Has this ever happened to you on LinkedIn?
You’re on LinkedIn and you get a few connection requests. You’re kinda hurting for connections and want to expand your network so you go ahead and Accept All.
Next, you go into one of you’re favorite groups and check on the new discussions.
And there they are, two of the people you’ve just accepted as connections are there, having posted several new "Discussions".
Only they aren’t really Discussions, are they? It’s just drive-by link Spam. And then you scroll down and see the exact same thing over and over again, sometimes by different marketing geniuses, or perhaps a different "Ad" altogether, but it’s really just the same type of garbage.
I know; it’s happened to me more times than I’d like to count and quite honestly I am fed up. I hope you are too.
11 Sure-fire ways to identify LinkedIn Spammers
- The Photo
Usually, there will be no photo at all; just the standard little grey guy image. Other times it’s of a famous celebrity from India (See #7). Or perhaps it’s a stock photo.
- The Name
Just use a discerning eye here. One notorious LinkedIn Spammer has as a photo of themselves a common Indian lady, but their name is "Timmy". Ding-ding. Alarm bells should be going off.
- The Connections
Everyone starts somewhere, so simply having very few connections doesn’t make them a Spam/Scammer. Neither does having too many. But just go through them a bit. One clue would be a large number of connections that all have questionable profiles.
- The Recommendations
The thought process behind this point is the same as above; don’t be too quick to judge. But do your due diligence.
- The Summary
Most often they will have no content in the Summary area at all. And if they do, it will be brief and generic in nature. Or perhaps it will be just a thinly-veiled advertisement.
- The Employer
Ring a bell? Oftentimes Spammers & Scammers will list the exact same fake company name across their many profiles. Do a search on Google; you may find that the company is legit – but they do not really work there. Or perhaps they do work there but the company engages in unethical business practices.
- The Location
59% of LinkedIn’s members are located outside of the USA. Unfortunately, however, the majority of LinkedIn Spammers & Scammers are from India. This is not to say all LinkedIn members from India are of this disreputable type; I’ve personally worked with many outstanding and reputable Indians. Just another indicator to be weighed with the others; for example, the location is Hyderabad, India, yet the photo looks like a Japanese model.
- The Activity
On the right sidebar of their profile, you should see a box showing their latest activity on LinkedIn. Take note – this is a HUGE indicator!
- The Websites
If they’re going to be Spamming & Scamming, this should be full of dubious links. Sometimes not, however, due to the fact that they’d like to be as deceptive as possible.
- The Specialties
Real people specialize in real things. Do these things make sense to you, and are they skills that they’d use at the job they currently have? Are they many different terms for multi-level marketing? Are they simply names of their product or service?
- The Interests
Real people have real interests. The idea here is the same as for their specialties; do they indicate a "real person" to you?
Again, use your common sense in applying these indicators. None of them alone should have you jumping at the "Flag" link. Instead, look at a combination of indicators and take note of how many bells go off in your mind.
I love LinkedIn. It launched way back in 2003, so it’s had time to pick up traction and become the world’s largest professional network on the Internet. But it’s also had time to attract the bad guys. And there are lots of them. Being a step ahead sure can’t hurt.
Taking back LinkedIn from the Spammers and Scammers
I’m a member of several groups. And lots of them are full of Spam and Scam. I do what I can – flagging and sending messages to the owners of the groups. However the owners are often too busy to properly moderate, and there are way too many bad guys with messages out there to waste my time on.
Luckily though, one owner did respond and actually added me as an Administrator of the group. I jumped at the opportunity and quickly did away with the vast amounts of Spam. I’m definitely much more active in the group now, knowing that we can actually have real discussions with real people.
But it’s not enough. We need everyone to do their part. Let’s work together. We may not be able to take back the Internet, but we can sure try to take back LinkedIn!
Oh, and if you’re curious about what group on LinkedIn I’m helping to moderate, it’s Global SEO Professionals.