EXPOSED! LinkedIn Spammers using fake profiles.

Posted on December 9, 2013. Filed under: linkedin advice, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

3564334635_108d9e7a05_bWe all get spam, I guess it’s just one of those things we have to put up with as we get more active and become more visible on the Internet, LinkedIn is not immune to spammers and I often receive direct messages from people offering me various products and services. Irritating though it is I tend to view these messages as mildly irritating distractions from the ill-informed. What really annoys me is when I receive Spam from people who have not even got the guts to reveal who they really are!

A Tale of Two F’s and a Bunny!

This particular example happened in October when I received the message below;


this is a message sent directly to me from someone whom I share a group with and not a connection. What got me immediately suspicious was that the individual had spelt her name in a rather unusual way, I figured it was possible to spell Jennifer with two f’s, if somewhat unusual but you will note (below) that the message is signed from ‘Jennifer’ spelt correctly!


If you had an unusual spelling of a name, surely the last thing you are going to do is make an error and spell it the normal way in a message!

This seemed very suspicious to me so I got interested and investigated further. The message from Jennifer included a link promoting a webinar, that link was as follows;


At this point it is worth mentioning that Andy Whitehead may have simply outsourced the promotion of his webinar and may not be aware of the unethical methodology employed by his service provider.


I have investigated ‘Jenniffer’ in some detail and can find no trace of anyone of this name on the internet. I have performed an image search and her profile picture appears to be unique as well (the quality of the photo is not great so I am betting that it is a tight crop of a group picture)

She was (her profile has strangely disappeared recently) a second tier connection via two people so I contacted both of them and asked if they knew her…..neither did!

Jenniffer’s Profile


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New LinkedIn Podcast – LinkedInformed

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: linkedin advice, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |


I was driving my car to a training session, as usual I had my radio on to keep me entertained for the 3 hours I would be in the car. The presenter announced the next song and I thought “Oh no not that awful song again, why do they always play the same rubbish again and again?” so I switched channels…this time the presenter was interviewing an artist who had nothing interesting to say so I switched channels again, this time to a talk station…..they were debating whether we get our bins (garbage) emptied often enough!!

“There must be a better way!” I screamed out loud to myself. “Why am I having to listen to something that someone else chooses for me? My Tony Robbins CD has been played to death and there are only so many CD’s I can carry in my car. I needed a better solution – enter the wonderful world of Podcasts! (more…)

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LinkedIn Respond to Charging Allegation

Posted on November 5, 2013. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Following my last post LinkedIn contacted me to clarify their position with regards to the issue of charging job seekers to see the salary of an advertised position.

Their statement in response is as follows;

‘LinkedIn works hard to connect talent with opportunity, and our mission is to make our members more productive and successful in their careers. All the information provided by a job poster about a role is available to all LinkedIn members, whether they’re using the free version of LinkedIn or otherwise. Premium LinkedIn subscribers also have access to information about the likely salary bracket for a particular job.’

So to be clear, there is no salary field in a job posting as such but there is nothing to prevent an advertiser mentioning the salary within the copy of their advert (which I would strongly advise). Where it states ‘get salary range for this job’ below it should more accurately say something like ‘see an average salary range for this job’


If you view the above ad from any premium account you will see the following;


So it’s not the actual salary but an estimated  figure based on information provided by PayScale and is based on job-specific attributes, including industry, title, location, and other factors.

So to be fair to LinkedIn they are trying to provide the jobseeker with relevant information to help them with their application. This could be a useful guide when a salary is not mentioned and even more useful when a salary is mentioned so that they can benchmark the salary against the PayScale average.

As an example the below screenshot is a live job posting that shows a salary in the copy, the premium account holder can clearly see that they are paying below the average (despite their description of it being ‘competitive’)


I’m not too sure what the company who posted this job would make of this but I guess it could work in their favour if they were offering an above average salary.

So there you have it, it’s not quite what it initially seemed and I must thank LinkedIn for clarifying the situation.

It is an interesting feature and I would welcome your views, especially from the point of view of the advertiser.

Let me know what you think by posting a comment below.

If you wish to be notified of further postings by email then please subscribe here

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LinkedIn Charges Job Seekers!

Posted on October 30, 2013. Filed under: News, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I’m annoyed.

Premium accounts are OK in principle, if you want to pay to use LinkedIn for business purposes then you can make an investment decision. Will you make more money if you pay for a premium account? If not then don’t buy it.

I do however have an issue with LinkedIn showing vacancy ads to job seekers and then expecting them to upgrade their account in order to see the most important piece of information – what salary the job pays!


Not happy with already charging the company to place the ad in the first place, they now want to make extra money by charging the applicant as well!

OK so job seeker upgrades are not the most expensive but its the principle of charging both the advertiser and the applicant that gets me annoyed.


I have advertised vacancies more times than I care to remember in the past and one thing is clear – If you don’t put a salary in the ad’ – the response will be poor, so I can’t imagine the advertisers being too happy about this move either.

This incidentally comes from a company who expect to generate a turnover in the region of $1.5 billion and profits of $364 million this year……it just seems an unnecessary strategy to me that will lose them far more friends than it will make them extra dollars in profit.

Rant over!

What do you think?

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LinkedIn Intro – Security Concerns

Posted on October 28, 2013. Filed under: linkedin advice, News, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Following on from my last blog introducing this new app, it would appear that various security concerns have been raised so I thought I would share my thoughts on this matter.

In my opinion the internet is full scaremongers and security obsessed people who seem to be able to find fault with just about every new idea/product/advancement. I happen to know that Matt Alder is not one of them so when Matt raised security concerns in the comments of my last blog, I took it very seriously.

Matt’s concerns were based on an excellent article by a very credible organisation called Bishop Fox which I strongly suggest you read.

Unusually for LinkedIn they responded to this article by issuing a statement on their blog which I also strongly suggest you read. This is very unusual for LinkedIn, in my experience they tend to keep quiet about negative comments from others regarding LinkedIn – unless they feel very strongly about it.

I must admit that some of the language they both use is ‘over my head’ but my thoughts on the issue are as follows;

  • I am not too concerned about email going through LinkedIn’s servers, I am using Gmail after all which is clearly going through Google’s servers so why should I trust LinkedIn any less than Google?
  • To use Intro you actually create a new Mail account within the mail app, this can easily be switched off. There appears to be no other reconfiguring of my iPhone going on but maybe this is hidden from me.
  • I did have to give LinkedIn my pin to set up Intro, I’m really not sure why this was necessary and that does cause me some concern but LinkedIn strongly refute the allegation that they change the iPhone’s security preferences.
  • Bishop Fox are internet security consultants. It is in their commercial interests to write about such issues.
  • LinkedIn would benefit from collecting data about us – such as who we are communicating with via email.

I have therefore decided to continue using LinkedIn Intro (which is after all, very useful!) but only on a limited basis as follows;

  • The new Intro account is kept live in the Mail app on my iPhone but I do not use it actively and never send any emails from this account.
  • My primary app for email is the excellent Mailbox app which I have been using for some time because it has better features than the native Mail app in my opinion.
  • When I receive an email from an unknown source I simply switch over to the LinkedIn Intro account on the Mail app and check the very useful profile information of the sender.

I know its not exactly how you are supposed to use LinkedIn Intro but given all the issues, it feels safer to use it purely as a reference aid rather then as my main Mail app.

I am not suggesting you do the same, my only advice is to make sure you read both articles and make up your own mind.

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Introducing LinkedIn Intro!

Posted on October 24, 2013. Filed under: linkedin advice, New features, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


LinkedIn have announced a brand new line up of mobile apps and for the first time ever, they are worth getting excited about!

I will be reviewing the excellent new iPad app soon, this piece however is focussed on their brand new LinkedIn Intro app for the iPhone.

Firstly let me apologise to all of you who are Android or Windows mobile users (or anything else). This product is currently focussed on iOS only and because it is built into the Mail app, I am not sure when or if it will be available on other platforms – LinkedIn didn’t mention anything about this in their presentation.

Apparently the average professional spends 28% of their day dealing with email, this seems an astonishing fact at first but when you think about it you might find you can relate to it….to be honest I’m probably spending more than that in my email! Another fascinating fact revealed by LinkedIn was that more than 50% of emails are read on a mobile device these days and that number is increasing.

LinkedIn are increasingly focussed on mobile so it made sense to introduce an app that links your LinkedIn account to your email account.

In 2012 They acquired a business called Rapportive which is a Gmail plugin that shows you the latest social network updates from whoever you’re corresponding with. I have been using Rapportive for 18 months or so and found it very useful when dealing with emails at my desk but like most people I am increasing managing email on my phone so I have found I am using Rapportive less and less…..Enter LinkedIn Intro.

Intro is integrated into your Mail so that instead of an email looking like this;

normal mail

It now looks like this;

intro email

The key difference as you can see is that the LinkedIn profile of the sender is now embedded into the email itself.

If you are not connected to this person there is a link (see arrow below) which gives you the option to connect. DON’T CLICK here! As with all mobile apps, LinkedIn just send the recipient the basic and unfriendly “I’d like to add you to my professional network message” which is poor practice.

intro mail red

However when you click on the profile link you get to see more information from that individual’s profile (see below). How cool is that?

intro email info

It’s not just clever and cool, it’s really useful. How often do we receive emails from people who we don’t really know? This way we can check out more information about them which allows us to respond more effectively.

Of course this also has an effect on the sender in that it yet again proves just how important your LinkedIn profile is. If you need help with that click here.

I had forgotten how much I missed using Rapportive until I started using Intro today, its fantastic!

Unfortunately it’s not perfect, I have noticed some emails have an intro link that is so small you can’t really read it! See example below;

intro email small

This above screenshot is larger than it appears on the phone and even then its difficult to read! I can only assume this is something to do with the format of the email and may be fixed in future updates, lets hope so.

So if you have an iPhone, open your browser of choice (Safari perhaps) and go to, follow the installation instructions and once you have had a play, let me know what you think.

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10 Mistakes that drive other LinkedIn Users mad!

Posted on July 15, 2013. Filed under: linkedin advice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Frustrated1. Inviting a complete stranger to connect.

Whilst I’m not a fan of LinkedIn’s mantra “only connect with people you know well” it is even worse to invite people with whom you have had no contact. This is the equivalent of going to a networking event and walking around the room shoving your business cards into people’s hands without even saying hello or introducing who you are! The key to successfully growing a network is to always engage in some manner before connecting.

2. Failing to personalise an invitation to connect.

There is nothing worse than receiving an invitation to connect (even from someone you know) that reads “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”. Everyone knows that this is the default message and therefore the person sending it has not bothered to give it any thought or consideration. A personalised message takes literally seconds to write and to not do so is just plain lazy!

3. Profile picture.

It is shocking to see how many people use inappropriate photographs for what is a professional networking site. Your picture is effectively your personal brand logo and is a critical part of your LinkedIn profile, It is almost certainly the first thing people notice and therefore creates that all-important first impression. Your photo should be an up-to-date close-up headshot, period. We do not need to see your partner, kids, pets or a slice of the face of the person next to you who you have attempted to crop out! Do not wear a hat or sunglasses and make sure the quality is clear. Avoid using ridiculous avatars or cartoons, they lack credibility and LinkedIn may suspend your account as this breaches the user agreement . The worst mistake of all however is to not have a profile picture at all, this will result in less profile views and more importantly it significantly damages your authenticity.

4. Anonymous visibility.

This is one privacy setting that everyone should change from the default. You can either be fully visible, largely anonymous (the default setting) or completely anonymous. The default setting makes no sense because you either want people to see that you have viewed their profile or you don’t, tempting their curiosity with a loose description such as “someone in the X function of the Y industry” is pointless! Deciding to be completely anonymous is also a strange decision, this is a networking environment so choosing this setting is effectively the same as going to an off-line event wearing a hoodie and mask! I can accept that there may be a rare occasion where it is clearly commercially unwise to reveal that you have viewed someone’s profile, in which case you can change your settings prior to viewing the profile and then change them back to fully visible again afterwards.

5. Direct selling.

Whilst it could be said that everyone is selling something on LinkedIn (even if it’s just themselves for that next career move), that doesn’t mean that this is a place to directly sell. There is nothing worse than accepting an invitation from somebody only to find that this is swiftly followed by numerous direct messages selling you the latest thing! This may be irritating for the recipient but it is far worse for the sender who is damaging their personal reputation as well as the company they work for and their chances of succeeding to sell anything this way are remote at best.

6. Inappropriate contact having not read somebody’s profile.

This is similar to the above but may not involve selling as such, receiving a direct message informing me about something that is not relevant to what I do or where I am based merely proves that the sender is blindly sending this message to many people without having read their profiles. I often hear from users who are tired of constant approaches by recruiters so they amend their headline to state that they are not interested in job opportunities…..and it doesn’t make the slightest difference, they still get as many approaches!

7. Lack of background information in profile.

We live in an information rich world and we expect to find it easy to gather information about people, places, products etc. When somebody views your profile they are doing so because they want to see more information about you (including your back story). So why would you deny them that opportunity by revealing little about yourself? LinkedIn is not a one way street, if you view somebody’s profile they are likely to view yours and this presents a great opportunity for you to be open and authentic and show them that you are the kind of person that they would wish to do business with. The more you reveal about your background the more likely it is that they will see you have something in common and this can only work in your favour.

8. Inactivity.

This is one of the most common mistakes I come across. Many users sign up, create a basic profile and maybe join a group or two and then…… nothing! This is the equivalent to going to a networking event and sitting in the corner with a cup of tea and not speaking to anyone! LinkedIn is a live and active community of business professionals throughout the world and this presents you with such an exciting opportunity to widen your network, engage with more people and ultimately achieve greater success.

9. Posting links without comment (especially in groups)

This is usually an innocent mistake made by people with the best intentions. They read an article online and decide to share this with their connections and/or fellow group members, the problem is that an article without a comment just becomes noise in a stream that people tend to ignore and the more this happens the more people become disengaged. This can also be as a result of one of the worst things you can do with social media…….. automation! Social media is supposed to be social (strangely enough!) and it is only effective when people talk to each other, not when automated processes fire countless streams of information/articles at people. The solution is very simple, read the article and take a view then post the article with a comment expressing your view and asking for feedback. This works, automation doesn’t.

10. Dodgy Recommendations.

Many online businesses have learnt that customer reviews are an incredibly powerful marketing tool (Amazon, Tripadvisor etc) and LinkedIn provides you with a similar opportunity via recommendations. The problem is that people obtain recommendations from the wrong people. A recommendation will only influence the reader if it is written by somebody that they consider to be credible and credibility comes from you knowing the person well and by them being in a position of authority i.e. a satisfied customer, and ex-boss etc. Too many recommendations on LinkedIn are from colleagues, family members or worst of all, complete strangers! One dodgy recommendation can ruin a profile, so be careful to only seek testimonials from the right people.

What other LinkedIn behaviours drive you mad?  please feel free to comment below.

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LinkedInterview #9

Posted on April 3, 2013. Filed under: Interviews | Tags: , |

Here is the next in our series of interviews with avid LinkedIn users, I hope you find it interesting and useful.


James Taylor, I’m a Director at Macildowie Recruitment Expertise and I have been in this industry for 18 years.

James TaylorWhen I joined  Macildowie in 1997 we were purely a Financial recruiter, in 2001 we started an HR recruitment division because HR were getting more involved in recruitment and we knew we could leverage those relationships. In 2009 we started a Procurement & Supply Chain division and just this year we have launched a Sales & Marketing Recruitment division. As you can see we have continued to grow through these difficult times and I think LinkedIn has played a big part in this. We are Midlands based currently but are now in a position to expand geographically and we see 2013 as a very exciting year for us.

When was your LinkedIn date of birth?

November 5th 2007 (Bonfire night!). I was a major sceptic prior to this, I thought LinkedIn was just another excuse for my staff to avoid getting on the phone and doing some ‘real work’! I then looked into it and realised that you could map out the structure of organisations to ensure that these calls were more effective. That was just the starting point and got me intrigued and so I went on one of your courses where you introduced me to things like searching with boolean strings and it was really then that the penny dropped and I realised that, once you knew what you were doing, this was a really powerful tool.

Finish this sentence “to me LinkedIn is……….”

…The most up to date professional database in the world and therefore a sea of business opportunities! We have just invested in a new recruitment database system but it is only as good as the data entered into it and how well our consultants keep it up to date. LinkedIn however keeps itself up to date! 4-5 years ago people mainly used LinkedIn to get a job so they would only update their profile occasionally, these days professionals at all levels use it to maintain and develop their professional networks and as a result their profiles are kept up to date. The use of mobile apps has also made a big difference in this respect.

Once you know how to set up and save relevant searches on LinkedIn it becomes and invaluable market intelligence tool. Recruiters are in my opinion, information brokers and so the more relevant information we have, the more chance we have of being successful. This is just as important to finding new candidates as it is for generating leads.

When do you login to LinkedIn and how often?

First thing every morning when I am having my first coffee at 6.30am. My first login is almost always on the app on my phone.

How many connections do you have and why do you connect with someone?

1544, I tend to invite the following people to connect;

• Employers (clients)

• Candidates

• Potential employees

I will normally email someone first before inviting them to connect. Clients and potential employees are the most difficult and sometimes this process takes several months but I would always aim to engage with them first before connecting,

Candidates are more straightforward.

With regards to invitations I receive, I tend to accept the vast majority of connection requests, the only exceptions would be obvious time wasters from overseas locations where we do not have any business interests plus some direct competitors.

Obviously this has some danger in that by connecting to clients and candidates there is some risk that they will find each other so I tend to leave it a month after working with them before connecting. That said, I have always taken the view that we are sufficiently confident in our quality and ability to manage the whole recruitment process that allowing candidates and clients to find each other is not really a threat.

In fact I go even further than that and have run workshops for my clients and candidates where I show them how to use LinkedIn, including how they can find candidates if they wish to! The reality is that there is far more to recruitment than just finding a random profile of an individual on LinkedIn who has put the right keywords in their profile and who appears to have relevant experience. By helping our clients in this way we are effectively showing them that we are offering them far more than just a searching service and this helps to win hearts and minds.

Recruitment is still about good old fashioned relationships and our focus on this that has been a major factor in our success and helping our clients (and candidates) to use LinkedIn more effectively is all part of developing those relationships.

What features of LinkedIn do you use most?

Advanced search is a fantastic facility for a recruiter.

What success (if any) have you had from using LinkedIn?

We recently started a new division in Sales & Marketing as we see this is a big growth market. One of our first clients gave us a role with a very unique requirement. They were in the food industry and wanted to recruit someone who had been trained in one of the major supermarkets but had then shown some entrepreneurial flair by starting their own deli! As you can imagine this was a nightmare to source but LinkedIn came to the rescue!

I initially joined several food related groups, some food industry related and some were just for people who were into food! It was in one of these groups where I got my break. I simply posted a question in the group asking people if they had any advice or ideas on how I could find such a person (note this is a very different approach to most recruiters who would typically post a ‘I am looking for’ job advert). I got into dialogue with about 6 people who were all very helpful and this led to one of them giving me the name of someone who I subsequently approached about the job, I then went through a detailed evaluation of this individual and they turned out to be very suitable.

This was the only candidate the client interviewed (they understood there would not be many!) and they ended up recruiting him. Our fee was over £15,000!

The key to this was that LinkedIn gave me the opportunity to find this person in a new market to us where I did not have any long-standing relationships via a referral. By joining the right groups and engaging with those communities I found that they were able to help me. Social media works when you understand that it is a community environment, not a job board or a marketing tool but a place to meet and get to know people.

That is a one-off story but it is fair to say that LinkedIn has been the cornerstone of our growth over the last few years. Starting new divisions in markets where you don’t have established relationships has traditionally taken a long time but we have been able to successfully do this by using LinkedIn and quickly building new contacts and relationships in new markets. For example in our first year in procurement & supply chain about 75% of our revenue came directly from LinkedIn.

What new features would you like to see?

It’s not really in my nature to think about how LinkedIn may develop in the future, I can only deal with what they give us now so what is the point? We have though developed our new website along the lines of being more social in a very unique way. You can check it out here

Will LinkedIn still be important in business in 2020?

I would be very surprised if it isn’t but you can never say never. I would imagine that it would be very hard to compete with LinkedIn now as they have reached a critical mass and are so dominant.

Now that they are publicly owned they will need to keep growing and innovating as their shareholders will expect them to keep growing so its unlikely that they will get complacent.

A big thank-you to James for taking the time to do this interview, I have known James for sometime and wanted to interview him because I love the way he is prepared to spend time and effort running LinkedIn training sessions for his clients and candidates. It’s a sign of confidence that he is prepared to do something which most recruiters would think is crazy! I know for a fact that this strategy has really paid off for him. I love his quote ‘Social media works when you understand that it is a community environment, not a job board or a marketing tool but a place to meet and get to know people’…If only more recruiters could understand this!

If you feel you have an interesting story to tell regarding how you use LinkedIn then please feel free to get in touch at

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LinkedInterview #8

Posted on November 8, 2012. Filed under: Interviews, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |


My name is Carl Whalley and I run a business called Otamate which offers mobile phone software and services, focussed mainly on Android

When was your LinkedIn date of birth?

November 2007, I can remember exactly where I was at the time I was invited to join. A colleague who sat across the desk from me told me about LinkedIn and invited me to join, there were a few business networks around at the time and LinkedIn didn’t seem particularly special but I thought I would give it a go. It did start to gain traction around that time and I started to find more and more people who I knew (mostly from the tech community). November 07 was also a significant month for me in that Google Android launched that month. I knew Android was going to be a big deal and I wanted to be ahead of the curve and become known as a Google Android expert – when I looked at other peoples profiles on LinkedIn they appeared to have badges on them – in the tech community it was badges like Microsoft or Apple etc I soon realised these were LinkedIn Group logo’s so I looked for a Google Android group (merely so that I could have the green robot ‘badge’ on my profile!). I couldn’t find one so I decided to create my own! I downloaded the logo (Google have an ‘open source’ attitude to most things so there were no trademark issues to consider) and started inviting people to join – by this time I had figured out that there were more benefits to running a group than just having the ‘badge’ on my profile! This was the first and only Google Android group on LinkedIn for 11 days when another group was created by someone in the US.

Finish this sentence “to me LinkedIn is……….”

In my business it is simply the ONLY way that I can achieve what I do. LinkedIn is THE key tool to keep in touch with such a wide range of people that I deal with, I actually tell people that the only way to keep in contact with me is via LinkedIn. I don’t use Facebook or any other social network and I even discourage email now because I can only manage my workload in one place and for me that place in LinkedIn. People often assume that LinkedIn is all about getting a new job but for me its about winning business, I get 100% of my projects through LinkedIn and I have never been busier!

When do you login to LinkedIn and how often?

First thing every morning every day and I am on it all the time! Both online and on mobile (Android of course!) Managing a group of this size is a full time job, I will literally be on my phone and managing the group whilst waiting to pick my daughter up from school.

How many connections do you have?

1144 at the moment, I get plenty of invites every day but I accept very few.

What features of LinkedIn do you use most?

My focus is mostly on my group (see left), it has grown to over 70,000 members now. I currently get about 1 member request a minute! It grew steadily to start with and I had to work very hard to get new members but once I started to get some momentum, it really took off. Things were different then as there were few very large groups, these days there are over a million groups on LinkedIn and many ‘super groups’ with over 50,000 members. It is much harder to attract members these days as people tend to gravitate to where other people are and there are plenty of big groups to pick from. I recently read an article that said that all of the big groups on LinkedIn were started before 2009 and that any groups since have struggled to build extensive membership. Every month I send out a newsletter to all members of the group. This is not a piece of marketing but a useful newsletter that is designed to provide interesting and helpful information to the members. I decided early on that if this was seen as spam then I would not be given a second chance so I have always ensured that the content is relevant. As a result I see real spikes in group activity when I send out the newsletter. The timing of when this email is sent is also very important. I very rarely use any other features although on a few occasions I have sent Inmails to people which have worked quite well.

What success (if any) have you had from using LinkedIn?

All of the business I get is through LinkedIn, 100% so the benefit to me is enormous! This is partly because of the nature of Android and the fact that it is constantly changing, people who join my group are keen to keep up with developments and so they really take notice of my monthly newsletter. Just being the owner of a group is not the key point, its what you do and how often you communicate relevant and interesting content to your members – that is what builds your reputation as an expert and that is what allows me to win lots of business. I have now got involved in developing the Android Academy which provides a qualification for Android developers and this was following an approach via LinkedIn . The qualification allows employers to judge a potential employees level of competence and for individuals to better market themselves. Just recently we have started running this in China which is likely to be massive for us and LinkedIn will continue to be my main tool for marketing the Android Academy throughout the world. Click here for more information on the Academy.

What new features would you like to see?

I would like to see more downloadable content possible for groups. This may only be relevant to my group or similar ones but I would like to see a separate area in groups where downloadable content can be sold – like an app store within a group. The problem with Google’s app store is that it is simply too big and developers really find it hard to get their apps noticed. This would give developers a smaller community to promote their app (or product) to. Something similar is already being done on Facebook so it is very achievable.

Will LinkedIn still be important in business in 2020?

I can’t see anyone else challenging LinkedIn in the future, they are so far ahead of any other business networks their positions seems unassailable. Maybe they could be taken over by a massive company who cock things up but I think its unlikely.

I really enjoyed interviewing Carl who talks with great passion about LinkedIn and the success he has enjoyed with his group. To be honest the above information is only about half the content we covered during our chat but I had to cut it down considerably to make sure it was a readable size. 

This gave me an idea – perhaps I could arrange a live webinar where you can hear me talk live to Carl about his experiences in growing this amazing Android community. I could make it a LinkedIn group management training session, live over the web. What do you think? 

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New LinkedIn Profiles – Under the Bonnet (Hood)

Posted on October 23, 2012. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Last week LinkedIn revealed that profiles will be changing again, this time they describe it as the most significant change to profiles in their history so I thought I would take a closer look to see what we can expect.

These profile changes will gradually spread throughout the network over the next 6 months or so. As you would expect LinkedIn staff are the first to get the new design so I have used their profiles to investigate further.

My overall impression is very positive, it seems the aim here has been to simplify the user interface and make it easier to engage with other users. This is largely an encouraging move from LinkedIn although some aspects of this strategy have reduced and possibly even removed some previously useful features. The danger with simplification is that you can end up ‘dumbing down’ the tool and in some respects LinkedIn have been guilty of that on this occasion.

1st Tier

Here (right) is an example of a 1st tier connections profile. The first thing you notice is the picture which is much bigger (over 50%), as yet we do not know whether this will alter the size/pixel requirements for a picture but it is fair to assume that low resolution shots are going to look much worse in the new profile.

Otherwise the layout has not changed significantly from the previous change earlier this summer. The layout is cleaner and somewhat simplified but this means that we no longer see how many recommendations someone has and we have to click on the ‘contact info’ box to see their website links, Twitter link and email address. In addition we now have to hover over the triangle next to ‘Send Message’ to see the other things we can do with this profile (See below)

The other significant change is that the activity section which was previously in the right hand column has now moved into the prime position right at the top of the profile, this is much better and should encourage more engagement.

The circular graphic on the right is a visual representation of your connections network. The default is set for which companies they are connected to and this can be changed to school, location or industry. This looks pretty but I’m not sure it will be of any great use to us!

As you scroll down the profile you come to the employment section (I assume that the order of the sections will still be something you can adjust) as seen here on the left. This section looks a lot better with the company logos (taken from the company page) showing and forming a link to the company page. In addition they have massively improved the look of recommendations (despite rumours that ‘Skills” were taking over from recommendations) which I am really pleased about. The profile photo of the person that wrote the testimonial shows together with the first few lines of the recommendation.

There is another pretty graphic in the right column which shows what you have in common with that person i.e. location, interests, skills and groups. This is much more useful and potentially highlights things that you may wish to discuss with them – again making engagement easier.

Both this and the network info graphic are not just visible for 1st tier connections but can also be seen for 2nd tier connections which makes them even more useful.

Every profile (person) link that you see in a profile now opens a new summary box when you hover over the name so very easily you can see more information about the person who wrote a recommendation or someone from the ‘People also viewed” section (see below)

As we scroll down further we see a much cleaner layout again for the Skills, Education and Honors / Awards sections, note how the further education establishment title is a link to the Alumni section of LinkedIn. By clicking here I can see a list of users who went to this university/college and where they live, what they do and where they work. This isn’t a new feature but worth highlighting because it can be very interesting. In some respects these types of links have become less obvious, in the old design we became used to knowing that anything in blue was a link. With the new design these links are black until you hover over them.

As mentioned earlier, the recommendations section has been improved, both under the employment section and here under the specific section for recommendations. I have recently changed the way I show recommendations in my profile, because the link (showing the number) at the top of the profile has been removed. I now advise people to show up to 5 recommendations (get as many as you can still but only show the best or most recent ones) and move them towards the top of your profile.

As you can see here on the right of this section you can toggle between a view showing received and given recommendations and there is a link to recommend the individual yourself – this however is not quite what it seems in that it is merely a link to the sent recommendations section (usually found under Contacts>Recommendations). There is no link to directly recommend someone or ask for a recommendation here so that looks like an area for improvement.

The best bit!

The most significant change to functionality and potentially the most useful feature is the ability to search someones connections. We have always been able to click on the number of connections to reveal a list of their 1st tier connections (provided their settings were at the default level – visible) but this has traditionally been of little use when someone had many hundreds or thousands of connections. The list was in alphabetical order and could take hours to go through when looking for someone.

Now we can search by keywords and filter the results in an advanced search – fantastic! By clicking on the connection number at the top of the profile (see highlighted in the first picture above) you are taken to this section further down the profile (see below)

The red arrow points towards the link to search this list by keywords, you can also she how many shared connections you have with each of these individuals and the ‘NEXT’ link in the bottom right corner still allows you to go through the full list if you wish. Interestingly the list is no longer in alphabetical order and as far as I can tell, seems to be fairly random.

When you click on the magnifying glass a search box opens where you can type any words or phrases you are looking for. In this case I have typed ‘Sales Director’ (the gap meaning it will need to find both words in the profile although it does appear to automatically prioritize the full phrase by listing those first).

The search reveals that 207 of their connections meet the search criteria and next to this is the link to move the result into an advanced search listing (see arrow). When I click-through to the advanced search I actually only see our shared connections (i.e. first tier only) which must be a glitch. This is easily remedied by selecting 2nd tier from the filters in the left hand side panel to reveal the 193 that are of most interest to me (see below)

This really is a very useful feature. Being able to precisely search through a connections list of connections is, in my opinion, invaluable and will be very helpful in many aspects of using LinkedIn.

2nd Tier

The differences are minimal with a 2nd tier connection, the info graphics are also showing at this level which provides us with more information then we are used to seeing, the ‘how we are connected’ section (see left) is now shown in a neat looking graphic – again this is mainly cosmetic but definitely an improvement’ and there is now a link to ask for an introduction.

3rd Tier

As I have detailed previously 3rd tier have annoyingly been removed from visibility (from a keyword search result) and these changes are the same in the new design (below)

We do also see the ‘How You’re connected’ graphic and also the info graphic on the 3rd tiers network but not the one that shows the things you have in common.

Outside Network

No changes here at all really, apart from those already covered. The name is not visible or the work experience & education summary although we do see a picture for outside network results now, which was a change made in the last re-design.

The bad news!

I’m gutted to announce that one of my favourite features, Tagging of 1st tier connections, looks like it may have been ‘canned’ – Tagging is a really useful feature, especially as you grow your network. I have spent much time and effort tagging my contacts and I always hoped that it would be a feature that could be used in many other aspects of LinkedIn (ie targeted status updates) but the powers that be may have decided that tagging is no longer a useful feature. From the profiles I have viewed it is not possible to tag a connection from within the profile, I’m hoping that you may still be able to tag from within the connection page but I do fear the worst.

RIP tagging, it was good while it lasted.

It would also appear that 3rd party applications have disappeared from these new profiles. I checked the profiles of many Slideshare staff who (as they are part of the LinkedIn group) all have the new design and none of them were showing the Slideshare app on their profile. This concerned me so I contacted many of the companies who currently have LinkedIn apps. Some didn’t reply while others seemed unaware of any change however WordPress replied saying “We understand that LinkedIn is planning to discontinue its InApp platform with the introduction of the new profiles” LinkedIn themselves stated; “We’re working on new ways to integrate 3rd party content on the new profile & we’ll have more info to share in the coming weeks”  Which isn’t saying a lot and doesn’t really provide much comfort.

My guess is that Slideshare will return (otherwise why acquire them?!) but other apps will disappear – especially those that encourage the reader to move away from LinkedIn (i.e. WordPress, Blog Link, Box).

I am struggling to see how these negative changes can be sold to us as ‘enhancing the user experience’, it’s also annoying the way they love to tell us about new things but say nothing about features they have removed, it just makes it seem like you are being conned somehow.

So there we go, I have played with these profiles a fair bit and hope I haven’t missed anything important, please let me (and other readers) know if I have.

I think LinkedIn is actually starting to look pretty funky and modern now which has to be a good thing and if these changes mean that users do start to become more engaged then we will all benefit.

What do you think?

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