The worst LinkedIn email EVER… Kind of sad but funny!

Today, I receive the following LinkedIn email… from a self-described “Branding Expert”.

Tom Peters described a Personal Brand in his now famous 1997 article published in FastCompany;

‚ÄúThe brand is a promise of the value you’ll receive.‚Äù

‚ÄúHow do you decide whose messages you’re going to read and respond to first — and whose you’re going to send to the trash unread?

The answer: personal branding.”

It’s obvious that this individual has absolutely no idea what “Personal Branding” is, even though she describes herself as a “Branding Expert”. I though I’d help her out, and anyone else reading this blog post.

First, just because I connect with you on LinkedIn does not give you the right to start sending me unsolicited emails. This, by it’s nature, is Spam.

Second, LinkedIn is truly about networking; however, you seemed to have missed that part. Instead you broke just about every possible Networking rule.

#1. Since I don’t know you, the first and only email you should have sent me is an introduction about yourself, and possibly a reason that you might be able to help me. The world does not revolve around you. I, like everyone else on this planet want to know “What’s in it for me?” Clearly, you just want me to subscribe to your email list so you can send me more spam.

#2. Never send bulk or generic emails to people you don’t know. Again, I don’t know you and you sent me an email with the opening “Hi!”… and the email was addressed to at least 11 other people. Come on. Do you really think I’m even interested in opening the email in the first place?

#3. Your newsletter and facebook page may be great, but I’m not going to subscribe or visit until you give me a reason to do so. Quite honestly, even some of the worst spam offenders in the world offer me something… “Free Viagra”, “$1 Million to my bank account, tomorrow”, “Over night get rich quick schemes.” How about a free tip on “Branding”, since you are a “self-proclaimed” expert. You don’t even do that. How sad. That’s simply terrible marketing, too.

#4. Your signature is completely unacceptable in the context of Professional Networking and LinkedIn.
“XOXO” Hugs and kisses? Are you insane? This isn’t Adultfriender.com or Match.com. Leave the Hugs and kisses for your kids or BFF!

I hope this was helpful and slightly enlightening.
When it comes to personal branding and networking, just you the old Golden Rule… “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.” Most of the time, you’ll be alright.

And please comment and share this with your network. We all can use a little laugh.

LinkedIn – Worth $12 Billion… but worthless?

I admit, I used to use LinkedIn a lot. Now, is simply doesn’t work.

I have over 14,180 1st Degree connections, and 12,289 unopened Invitations to Connect in my Inbox.
Why are do I have so many “Invitations to Connect”? Good question.
I’ve been trying to accept them, but slowly just stopped. It was a complete waste of time. 94% of them are spam, bogus, or simply duplicates, or a combination of the above.
Yes, that’s right 94%. So, if you think LinkedIn’s user growth rate is growing, maybe they should have an independent auditor look at the profiles that are being created. They are mostly bogus.

To be clear, I have set all of my profile settings to no longer accept invitations, yet I still had over 298 “blocked” connections in my inbox in just the last 5 days alone.

How can I be getting “Invitations to accept” if I checked the box that says, “Don’t accept invitations?”…

Will someone at LinkedIn explain why their system doesn’t work, and what they are doing about it?

Here is a screen shot of my “Blocked Invitations to Connect”…

LinkedIn Spam & Bogus profiles

LinkedIn Spam Invitations from Bogus Profiles

I did some analysis, (ie spent WAY to much time trying to figure out the spam patterns of these bogus profiles… I really should be charging LinkedIn for doing this work.)
Here is what I came up with:
* Total Blocked Invitations to Connect (after I set all my profile settings to no longer accept connections): 288 (in 7 days)
* Duplicate Profiles and Invitations: 253 (88%) of the profiles had a count of 2 or more invitations from a profile with the same name. In several cases, there were 4 or more profiles with the same name.
* Profiles with no company name attached: 95
* Profiles with the title “human resources” and no company name- 64… obviously spam.
* Too many profiles to count manually (without loosing my hair), where the profile picture is either a duplicate professional headshot, or worse, doesn’t even exist.

Over the weeks and months that I have been receiving these bogus connection requests from obvious spammers. I have marked them as “Spam”, but I continue to receive them each and everyday. I can only assume that if I am getting them, lots of other LinkedIn users are getting them as well. In fact there are several LinkedIn Groups that have discussed this same issue, as well a personal blogs, so I know it’s been going on for some time, but LinkedIn hasn’t done anything to stop it, or control it.

Here are some of the things that I have noticed:
1. There are a lot of profiles using the exact same stock image professional headshots. LinkedIn can quickly identify these bogus profile pictures during the upload process. If a user is trying to upload a “known fake profile picture”, based on a combination of file name and file size, then automatically flag the user account as possible spam.
When a profile is marked as possible spam, than the user account is disallowed from sending invites to connect, as well as post and join groups. (Groups are consistently being spammed an Group Administrators have been ticked off for a long time, but LinkedIn hasn’t done anything to fix the Group Posting spam.

2. If a profile does not include a current company name, than disallow the user to post, or send invitations to connect. Why should a user have access to email and spam the rest of the community if they haven’t passed the most basic steps. Only 95 out of the 288 invitations were from profiles that included a company name. (Hint.. no company name… no ability to send emails, invite others to connect, post in grwoups, etc.)

3. I found only 16 of the 288 profiles to be even remotely “Not Spam”. That’s just less than 6% as possible Live, real users. The rest had obvious reasons that suggested they were bogus, no pictures, duplicate names, company names that don’t exist.

If you are seeing this same thing in your LinkedIn profile, please comment below. I want to keep a record of this issue, and see what LinkedIn has to say in response. Additionally, I want to make sure that when I click “Spam”, something does actually happen.

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Jobvite 2012 Social Job Seeker Survey – Is it accurate? I don’t think so.

Jobvite, an applicant tracking software firm that helps employers post jobs and track candidates during the hiring process, recently released it’s annual “Social Job Seeker Survey”.

While I normally enjoy reading through this and other Recruiting and Job Search Surveys, especially the annual “Source of Hire Report” from Gerry and Mark at CareerXRoads, I don’t think this survey should be considered any more valid than most recruiters empirical evidence regarding social recruiting.

This one is just… I don’t know… just off the mark a little bit.
Before we get into some of the details, I first must say that I do think that Jobvite’s Social Recruiting Surveys continually seem to be dead on, so I don’t know why this one is weird, but here are my thoughts.

First off, if the poll originally had 2,108 respondents, but only 1,266 (60%) were part of the American Workforce, doesn’t that mean that the method of sampling was way off anyways? What method was used to delete the 40% of respondents? And, if these candidates weren’t located in the US, was using a “online opt-in panels” a very good source of determining the accuracy of the average American Workforce?

Second, on page 9, the results say that 83% of respondents (who met the survey criteria) had a Facebook account. That sounds fine. But, the results show that 46% of the “US Workforce Sample” had a Twitter Account and only 41% had a LinkedIn account. Even considering that LinkedIn is more of a professional, versus part-time and retail industry network, I still can’t believe that this is accurate. More of the US Workforce is using Twitter than LinkedIn… Really?

This might be the case, if Twitter is predominately being used for gossip, news, and entertainment… heck if Justin Bieber were headlining LinkedIn, I’m sure the stats on LinkedIn might be a little different, too.

Here’s a stat that pretty much made me doubt the entire survey process.
On page 12, the results show that respondents stated that 26% of respondents stated that Newspapers were “directly responsible” for finding their current/ most recent job, while Referrals were only 5% higher at 31%.

Really???
Maybe there is problem with the way the question was asked, or how users considered the question, but come on… Newspapers directly responsible for 26% of current jobs… I don’t think so.

If that stat was even remotely valid I’d start buying shared in all the trashed newspaper stocks. Has anyone seen what has happened to newspaper classified revenue numbers lately… reality is proving just the opposite of the study.

If that wasn’t enough, on the very next page, the study reveals that 41% of respondents found their “Favorite/Best Job from a Friend or Family”…
Empirically, and from other studies such as the Annual Source of Hire studies, and even other JobVite studies, many of us in the indusry would agree that this is probably pretty accurate.

So, what’s the difference between this question and result, versus the last question and result? Sounds more like a problem with the polling. Is it how the question was asked? Who knows. I’m no statistical analysis expert, but this doesn’t seem to make sense.

Finally, and this was the final “statistic” that made me want to write this blog post…
On page 14, “Who are the job seekers on Facebook?” the study shows that the largest poll of respondents had an annual income of over $100,000 (25%), while in the next result stated that the largest pool of respondents (34%), state that their “Education” level was “Some College”.
WHAT???
Is this study really stating that the largest single pool of job seekers are people making over $100,000? but yet at the same time this same group of job seekers didn’t even finish college? Come on!

So, if I read this 2012 Social Job Seeker Survey correctly,
85% of the American Workforce has a Facebook account, and of those 85%…
25% of them make over $100,000 per year, and
34% of them have “some college” education.

I’m not sure if this was the best work the polling company has ever done.

What are your thoughts… I’d love to hear them, because I think that recruiters have a much better view of who they are hiring from Facebook, and I’m sure it’s not a bunch of $100K a year, non-college graduates.