Abuse LinkedIn RecommendationsIt’s a simple enough concept.  If you’ve done business with someone on LinkedIn, you can endorse their skills in their profile and/or rate them with My Biz Card.  If you want your connections to endorse or rate you, there is the option to ask them via private message.  It’s this option that many LinkedIn members use to make themselves look ridiculously unprofessional.

The endorsements feature on LinkedIn is relatively new.  The latest twist on that (and the inspiration behind this post) comes from My Biz Card.  They encourage abuse with the following “mass message”.

Hi,
Sorry for the mass message. Can you please take a moment and leave me a quick professional rating here:
https://mybizcard.co/user/rate/
Thanks,
John Smith
Unsubscribe:
https://mybizcard.co/spage/unsubscribe_invite/

If you want to unsubscribe, you actually have to sign up.  Since I refuse to have anything to do with this kind of personal spam, I’m receiving more and more of the notices.  I can only hope that LinkedIn terminates them.

Why Not?

Would you walk up to a stranger or casual acquaintance and say, “My name is John Smith. Can you write a recommendation letter for me?”

What kind of impression would that make?  I don’t believe I’m being too much of a stereotypically polite Canadian to consider it unprofessional and downright rude.

Conversely, would you put your name and reputation on the line in the real world to recommend someone, if you’re totally unfamiliar with their work?  What if a puppy is abused in the care of that Pet-sitter?  Or that Accountant robs a company blind?

Why Not?  Seriously?

  • The practice of begging for endorsements or endorsing people you barely know makes you look unprofessional at best.
  • You’re wasting the time of people who are intelligent enough to refrain from endorsing someone’s work when they’re not familiar with it.
  • You’re compromising your own reputation if you recommend others in the hopes of getting a reciprocal endorsement and/or to get their attention.
  • If anyone checks with the people who recommended you and they find out the person knows nothing about your work, you’re going to look sneaky and dishonest.
  • Connections are going to start dropping you.

LinkedIn is being corroded by the abuse of these features.  It’s not intended to be used as nonchalantly as Facebook ‘Likes’.  Its purpose is to provide a professional, legitimate endorsement of someone who you would actually write a recommendation letter for offline. That’s because recommendations are supposed to be earned.

Your LinkedIn connections are not your personal mailing list for recommendations, sales/spam, fundraising, votes, or your latest newsletter.  They’re part of your network like the people in a Chamber of Commerce group.  Treat them respectfully and you’ll enjoy the many benefits of networking. Abuse them and you’ll do yourself far more harm than good.

BONUS TIP: LinkedIn is a unique environment for professionals. If you really want to leverage it for business, check out LinkedIn for Business: How Advertisers, Marketers and Salespeople Get Leads, Sales and Profits from LinkedIn, by Wayne Breitbarth.

Comment on Canadians Internet BusinessHow do you handle requests for LinkedIn endorsements or ratings?  Please share your tips in the comments below.

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Melody McKinnon
Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website

Melody McKinnon is an internet entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in a wide range of online business models, backed by a formal business education and enhanced by training and mentorship. She has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available from all major ebook retailers.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadianDigitalMedia.com, CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net, and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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Jason

If it’s not a good solid reference it’s worthless. Endorsements were a good idea but they’re used and abused too much to be any good. LinkedIn is still the most professional network though, the rest give me a headache. :-/

Marv

Any feature is only as good as the people using it. There will always be the ignorant and the narcissists who ruin a good thing for everyone.

Eddie

Seriously indeed LOL. Some people turn everything into a popularity contest and go to such extremes to appear popular, which only points out the opposite. Duh.

Janine Gliener

Endorsements have been a dilemma for me — I don’t value them, I don’t feel they have credibility. A number of supportive colleagues have sent me endorsements, unasked. I have not reciprocated, which makes me feel like a bit of a bum, but I really don’t want to join in this “game”. Having expressed my rational distrust for them, I have to admit that there IS some impact to seeing them on the screen, the specifics of the lists and the numbers of thumbnail photos.

I too would be happier if LI stopped this feature.

Don’t stop recommendations tho – those can be very real and valuable!

Dave Zed

I agree 100%! Most endorsements are now completely useless thanks to abuse. I hope linkedin finds a way to clean it up because it’s a nice option if it’s used correctly.

Tammy

A firm slap on the knuckles! LOL If I’ve ever done this I won’t admit it now. 😛

Darren

I saw this on LI and it should be shared all over that network. They should hire you to school the users who don’t get the difference between a professional network and facebook. Maybe you could blog for them or something. The success of LI teeters in the balance between professionals and people who don’t get it. I’d hate to lose it as one of the few places for professionals to be professional. Keep talking!

Juan

They should try working for their recommendations even if they have to volunteer. Anything is better than looking pathetic!

Clay Windsor ON

I’m glad someone is educating people about it but you’d think they’d figure it out. I lose my patience and delete connections that bug me whether it’s this or something else. Some people think they can just sign up and start using any social network but when your business reputation is on the line you should learn about the network first.

Jillian

I guess I didn’t give it much thought but I’ve asked for recommendations. I won’t now!!

Brandon S.

Well said! I’m getting very tired of the requests and spam on LinkedIn. I’m asked to endorse, vote, buy, attend…don’t these people know better or do they just not care???