An Open Letter to LinkedIn

I’m getting increasingly pissed off by this message, which appears every time I want to add someone as a connection using LinkedIn :

Please note: You should only invite people you know. Several recipients of your invitations indicated that they don’t know you. If enough recipients indicate they don’t know you, then you will be required to enter an email address to invite classmates in the future. More info…

Tonight, I just had it. So I wrote this email to the LinkedIn Customer Services Dept., which is shared below. Wanted to share it with you here, in case they do not comply. As I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of these types of closed social networks, such as LinkedIn and Facebook and others. In fact, we don’t really like them, but we use them anyway, as long as they are beneficial to us and can connect us with people we wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach. But obviously there are limits. I don’t want to be insulted, and the above message comes pretty close to feeling like an insult to my intelligence.

So I wrote this email :

from	Morten Blaabjerg 
to	cs@linkedin.com
date	Sun, Oct 19, 2008 at 9:50 PM
subject	Please remove annoying message

Dear Sir,

Can you please remove the message saying “several recipients of your invitations indicated that they don’t know you etc”… from my “Add connections” page? It is kind of annoying to see it there every time I check into that page, and there’s no imminent way I can remove it myself, it seems.

It simply spoils my good mood. If someone doesn’t remember me, is their business, and they can elect not to connect with me. I don’t care if they do not connect with me. If they don’t remember me, I can live fine without that particular connection.

But I take insult from repeatedly getting my good mood spoilt by being spoken down to like a baby every time I want to connect with someone using your service.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to remove that message, I would like to cease to use your services and have my complete account erased from your servers. And I’d like to have our LinkedIn group removed too. This stuff just gets on my nerves.

Yours Sincerely,
Morten Blaabjerg, Kaplak


Kaplak has chartered unknown waters and reached strange shores :
http://kaplak.comhttp://blog.kaplak.net

If LinkedIn does not comply and remove their system message from my screen, I’ll simply demand my accounts be erased and leave LinkedIn. I will also cease to recommend others to use it. I’ll focus on other networking services such as Plaxo Pulse or others, where I don’t have to be spoken down to every time I want to connect with someone. LinkedIn is useful and a fine tool, but it’s not life support.

Also, I forgot and should have given Customer Services a heads up, that I have never worked in that big company called Rubicon, which they constantly recommend I connect with employees from. I once co-edited a students’ periodical of that same name, though. It seems strange to me that LinkedIn cannot see, that these are very different entities.

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3 comments ↓

#1 Morten Blaabjerg on 10.22.08 at 9:40 am

Just received a reply from LinkedIn. Stephanie of LinkedIn Customer Services wrote :

We have identified a repeated reconnect restriction which is preventing you from using the colleague/education reconnect function.

Invitations are the foundation for all members and should be used as a valuable commodity to build and strengthen your personal network.

We have removed the restriction from your account and full functionality has been restored. To prevent future restrictions, you always have the option to withdraw any pending reconnect invitations. A reply to this email confirming your preference will prompt this action on your behalf.

We look forward to hearing from you to assist further.

Is it just me or is this really complete gibberish?

#2 Morten Blaabjerg on 10.29.08 at 2:04 pm

I’m happy to announce, that LinkedIn complied with our simple request. The message which got on my nerves has now been removed.

I also found out, that apparently the response quoted above was intended for someone else, but came my way by mistake…

Here’s the full exchange :

Customer (Morten Blaabjerg), 10/22/2008 02:55 AM

Stephanie, I have to say, I don’t really understand what you said, but the message is still there, when I try to connect with someone.
I would REALLY like to have that message removed :

PLEASE NOTE: You should only invite people you know. Several recipients of your invitations indicated that they don’t know you. If enough recipients indicate they don’t know you, then you will be required to enter an email address on this page in the future. More info… (http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=pop%2Fpop_more_iwe_restricted_warning)

Thank you for your speedy cooperation :-)

Best wishes,
Morten, Kaplak

Response (LinkedIn – Stephanie (SB)), 10/22/2008 09:16 AM

Dear Morten,

Thank you for contacting LinkedIn Customer Support.

I apologize the message was intended for a member that has had numerous restrictions on their account which is not you.

The message is there because you have received 3 don’t know replies to the invitations that you have sent and once three don’t knows are received a warning appears and that is what you are seeing.

I have reset the number back to 0 don’t knows but please note if you should receive three more don’t know replies and the message appears I will not be able to remove it because the next step that occurs once 5 don’t knows are received is an actual restriction which will not allow you to send an invitation without knowing the recipients email address. We will remove the restriction upon request but these warnings and restrictions are put in place as a safeguard to help protect members from receiving “unwanted” invitations and spam. I know that is not your case but this safeguard applies to all members.

We allow users to invite trusted contacts into their network without knowing the users exact email address. We believe this feature provides an alternative method to connect with members. We also monitor all the invitations being sent and received. If too many invitations are declined with the “I don’t know” reply or reported as spam, an automated restriction is triggered. This assists in protecting the privacy of our users and is in accordance with the LinkedIn User Agreement.

We would like to share some tips to prevent any further restrictions to your account.

1) Only use your invitations for individuals who you know.
2) The reconnect feature should be used solely to reconnect with individuals that you personally knew through a mutual employer or through attending the same educational institution.
3) If there are individuals that you wish to connect with but they do not fall under the two categories listed then we encourage you to use our other features which include InMail, OpenLink or Introduction requests.

Invitations are the foundation for all members and should be used as a valuable commodity to build and strengthen your personal network.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us.

Regards,

Stephanie
LinkedIn Customer Support

Customer (Morten Blaabjerg), 10/22/2008 12:18 PM

Stephanie,

Great! And thank you for your help and attention!

But… how do I make sure people I want to connect with remember who I am? Even if I do know them? Or how do I avoid inviting somebody of the same name, who I mistakenly take for someone I know?

And now we’re at the hows, how do I remove the don’t knows, or are they sticky and permanently with me? How about allowing users to delete the don’t knows, so they can learn from their mistakes?

I see you point in combatting spam, and everybody wants that, but showcasing that message every time a user wants to connect to someone sure doesn’t make them stop spamming? If that is that particular user’s intention? I think?? Everybody can read your terms of service if they want to. And you have good reason to kick somebody out, if they use your service to spam other people. But that message doesn’t really do any good for anybody, except make you feel talked down to by the great LinkedIn admins who know the world a lot better than you, and therefore may give you some uncalled for advice.

I don’t want to be talked down to and treated like I don’t understand what LinkedIn is for or how it can be used, especially since I don’t feel particularly sorry for my “crime”, which is that someone don’t remember me as well as the impression they made on me. There are other professional networks, like Plaxo and Xing and others, which doesn’t talk down to me, but are very persuasively trying to be a benefit to me, professionally and personally.

Yours Sincerely,
Morten Blaabjerg, Kaplak

Response (LinkedIn – Stephanie (SB)), 10/22/2008 04:39 PM

Dear Morten,

Thank you for contacting LinkedIn Customer Support.

I am sorry we cannot delete the don’t know replies.

Just be aware and I don’t think you are doing anything wrong. As long as members are sending invitations to those they know, Yes their account may trigger a restriction here and there for lack of remembering one another but we can tell who are the one’s abusing the network and the one’s like yourself that run into people that just don’t remember or a simple mistaken identity.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us.

Regards,

Stephanie
LinkedIn Customer Support

#3 Sarika on 08.27.10 at 7:08 am

I am amazed by the amount of control social networking sites are trying to have on our lives.

1) Just because 5 people (out of hundreds) in my life have forgotten me or knew me by my maiden name with the married name not registering, can’t be so bad as to put restrictions on me. Is LinkedIn going to punish me for not being memorable enough as a person. I would have understood if this was done in case of 50-100 people mentioning that they don’t know me, but 5?

2) I often receive connect requests from people I actually don’t know. And I choose who I want to connect with and who I don’t. Isn’t that the whole purpose of having an online presence. Being accessible to people. The choice is mine. Not someone else’s.

I hope both LinkedIn and Facebook learn some lessons and make us feel like free netizens. If not, someone else will.

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