LinkedIn Is Almost Impossible To Quit

jeff weiner linkedinLinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner

Photo: Photo by Flickr user Iantzilla

LinkedIn is like the Hotel California: you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.A while ago I decided to close my LinkedIn account. And it has been like pulling teeth.

I tried to do it twice through their website with no result. Then I had to go through customer service, also twice. And I still get email from LinkedIn even after my account was closed.

One of the things LinkedIn warned investors about in its filing to go public is that “the number of our registered members is higher than the number of actual members, and a substantial majority of our page views are generated by a minority of our members.” I’m not surprised.

Most people except a specific class of people — biz dev, sales people, recruiters — don’t get anything out of LinkedIn accounts. Let’s face it: LinkedIn is mostly an excuse to rack up “connections” with people you barely know and “recommendations” which are fake anyway, and have a resume online with good SEO.

I can’t remember which notification email from someone I barely knew asking to “connect”, which I knew would never lead to anything value-creating, was the last straw. So I decided to cancel my account.

Little did I know I was embarking on an adventure in customer service hell.

Choose your reason.

Extraneous screen you have to click through.

Thought you were done? Wrong! You have to wait for a confirmation email from customer support.

The email never comes ...

I waited. And waited. And the email from customer support never came.

Just in case something went wrong the previous time, I went through the whole close account dance a second time. Same thing.

If customer support won't come to the mountain, let the mountain come to customer support...

Of course during this time LinkedIn keeps spamming, sorry, NOTIFYING me about my network

Yes, LinkedIn, please add more screens and throw up random links based on keywords in my submission so you don't have to hire so many customer support reps.

At last! (But still more waiting...)

This part, in particular, was precious. I am trying to STOP BEING a valued member of the LinkedIn community!

Rephrasing my query for Fran├žois (and since this is email, attaching the proper screenshot). I'm proud I managed to stay polite -- we're WEEKS into the process at this point.

FINALLY! Thank you Fran├žois. But, just to make sure...


But then, a few days later, in my Inbox ... IT NEVER ENDS.

This is more than just annoying

Investors should know how LinkedIn's business works, and why it's no coincidence that LinkedIn makes it so hard (impossible, in fact, judging by the emails I still get) to leave the service.

LinkedIn creates little value for the vast majority of its users who just have resumes. Honestly, is there much of a reason to visit on a daily, or weekly, basis?

But it creates enormous value for the people LinkedIn charges to mine other people's profiles: sales guys, who can buy 'premium accounts' and 'inmail' to pitch guys at other companies; recruiters, who can go through resumes, and so forth.

The value of LinkedIn to this minority collapses if the majority realises having an online resume with good SEO isn't worth it. To make sure those people never leave, it has created an impossible series of hoops if users want to quit.

It doesn't need to be this way. I quit Facebook and had no problems. It was pretty simple. Hopefully, LinkedIn gets the message and does the same thing.

Anyway, that's what LinkedIn does. Now see where it does it.

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