LinkedIn’s discontinuation of company ‘products and services’ is another backwards step

LinkedIn announced last week that they are to discontinue the ‘products and services’ pages – click here: http://help.linkedin.com . This is the latest in a number of ‘tweaks’ that have in my opinion seriously undermined the usefulness of the site.

In just twelve months we have seen LinkedIn today replaced by Pulse which theoretically ensures a greater quality of content. I say theoretically as I genuinely believe that quality has dropped sharply. Following on from this, the ‘signal’ feature was removed. Signal allowed users to search for keyword phrases in updates; in essence it allowed you to see what was being shared across the platform. For AdMore this was essential as it allowed us to respond to comments on our blogs – something we can no longer do. Additionally the ‘publisher’ pages were deleted.

Late least year in a further degradation of the usefulness of the site personal updates were removed from individual profiles. If I want to see what my colleague Russell has liked or shared I would have to trawl through hundreds if not thousands of updates on the main feed. As a result, the information that I used to glean from the personal profiles has reduced dramatically, which means I spend LESS time on the platform.

The discontinuation of the Company ‘products and services’ page (click here for ours: linkedin.com/company/admore-recruitment-limited ) is in my opinion a huge own goal. It will have a number of negative side effects:

  1. A lot of companies have invested time AND money building up this page. The graphics cost money to create and it takes time to request and manage the recommendations. There has been little warning of the change other than the introduction of the ‘showcase’ pages last year. Will we invest in developing the showcase pages given LinkedIn’s propensity for discontinuing features without consultation?
  2. Companies have used this feature to create a social ‘validation’ of their services. For our business it has been fantastic, candidates, clients and prospective employees have all commented on our recommendations – they have a much greater value than the usual testimonials you see on corporate sites. Indeed we have been interviewing for posts within our own company and several interviewees have commented positively on our recommendations.
  3. ‘Engagement’ is a social buzzword that is often over used but the recommendations genuinely drove engagement on multiple levels. The company page will just be a stream of updates now. Great but not overly compelling.

A number of threads have bee started on the LinkedIn help centre forum (have you ever been there?) with a lot of disgruntled users. The reality is that LinkedIn will have this and forthcoming changes fully mapped out, but it would be great if you could contribute to the thread: community.linkedin.com/questions  (if you feel as strongly as we do of course!). A few comments indicate just how angry people are about this:

“LinkedIn does it again. They”ve made an arbitrary decision to remove content previously entered by its subscribers. On April 14 all the hard work done by subscribers who created product and services pages will be sent to the trash bin by LinkedIn. I have a number of clients who paid to have their products and services pages created for them. LinkedIn has decided that their investment means nothing.”

“I just spent several hours for a client creating multiple services on their company page and getting people to recommend them. What a waste of their dollars.”

“The sudden decision to remove the “Products and Services” tab is detrimental to our companies LI page. We have 23 products/workshops with multiple recommendations. I see no value in merging over to a showcase page that has no similar capabilities. The 200 character limit is ludicrous, it is a glorified Tweet.”

To be fair, a LinkedIn representative has waded in with the following response:

Hi All,

I just wanted to chime in and let you all know that we are absolutely listening to the feedback we are getting on this thread (and elsewhere as well).

I also want to note that any admins of Company Pages will be receiving an email from us this week that has instructions on how to obtain a copy of the recommendations on your page. We know that you have spent a lot of time and effort in getting those, so we are going to ensure that you do not lose them. If you would like a copy sooner than that, you can obviously start manually copying and pasting them into a document of some sort at any time.

We appreciate everyone”s take on the direction we are going with our Company Pages and remember to be on the lookout for the email from us this week with further instructions.

Thank you.

Derek Homann
LinkedIn Community Team

 

So, LinkedIn, a highly sophisticated and cutting edge social media platform suggests that we ‘cut and paste’ our recommendations in to a document. For me, this underlines just how detached they have become from their customers. The whole point of the recommendation is that it is a public endorsement that can be attributed to a real person. Sorry LinkedIn but this is yet another own goal.

For a small company like ours our marketing budget is precious. We have invested heavily in LinkedIn. We set this blog up last year partly in response to the removal of the ‘publisher page.’ We will continue to invest a greater proportion of our time and money in the blog and perhaps Twitter, Facebook or Google . LinkedIn does not have a divine right to business networking, there are plenty of other mediums – some traditional!

 
 

15 thoughts on “LinkedIn’s discontinuation of company ‘products and services’ is another backwards step”

  1. Hi Jez,

    The war still rages.  But I can report that I’ve won a small battle – support tell me that we will (later this week) receive an email telling us how to move recommendations with losing the validation.

    I see that some other people are now campaigning for the Product / Service section of the company page to be retained.    I suspect that this may be a bridge too far in terms of LinkedIn changing their plans but good luck to everyone on that.

    For me the other battle that I would like to win is to get the ability to gain validated recommendations on Showcase Pages.  I don’t know how many people know this, but the planned change leaves companies with no facility to have validated recommendations places anywhere in their company page(s).

    Kind Regards
    Tony

  2. You mentioned in the one discussion I’m following that you will only do the minimum on the showcase pages.  “Minimum” is exactly the right word — 200 characters, one picture and no recommendations.

    I really wonder what they were thinking?

  3. Well said Jez. They have completely lost touch with their members – their paying members – wants and needs. They spend too much time focusing on what their shareholders want and they forget that without their members they have nothing. Responsiveness is down and deteriorating, this makes it ineffective for recruitment, networking and sales. If LinkedIn continue in this way and we’ll all be going “Remember LinkedIn?” just like we say “Remember MySpace?”

  4. WinningImpress Hi Katrina, I understand that LI need to make money but surely they would have been better off charging a subscription fee for the ‘products and services’ page in the same way they do for the careers page. Judging by the number of blogs, tweets and other social posts they have seriously damaged the customer relationship.

  5. Future products & services maybe. I’d have been pretty annoyed to have to start paying for something that’s been free all this time. They’ll argue pages didn’t get impressions and I’ll argue but at least recommendations belonged to the company & not the individual 🙂

  6. WinningImpress (on the impressions point) which is ironic given that you would have to be Sherlock Holmes to find an average Showcase Page!

  7. Hi Jez, 

    I’ve just discovered your blog today. What I would suggest is having a show case page called products and services and then posting your different products and services there. Seems like the only solution to this very annoying problem.

  8. Adejumoke Okeowo Hi, thank-you for the suggestion. The problem really lies with linking the recommendation to the service. The showcase page doesn’t allow for this currently. Also, I am very dubious about investing any more time in LinkedIn pages as they tend to have a limited shelf life. How long before the showcase page is discontinued?

  9. JezAdmore good point but like with all social media updates we can optimise with options we have. A work around for recommendations would be to either have a dedicated recommendations show case page. Or post the recommendations as posts within a products and services showcase page. 
     Best of luck finding a solution.

  10. Adejumoke Okeowo JezAdmore  Or they could have left it as it was. Dell has 650 Recommendations and pay LinkedIn a hell of a lot of money to use the service, why should they “need to find a solution”? LinkedIn doesn’t care about its members, and as their members are their product… fool them!

  11. WinningImpress Adejumoke OkeowoJezAdmore I tend to agree Katrina, the more they tinker with the product the less useful it becomes. Other than the larger corporates I cant see many SMEs running multiple showcase pages. Too much work for too little return.

  12. JezAdmore Adejumoke Okeowo  Exactly! Though you’re welcome to run mine if you have a spare few… hours 😉

  13. Adejumoke Okeowo JezAdmore  No.  You’re missing the point.  Recommendations on the P&S pages are linked to the people providing them, to provide verification.  There is no room and no way to provide that same function on the Showcase pages, not to mention that you have grand total of *200* characters on a Showcase page to explain your product or service. Oh, yes, and one photo.

    This is a poorly-thought-out move on LI’s part — or a deliberate attempt to alienate people (which seems rather unlikely).  Really stupid.

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