Business Networking: Is LinkedIn Dead?

After launching way back in May 2003, LinkedIn took its time to reach the top but did just that a few years ago with employers and employees alike using the service for a number of tasks. For some, LinkedIn has become a must-have platform when looking for a job, for others it is an essential online professional profile and a gateway to business networking opportunities. However, could all this be changing?

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn in June should have been a fresh start for the site but many are fearing that this could be the beginning of the end instead. Of course, the purchase from Microsoft should mean that users get to link together their Outlook, Excel, Word, Skype, Windows, and now LinkedIn which has obvious benefits. Furthermore, heavy investment should see a more ‘intelligent’ newsfeed which takes into account work-related news and industry news rather than the mixed up feed today. With more learning opportunities and a more efficient organisational insight, Microsoft are promising to work hard and even if nothing else, the power of the brand name is likely to draw more people towards the platform.

However, according to some there are some key details still letting the site down that need to be fixed or else users will move away. Firstly, the number of fake profiles and spam messages is driving users crazy and is ultimately having a negative impact on their experience on the site. The truth is, people are receiving messages constantly from people they haven’t connected with and although this has been going on for some time, nothing has changed and nothing looks as if it will change soon. It is growing harder and harder for serious users, who use this platform day in day out, to differentiate between real and fake profiles and this means that they are wasting valuable time.

In addition to this, a common complaint of LinkedIn these days is that it is becoming more and more like Facebook and therefore less professional. With games, fake job postings, puzzles, and a whole host of other random and inappropriate posts for a professional network, users are growing tired and frustrated. Just a few days ago, a post went around asking for users to post their date of birth to then receive a message detailing how their career will go in the next twelve months. Since when did LinkedIn start going down this route?

In terms of business, all these negatives seem to be having an effect with sales falling in the first quarter of 2016 by around 6%; this may not seem like something to be worried about at first but to put it in context, it is believed to be worth nearly $50 million for the company. Furthermore, since that announcement and the recent changes made share prices tumbled. It remains to be seen how much of an impact Microsoft’s purchase has had and will have when the future figures get released but one thing is for certain; they need to take action fast or risk losing users faster than ever before.

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