If you have viewed a LinkedIn profile in the last couple days, chances are you have seen a new box at the top of the page prompting you to endorse the individuals skills.
Here is a screenshot of the endorse box on one of my connection’s profile page:
With one click, I can endorse Lauren’s skills in these five areas simply because we are connected. But wait, there’s more! Scroll down the page and there is a prominent call, again, to endorse Lauren!
Is this really a good idea?
Comparing LinkedIn to Klout
The process to give someone +K on Klout is very similar to LinkedIn. +K-ers are public and topics are ranked by the number of +Ks received.
Like the new LinkedIn Endorsements, Klout’s +K is a one-click endorsement of someone’s influence on a topic. Unlike a written recommendation, you cannot differentiate between meaningful endorsements and throwaways.
There is no difference between a brand new coworker or sales contact and a client that has worked closely with me and has first-hand knowledge of my B2B marketing experience and skill set endorsing me. How do you judge the value of an endorsement without this context?
The short answer is, you don’t.
A Gamified LinkedIn?
Because you cannot judge the quality of individual endorsements, you are left to judge the quantity of endorsements an individual has received.
LinkedIn has been free of most direct gamification for years. Once a profile has more than 500 connections, the number of connections are not even displayed. With endorsements, LinkedIn just embraced gaming their network.
As people collect endorsements, the value of LinkedIn as a business network and as an advertising property will decrease. Here are a few of the changes we should expect:
- The value of endorsements will decrease. People will collect endorsements and in order to increase the number of endorsements (which are publicly displayed), the will also collect connections.
- The value of connections will decrease. When connections no longer represent a strong connection, the value of connections and introductions on LinkedIn will also decrease.
- LinkedIn traffic will increase. Giving endorsements and the endorsement notifications LinkedIn sends will increase total traffic and available advertising inventory. However, as LinkedIn use moves towards more social or gamified activity and away from business networking, the value of their advertising will decrease.
- Spam will increase. Spam is already increasing on LinkedIn, endorsement requests, connection requests and endorsement notifications on the LinkedIn homepage will add to the spam and clutter LinkedIn has been collecting recently.
At the end of this road is a very different LinkedIn, one that has lost much of the potential professional value it offers today.
I hope I am wrong and I would love it if you give me hope and point out the positive in this change. Please share how endorsements will increase the value of LinkedIn without introducing additional spam and clutter into the environment. The comments are yours.
Dead on. What’s to keep ‘suck ups’ from just giving higher-ups all kinds of klout? It all seems very fake and unprofessional, and LinkedIn should try to maintain its professionalism or it will become the new Facebook…
Interesting post Eric!
I admit- I do like Klout “a bit” and here’s the difference between it & LinkedIn (LI):
Klout puts up some ridiculous things that people are influential about. I’ve been influential about beer (don’t drink it), bacon (don’t eat it) & more. Once my friends saw that, they of course gave me +K :) It isn’t always true to your actual skill-set.
Granted on LinkedIn I input the skills- but because it’s more of a serious, business platform, I think that people will take giving recomm. more seriously than they do on Klout. I’m actually for it because people/potential clients look at LI when I apply for jobs…& recomm. of my skills can be very helpful.
Any system can be abused- but I think for LI, being a more professional platform, this is a good move & won’t hurt it.
just my two cents :)
I think endorsements have the POTENTIAL to increase LinkedIn’s value. For example, if you haven’t worked with someone thoroughly enough to write them a complete recommendation, but know that they possess certain skills, the endorsements still give you away to say “I think they know what they’re doing.” That being said, I’ve already seen it gamed. I have a friend who is currently a biology major, but somehow has endorsements in marketing. He’s never taken a marketing class in his life. It might also bee TOO easy. I almost accidentally endorsed someone just by clicking anywhere on the screen to bring my browser window to the front of my screen.
Eric – I’m with you on this development. LinkedIn are no doubt anxious to increase visitor levels and engagement – as greater traffic and time on site equals greater advertising revenues. Like you, though, I see this Endorsements initiative being gamed – and producing results that are more a reflection of the effort people have put into getting endorsements than a real reflection of their worth.
I’d have loved to see LinkedIn restrict you to only being able to award 1 endorsement for every 100 connections you have – so you have to be selective about awarding them. But of course that would slow down its adoption and reduce the traffic generation of the initiative…
I’m with you, Eric. Don’t like it at all. Completely destroys the credibility of Recommendations. I make my living(in part) helping business owners navigate LinkedIn, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s no longer a worthwhile platform.
I think it is validation that something is missing in the market – that is in a world where 70 percent of resumes contain mischaracterizations if not outright lies, how can a hiring manager have any confidence that what an applicants says either on the resume or Linkedin profile is in fact true? We recently went to market with a patented solution for certifying career related claims. Candidates share discrete references as they see fit with hiring firms and can tie these to specific job requirements. And once data is certified, the candidate owns it and can repurpose it throughout their careers. So far, we are getting great feedback from hiring firms and applicants which further (IMHO) validates the desire to fill this gap in the market.
This LinkedIn feature is completely bogus. They should withdraw immediately. As a hiring manager, I will never trust these endorsements. It is a useless feature.
LinkedIn needs to take it back. Waste of time.
I agree not a smart move for Linkedin. I believe you have the abiity to “refuse” Is there anyway to turn the endorsements feature off from our own name?
I’ve purposely tried to avoid being dragged into the Klout game, and I’m very sorry to see LI joining this foolishness. If someone doesn’t know you well enough to recommend you, that should be that. Develop deeper relationships and get actual recommendations.
It feels like LinkedIn wanted to get in the press by rolling out a ‘new feature’, but this one seems pretty useless. I don’t even put much stock in recommendations b/c you don’t know the validity of the source, so my feelings of this are the same x1000.
Just started receiving phishing emails disguised as LinkedIn endorsement notices. Beware.
I totally agree with your post, Eric. Have shared with LinkedIn groups I belong to. Have already generated some conversation among professional groups. I am usually a huge change advocate; in this case, I am hoping that we can roll this back!
I am in agreement that anything that can be “gamed” will be – that is why I usually do not accept invitations from people I do not know unless there is someone else at their company I can talk with regarding their qualifications. Keep this site from being polluted or degraded as a reference.
Absolutely the worst idea ever! I do not want to turn the value of my resume into facebook like fodder. These kind of features will cause me to abandon linkedin altogether.