An interesting Google+ post highlights how LinkedIn’s aggressive user acquisition strategy has some users unwittingly trawling their personal email contacts to join the social network, when they think they’re just “connecting” with someone who is already on LinkedIn.
When you first sign-up for LinkedIn, you can choose to scan your email account’s contacts to see if people you know use the service.
In her Google+ post, Robin Fisher writes that after she did this, LinkedIn misrepresented which people she knew already had accounts.
Fisher thought that she had sent a connection request to an old acquaintance through LinkedIn’s “People You May Know” feature, but she discovered that that person didn’t actually have an account yet. Essentially, she had sent them an invitation to join LinkedIn.
In her post, she included an example screenshot of the button she thought would connect her to a contact:
This “Add to network” button doesn’t connect you to someone on LinkedIn, though the language may suggest that it does. Here’s an example of a “Connect” button that actually does go to someone else on LinkedIn:
Side by side, these two buttons look pretty different. However, if you are using LinkedIn and you just see one or the other, it could be easy to make the same mistake that Fisher (and others who commented on her post) did.
A LinkedIn representative told Business Insider that the company will be rolling out changes to the language of these two buttons, to make this difference more immediately clear, in upcoming weeks, though this change is unrelated to Fisher’s complaint.
Here’s an official statement from the company:
The People You May Know feature leverages contacts from members’ address books that members have chosen to provide to LinkedIn in order to connect with people that matter in their professional life. While the feature provides suggestions on who to connect to, members have complete control over who they choose to send a connection request to.