Let me start of by saying that I think LinkedIn is a fantastic social platform, especially for B2B companies. I have been an active, paid member since 2005 and have invested a lot of time and effort into building my personal profile and network, as well as the Brick Marketing company page. I am an active member of 30+ groups where I submit content from this and the Brick Marketing Blog daily. I am also an “Open Networker,” which means I am open to connecting with whoever is interested in connecting with me. I know that some people use LinkedIn to only connect with those that they have met face-to-face and have done business with in the past, but I look at LinkedIn as one more place to find potential SEO clients and business partners. In fact, most of the business partners Brick Marketing has stem from a LinkedIn connection. I want to make my company and my profile as visible as possible on LinkedIn because that is my target audience—marketers, business owners, website developers; all people I want to work with.
A few weeks ago I ran into an issue with my LinkedIn account. I had a few dozen invitations to connect in my inbox and I was trying to approve them. I’d click the APPROVE button, only nothing would happen. The invite wouldn’t be approved, nor would it clear from my inbox. I even tried the IGNORE button to see if that worked, but the invitations stayed put. I put in a ticket at the LinkedIn HelpDesk and here is the response I got:
I have reviewed your Profile and have found that it has been restricted. The most common reason for a restriction is due to sending too many Invites to Members who respond with “I don’t know”. I’ve gone ahead and lifted that restriction on your account, so let me know if you have any further problems.
Now here is the issue—I haven’t sent out any invitations in months, maybe even years! All the people I was trying to connect with where people that had invited me to connect with them, not the other way around. How can my profile get flagged as “I don’t know” when I’m not the one sending the requests?! They also suggested that I clear my cache incase the issue was on my end. Not only did I clear my cache, I tried to approve connections from three different computers and two different IP addresses—still nothing worked…for over a week.
I started doing a little digging on my own. Since the LinkedIn customer service desk wasn’t able to fix the issue (even after they said they could approve connections on their end) I tried to find instances where other people had run into a similar problem. On a whim, I decided to see if LinkedIn had a maximum amount of connections a user was allowed. I had noticed that my account had frozen on 30,000 visitors exactly, which I found unusual. Here is what I found in LinkedIn answers :
…some LIONs have received messages saying that they have exceeded a newly imposed connection limit of 30,000.LION members say they have pending “invitations to connect” that they cannot accept as a result of the restriction…
That post is from 2009! I spoke with three or four different help desk representatives and not one of them knew about this? So I decided to clear out my connections and start to be a little discerning with who I connect with. But guess what happened? Every time I tried to remove a connection the site timed out on me! I can’t even clear out my connection list to abide by their maximum connection rule. I sent another help desk ticket and was eventually informed that the reason why I couldn’t delete any of my connections was because I had too many connections (which of course makes sense…) and LinkedIn would timeout while trying to load them all so I could delete them. I had to submit a formal request in writing to the Internal Research Team over at LinkedIn and outline which countries (not individual contacts) I wanted deleted from my account. So I don’t get to pick and choose which contacts I want to remove, just the entire country! While I’m okay with that because I don’t really do much work with international clients, what about a business that does have important overseas connections? How are they supposed to monitor which contacts are deleted and which aren’t?
Like I said, I really like LinkedIn and think it is a great social platform. However, how can they be a real social network if they are limiting the amount of people I can connect with? In my opinion, social networking is about connecting with as many people as possible. You don’t go to a conference or tradeshow and only hand out ten business cards do you? Do you set quotas for how many people you can talk to at a networking event? No! You never know what lead, what client, what business partnership there is to be had when you connect with someone, either face-to-face or via social media. People have the power to NOT connect with someone if they so choose and ignore a request, so why does LinkedIn feel the need to police it for us? I’ve never heard of Twitter or Facebook or Google+ or any other social network limiting the amount of connections you could have; why would LinkedIn be any different?
I can understand they want to protect users from spammers and solicitors, but limiting how many connections we are allowed to have isn’t the way to do it!
I’d love to hear if any other professionals on LinkedIn have run into this problem yet. Am I in the minority opinion for using LinkedIn to connect with as many people as possible?
Even though you might not be able to connect with me on LinkedIn for a while, be sure to follow Brick Marketing on LinkedIn!