use but they will target certain types of users with their site changes to provide incentives for upgrades or corporate accounts. Lets face it Recruiters have been making money from a free product for years and LinkedIn are now starting to reign in on this – I expect this to continue.

I agree Mark it is not for you to defend them and I appreciate your response, I Just wondered on your opinion. I agree it is a business and they do need to make a profit. I do wonder if they would still be as profitable if all recruiters pulled out of using linkedin! Although we all know that would never happen 😉

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the clarification. I’ve noticed a little quirk after testing your info above. I found a 2nd tier person in my group and had the option to send them a message. when I looked up the same person in a company search – the option was gone. When I looked her up with her full name – the option was gone.

It seems as soon as you aplly a filter of any kind in a group it removes the “send message” option. This kinda sucks when you are in a large group with thousands of members and you would like to correspond with people from your city.

I’m glad I can still message in the group though.



It should be obvious that they are making little changes now to acclimate everyone to the bigger changes that are coming once they go public with an IPO. Nothing stays free for ever and we cannot expect LinkedIn to continue giving and not receiving. The IPO was already announced by the way.

Who knows what the future holds Greg but I seriously doubt LinkedIn will ever become a paid site – whoever owns it. The minute they charge all users the membership will decrease and that will cut their advertising and corporate account revenue – I just can’t see it.
I am sure they will continue to find ways of charging superusers and recruiters who often find they achieving a very high percentage of their income from using LinkedIn for free but for everyone else it will remain largely free.

Excellent. Thanks Mark – the ‘sending messages’ thing was causing problems. Someone from LinkedIn actually sent me here to get clarification!


Thanks Mark, it’s good to know I can point people at your blog for real advice.

I’m not surprised LinkedIn are referring people to you.

A Senior LinkedIn exec told be recently the reason they removed the full name of 3rd tier connections was that spammers were searching for companies to cold call and by having the full name and company details they were able to bypass the switchboard and get to the person.
He said it was USA to USA and India to USA

Many, Many Thanks!! You are my new hero!

[…] be able to connect with the person…It is a bit technical but you can check all the details on Mark’s blog, he explains things […]

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