Searching Beyond the Paid

Friday, July 06, 2007

LinkedIn Leaving Some Users Tapped-Out

Andrew Goodman has a thought-provoking post on his Traffick blog today about the "dark side" of LinkedIn, the social/business networking site. The timing of the article, for me, is interesting - a few of my co-workers have been building their LinkedIn networks, and I've gotten a lot of requests recently. I've also sent out a few of my own - I guess I was inspired by my colleagues to try to build my network a little bit. (I hadn't gotten around to inviting Andrew to join my network yet - guess I'll have to rethink that one, huh Andrew?)

Andrew's first point is "You give people a "permission" channel, and they'll find a way to spam it." While I haven't personally gotten any LinkedIn spam, I'm sure it happens all the time - especially to people like Andrew who are well-known in their field. I suppose if I wrote the seminal book on Google Adwords, I'd get plenty of LinkedIn spam :)

Anyway, the point about spam got me thinking about a bigger issue: If you give people something online for free, they'll find a way to spam it. Take Blogger, for instance, or any blog platform. Do a Google Blog search on just about anything, and you'll find hundreds of splogs full of affiliate links and scraped content. If sploggers will scrape my little blog (which they do), they'll scrape anything.

Free email is another spam vehicle, as anyone with a Gmail or Hotmail account can attest to. Online discussion groups are another culprit: put up a Yahoo or Google Group, and watch the spam fly in. Same thing with online forums. To keep the spam away, most forums and groups have to resort to recruiting volunteer moderators, who spend considerable time deleting the spam (or interring them in the Forum Spammer's Graveyard). It's unfortunate, because groups and forums can be some of the best communities on the web, for both work-related and non-work-related pursuits.

What's the solution to all the spam? Andrew suggests "declaring email bankruptcy" and culling your LinkedIn contact list. Good ideas, to be sure. What other options are there? Or should we all just accept the fact that there really is no such thing as a free lunch?



  • I found a new site called that in a way cuts the spam issue by enabling organizations to create their own online professional communities. This way messages between people are from someone who is a part of a trusted organization. I think the guys at Konnects understand that traditional networking is the market to partner with. Having millions of people to tap into doesn't help the business down the street who only wants to network within their region or with the people they know and trust in their community. enables these people to do just that.


    By Blogger Unknown, at 9:08 PM EDT  

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