Is LinkedIn selling me?

This morning I received an invitation to attend a webinar organised by LinkedIn on Social Selling: essentially, how to sell more using LinkedIn. This dovetails with the complimentary “upgrade” I received to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator, both trying  to demonstrate its usefulness as a lead generator.

This however, I find disturbing and definitely out of scope with respect to the original proposition which was:

“Give me your data, and I will help you find a new job; I will make money by selling information about you to corporate recruiters.”

Now the proposition has become:

“I will help you sell more, by allowing you to target complete strangers based on data they have given me.”

My answer to this is very simple:

How do I opt out?

Mind you, I consider LinkedIn a sales tool, but ONLY within the domain of my own contacts: people who decided to connect with me based on our mutual knowledge; should I misuse this connection, they have the perfect recourse by disconnecting.

However, I do understand the need to grow their ARPU (the company is currently priced at about 10 times REVENUE on the stock market), so here is a list of sales-oriented features that are both respectful of the original contract they stipulated with me and valuable enough I would be willing to pay a premium for.

  1. A mailing list organiser – allow me to manage my contacts (they are mine after all); sort, boolean selections and the like; allow me to save sorting sequences to re-run at a later moment
  2. A bulk mailing facility – build a basic DM capability within the system, focusing not so much on mail formatting but rather on response management (delivered, opened, read…)
  3. A decent import / export function – unlike the existing lame export function that clearly says LI wants to gobble your data, but refuses to give any back. Choose which fields and which records, name/save/delete lists.

Instead, they chose to monetise by selling me without asking and without offering me to opt out, potentially transforming LinkedIn in the online version of the cold calling bombardment we all experience on our landlines. It is yet another demonstration of how easy it is to misappropriate parts of my Digital Self.

As the adage says:

“Be worried when you do not understand what is the product being sold, because probably YOU are the product”


2 thoughts on “Is LinkedIn selling me?

  1. Giovanni – there is an opt-out for the Sales Navigator. Plus, it’s essentially a b-2-b tool with a limited member contact rate. You can only receive one inquiry per six months. In case of questions – call your local DACH LinkedIn comms officer ;-)

    • I know I could call yourself or Marina, but I prefer my role as the average user. I did not see the opt-out, where is it? The number of inquiries I get will depend on who I am (Bill Gates gets more than me) or do you set a limit? And if so, where do I see the limit you assigned me?

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