David Kirkpatrick

January 23, 2009

LinkedIn goes after “super-connected”

The “super-connected” users and LinkedInhave been in something of a war. The super-connected claim they are providing a service and aren’t simply collectors of connections for bragging rights. LinkedIn says these users are defeating the spirit of the professional networking site.

The reality, as always, probably lies somewhere in between. The super-connected are undercutting some of LinkedIn’s profit channels, and once the connection list becomes too large the super-connected really can’t provide that much service for everyone on the list.

This warmish war just become a little more hot. Looks like LinkedIn has taken additional steps to rein-in the super-connected users.

For the record, I do utilize LinkedIn and have found it a great way to reconnect with previous colleagues (a real boon for a longtime freelancer like myself) and a resource to expand business contacts — I’m on a new freelance writing headhunter’s list because of the site. Just based on my interactions with the site I don’t see the utility of the super-connected, but I also see no reason to crack down on the group.

Of course, at the end of the day LinkedIn will win this head-to-head. It’s their site governed by a user’s agreement.

From the second link:

 LinkedInhas quietly clamped down on a controversial association known as the LinkedIn open networkers (LIONs), a group of LinkedIn members who liberally add contacts — known on LinkedIn as “connections” — even if they don’t know each of the people personally. The group’s strategy runs counter to LinkedIn’s official policy, which states that LinkedIn members should only connect with people they know .

In the recent development, some LIONs have received messages saying that they have exceeded a newly imposed connection limit of 30,000.LION members say they have pending “invitations to connect” that they cannot accept as a result of the restriction. An unofficial site known as the TopLinked.comtracks the connection counts of many LIONs.

The decision to place more restrictions on the LIONs comes several weeks after CIO.com profiled LinkedIn open networks and the group’s history. In the article, LIONs were described, at their best, as helping disparate strangers connect on the service, ideally leading to new jobs or business opportunities. At their worst, they are described by critics as name collectors looking to leverage their connection lists to spam unwitting members.