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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