Major Change for Free LinkedIn Accounts!

10 Nov



LinkedIn has become the lion of business social networking, and has gained its stature by providing much of its power for free.  Over the past several months it has beefed up its functionality, and is now for the first is making a serious effort to convert free accounts to paying status.

October 11, 2010 marked the start of charging to view your 3rd level contacts and fellow group members. This is not to say that you cannot still see profiles, but you do not get to see their names. You now get to only see their first name and the first initial of their last names.

If you explore your own LinkedIn profile you can see your total connections in your network. A person with 500 1st level connections likely will have around 10,000,000 total people in their network. However, nearly 95% of those connections will be 3rd level or group connections. You no longer have access to view them. This absolutely destroys your seemingly massive network that you once had full access to.

Essentially there are 2 main solutions that would resolve this problem.

1.      You can buy the upgraded account through LinkedIn, this will give you access to these now hidden profiles. This will cost you $100/month.

2.       You can attempt to grow your network. This means you need to be in there daily trying to connect with people, sending invites, searching, etc. This is very costly (time) and impossible to keep up with the growth of LinkedIn.

Two responses to the change from the blogosphere:

Alex says:   “… They display ads on their site already. What’s the point of creating and updating your profile on LinkedIn if people can’t easily find you?”

Sandy says: “…how are we supposed to create trust and maintain our community alive in the groups if we don’t see each other’s names ?  Anyways – for me the problem is the opposite – as an independent consultant and trainer, I want my name to be seen on LinkedIn… so I’ll probably find a workaround, like:

  1. placing my full name in the First Name section of my profile
  2. placing my full name in my professional header
  3. placing my full name in my summary
  4. requesting people writing recommendations about me to start with “Recommendation about (Jane Smith)”
  5. placing my full name in the Contact Settings section next to my email
  6. placing my full name in the Weblink section (“Jane Smith blog” or “Jane Smith website”)”

Jobhunters: take note of Sandy’s suggestions to make sure that recruiters and hiring authorities can still easily connect with you!

How are you experiencing this change?

Will you upgrade and pay for LinkedIn?

What work arounds have you found that can be effective while maintaining a free account?

Comment below and let’s share our insights.

My own LinkedIn network has just under 1,000 1st degree connections!  Feel free to invite me to connect with you and to use my network in your jobhunt!

Arnie Fertig






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