Friday, April 4, 2014

LinkedIn Appears to Be StrikingOut.

"Never take your eyes of the ball.  Never lose focus.  Or it will just blow right by you before you can react."

That's what my hitting coach used to tell me when I played pee-wee baseball years ago.  It was basic but sound advice that still applies to the software industry today.  If you take your eye of the ball, your customer base, they'll blow right past you so fast, you won't be given the time to take another swing to get them back.

What's the wild pitch, that's in my humble opinion, causing LinkedIn to be OutofTouch?

The "Upgrade to LinkedIn Premium"  nag screen that is holding your time hostage!  Seen it before?  It looks like this!

This timeout or nag screen literally freezes your instance of Linkedin.  Onscreen, a small yellow number counts down from 5 seconds.  (It seems more like ten or fifteen!)  When that's over, you then have to hit the close button to get rid of the nag screen in order to go on about your business.  Need to see another profile?  You get another nag screen, and so on.  No doubt this brainchild came from someone in marketing who's previous experience saw them work for a client/server software company in the 80's.    The theory was to sell more software product by providing full blown working copies of their software to prospects.  Then, after awhile, they would to use more and more nag screens until they nagged their prospects into submission and compelled them to buy their software.  Quite frankly I can't think of one successful software company who had made it big by utilizing this method.  Their more customer-centric competitors have driven them out of business. 

But what LinkedIn is doing, is worse.   For years, many faithful LinkedIn users have provided their contact and profile information to Linked, and perhaps provided free consultative information or taken part in some heated discussions in LinkedIn Group forums, for free.   In return they would receive access to one of the most useful tools in business today.  But without the historic content that users have contributed to LinkedIn, for free, LinkedIn would have no value.

What gives a company like LinkedIn the right to change the fundamental nature of their social contract with their install base, unilaterally?   Now, not only are they simply exploiting those who are providing content for free; they are forcing users to pay for a premium membership just to continue to utilize the tool, in the same historic manner to which they have become accustomed.   The ultimate, protracted, bait and switch.    Here's our free version.  On board?  Great!  Now how do you like our nags?   Want to get rid of them?   Well how about our Premium version? 

Perhaps it's time for someone in upper management at LinkedIn to take a walk out to the marketing mound and change pitchers.  The guy you have in there right now has lost control.  Before long, your competitor is going to hit him hard, knock one out of the park on you and put the game you once dominated, out of reach.  

Not showing mere respect for someone's time is considered to be very rude in business.  Not showing respect for someone's time, plus someone's historic contributions to your platform is way off the mark, not even close to plate.

A wild pitch.

Or so, it would seam. 

     If you agree with this post feel free to share it with business colleagues, friends or relatives who are being impacted by this change in business practices at LinkedIn.
Thank you.