If you have a LinkedIn account i guess you have visited the Answer section in
hope to get some answers to some questions and if you have yet you better do it now before 31st this January.
Officially LinkedIn Answers is going to retire, and all efforts in its regard will be focused on the development of new and more engaging ways to share and discuss professional topics a cross LinkedIn. Already users have received emails to this effect even though there’s little on LinkedIn’s official blog about the move.
As far as i can see this appears as LinkedIn will be using this change to drive more engagement around groups and pages, but i doubt if this is a good idea, considering that groups and pages can real spam emails.
LinkedIn Answers in the past has been the subject of scorn due to the high levels of spam found on the forums (groups and pages). A number of LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) members spend hours posting Spam links and referring their fairly useless connections as ‘experts on the subject’ there.
As all this is visible, its bound to put off newbies to LinkedIn and if the company is serious about growing users then this makes sense but from user point of view (mine) it will not work.
I have used LinkedIn answers in the past and i have always got good practical, sensible responses and advice from there.
LinkedIn suggests that users can still post questions in groups and via status updates, but as already established groups are home to spam. I am currently engaged in Six groups, and every day I spend time clearing out notices for what and what not articles and advice from wherever.
And most times I can’t keep up with the group posts plus once groups reach a certain size it becomes impossible to even follow any more. Unlike in Answers, this is flat-out spam which promises you cheap things expensively rather the person who says ‘See my blog post on this’. Even both are annoying but only one of these two is generated automatically and repeated thousands of times.
While it seems like LinkedIn is making a positive move to clear out spam, it’s also actually restricting the ways in which users can connect with each other by removing public answers. Of course you can still post an update to your profile or company page, but how many people outside of your existing network will actually see it? We can’t all feature in the news section.
And the only solution available to control the spam is become a premium member, get extra in mails and access to those you couldn’t connect with before, its a smart move by LinkedIn to drive paid registration but may restrict growth as many of us are unwilling to make the switch.
Meanwhile those who have been using answers to drive consultancy business will need to join popular groups and drive their spam levels even higher.
Yes there are alternatives, Quora remains excellent in general, while newcomers like Google+ communities may be an alternative, but again, we’re still going to see spam there, and for companies and individuals with a B2B focus in particular, it’s going to be hard to create the kind of value that answers has provided.
I’m a good supporter of Answers, so I may well be biased on this – has anyone else created real value from answers, or will you be glad to see the back of them? As always, please let me know in the comments…