LinkedIn "your account is restricted" is not handled well

Lets be honest, LinkedIn is not the pissing contest that MySpace or even Facebook is. LinkedIn is about professional networking over social networking. I really like LinkedIn. I recently wrote a letter to customer service, and since I spent such a lot of time writing it, I figured I should post it here. You can read it in its entirety after the break.

 

Hi,

"The action is not allowed because your account is restricted. Please contact Customer Service at customer_service@linkedin.com."

This is the second time I have gotten this message in a couple weeks. And it is not handled well in your system. I am not spamming the system. I am not trying to spam the system. I think you need to lighten up on your reins or people, myself included, are going say to hell with LinkIn and leave, period.

What did I do today? Well, as of today my BG News Alumni Group was approved, so I invited all the BG News Alumni that are in my contact list to join the newly created group.

I found out that my boss, the Director of Student Publications at BGSU, and also the advisor to the BG News, had a LinkedIn account. So I sent him an invite, which he immediately approved. I noticed that Beth Hertz, who I know and is the President of the BG News Alumni Association also had a profile on LinkedIn, so I shot her an invitation, too.

Doing that triggered the "Invite Colleagues from BGSU" screen. I scroll through the list and see three other people at BGSU that I know personally, and try and invite them. Then I get the "The action is not allowed because your account is restricted. Please contact Customer Service at customer_service@linkedin.com."

Now of course I notice the message that tells me I cannot invite people from this screen because "several recipients of your invitations indicated that they don’t know you." I will look through my invitations again, but the last time I checked it was FIVE, and most of them know me (not that this matters). How exactly do you define "several?" Out of X number, "several" said "Doesn't Know." What happens when X turns to 100, 200, 300 or more invitations?

Now, it also says I can contact customer service to get this lifted at anytime once I have indicated that I understand the policy.

Well, I hereby indicate that I understand your policy. Please lift this restriction. These safeguards you put in place, while they have good intent, are, in my opinion, suffocating your service.

I also notice a similar orange message on the Add Connections screen indicating that I must fill in the email address because people have said they do not know me. I have no problem entering their email addresses when I know them, but sometimes they are past co-workers who I do not know said email addresses for (in some cases I can hunt for them, but does that not defeat the purpose of your service?). Have you ever thought that your heavy-handed approach here is killing the "networking" part of the social networking concept?

Additionally, shouldn't your system of degrees away from people matter in all of this? All these people I have contacted today are 2nd degree Invites. They are people who have contacts who know me. I am not "cold calling" people just to boost my numbers for some dumb reason. I am trying to grow my professional network with people who I know. Shouldn't that 2nd degree contact be considered in the equation somehow?

Lastly, have you ever considered the fact that someone would say "Doesn't know" when they just don't want you as a friend?  Temple Stark for example, he even sent me an email (using LinkedIn, even) that basically said "thanks but no thanks" yet he also marked "Doesn't know." Maybe he did this because he thought that was the best way to decline an invitation, yet that is the way to (with your current system) maliciously decline an invitation. To me, this looks like a flaw in your invitation and "Doesn't know" system.

Six, I count six "Don't Know" out of 12 pages of Invites, 30 per page, less than 360 because page 12 was not full. So lets say 350. Divide that out and you have a rather small percentage who "Don't Know" me. So am I spamming your system? I find one "Doesn't know" that I made a mistake on, as it turns out I do not know them either. That is my mistake, I take blame for that.

Don't get me wrong, I really like LinkedIn, but I wish to see it improved. That is why I am writing this letter. Sure, I am frustrated, but I would hope to see your service improve in the future. Believe me, I am not writing this because I have hours upon hours of free time on my hands, I am writing this because I wish to see things get better. I understand the nature of LinkedIn is to have a better relationship with the contacts around you, but at some point you have made it into a chore to connect, or re-connect with people. I am pretty sure that is not your goal.

I thank you for your time in listening to my point of view.

Ken

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