Legendary technology columnist Bill Kutik ran an interesting piece today discussing the betrayal of LinkedIn members. Basically, it's becoming a mammoth database of 23 million professionals, which can be sold en masse to advertisers wishing to peddle their services to targeted members; it's a direct marketeer's dream. Moroever, Bill described LinkedIn as becoming a job board dressed in social-networking clothing. He explains:
"The pricing is not public but account holders can search all 23 million members and get back their names and profiles, up to 1,000 with each search. They can do customized InMail blasts to groups of candidates (err ... I mean ... members), annotate their profiles, forward them to hiring managers and post jobs to LinkedIn's home page."
Thanks Bill for pointing this out - I did not know this, but suspected as much. No wonder it's now valued at $1bn.
While LinkedIn certainly has its limitations, I have to admit I'm better off for using it. I recently set up the BPO and Offshoring Best Practices Forum recently, which now has close to 2000 members. I've been making acquaintances with literally hundreds of people with whom I would never had otherwise 'met'. However, where I once had a couple of hundred treasured professional acquaintances on LinkedIn, I now have well over 1000. There needs to be some sort of filter where we can assign tiers to our online acquaintances - i.e. I actually have met this person, versus some guy with a funny name and strange photo who claims to be some independent evangelist / CEO / author. I also want to have that degree of privacy where I am free from recruiters and mortgage firms plying their trade. I'd use Facebook more, but I really don't want my CEO co-mingling with old college friends who haven't changed a bit in the last 15 years and know far too much about me.... I'm getting quite Linked-off.