LinkedIn Spamming Strangers in Your Name


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Last night, a friend of mine asked me if LinkedIn auto-generated “invitations to connect” to complete strangers that matched their (LinkedIn’s) assessment of connections he might be interested in. I had to admit that this is something I’d never wondered….so I had no answer. However, I have noticed a significant increase in invitations from people I do not know. In my case, I have spent a lot of time on LinkedIn over the past year building a new network. I am changing industries, so all my previous LinkedIn connections were only moderately helpful in making the contacts I need to make. I send out around 100 invitations a month, so when I started receiving random invitations from people in this new industry, I just assumed it was tied to my increased activity.

But here is the piece of the story I did not tell you. My friend, a CEO of a small semiconductor company, just assumed that people wanted to connect to him due to his executive status in the high tech industry. He noticed the increase in random invitations but assumed that it was related to increased job hunting activities, now that the economy has started to pickup. That is, however, until he received an invitation to connect to himself.  It was then that he started to question if he was getting a flurry of requests to connect which were generated by LinkedIn based on his profile and on the profiles of people he was connecting to.

I did a quick Google search on “does linkedin automatically send invitations” to discover a LinkedIn discussion started on February 9 of this year. There was outrage being expressed over LinkedIn doing exactly this. Most of the respondents in this discussion indicated that they were careful about who they sent invitations to and from whom they accepted invitations.

Mystery solved. LinkedIn will generate invitations for you to people they think you might want to be connected to.

I do not have the same concern, as some people do, about connecting to people I may not know. I am essentially in sales, and you are probably not going to make much of a business by only selling to people you know. What concerns me is that LinkedIn has decided to do this without telling us. They are essentially “telemarketing” to LinkedIn members, under our name and LinkedIn profile, without our ever knowing.

Isn’t this what a virus does?

Good luck and Godspeed!

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About jamessnider

James Snider is the Vice President of Business Development for Engstrom Trading, LLC. Engstrom imports products from Scandinavian countries and builds a market for them in the USA and Canada. http://TFXNonStickUSA.com View all posts by jamessnider

One response to “LinkedIn Spamming Strangers in Your Name

  • Tor-Bjorn Fjellner

    I don’t think this is totally “unrequested” invites. But, recently, LinkedIn has started nagging me a lot for access to all my email contacts. (And, depending on your settings, you may have tons of “contacts” in your hotmail account that you don’t know. Perhaps the address was added when you by mistake replied to a spam mail 10 years ago.)

    I haven’t tried, but I believe that next step, of inviting ALL people from the address list, is just one click on a huge button away.

    At the same time, now one needs to be much more “connecting” on LinkedIn in order to get a useful experience. Earlier, I could browse full profiles (and get introduced) to members “3 steps away”. Now the basic membership limits your reachable network to “friends of friends” and “people with shared groups”.
    (The alternative, paying for a Business subscription, is just too expensive for those of us, who don’t “hunt” people as a job, like sales people or recruiters).

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