I will warn you, this is not a particularly interesting article — I just needed a place to record the results of some detective work.
I am a member of a number of “Groups” on “Linked-In”, one if particular: Business Process Management Professionals Group. I will be leaving that group unless something can be done about a particular type of spam. There are these email notices that get sent about interesting articles that members link to. But there is a problem. Here is a screen shot:
What you are seeing above is four nearly identical links to a site called “Tickled by Life”, posted by four seemingly different people, but with the same unimaginative comment. Who are these people?
shipra gupta – made comment on Aug 20 at 6:53am; claims the title of “Independent Computer Software Professional”, has no history, has five connections, and is a member of 14 groups.
robin corbin – made comment on Aug 20 at 6:40am; claims the title “Independent Computer Software Professional”, has no job history, no connections, and is a member of 15 groups.
prashant gaur – made comment on Aug 20 at 6:18am; claims the title “Independent Computer Software Professional”, has no job history, no connections, and is a member of 17 groups.
Anthony Jude – made comment on Aug 20 at 6:06am; claims the title “Tickler at Tickled By Life”, has no job history, one connection, and is a member of 11 groups.
I expect this last title is the only correct one, only “Tickler” should be “Spammer”.
I don’t have any particular problem with the site — some of the articles are pretty interesting — but they have nothing to do with “BPM Professionals” which is why I joined that group. I expect to get information relevant to BPM Professionals.
What we have instead is a flagrant attempt to increase the value of a site by making many many links to it, on many Linked in groups. The above posts are made dishonestly by creating fake accounts, and making it look like the links to articles come from independent people, when in fact they are all from the same person/team. The addition of these links causes me to get email i.e. real spam.
What can be done? – Clearly a Linked-In group needs to be policed in order to be valuable. There needs to be someone who actively kicks out people who join purposely for an agenda which has nothing to do with the goals of the group. Whoever runs the group has to balance the desire for a large group, with the desire for a quality group.
A simple test for membership is to check the history on the person asking to join, and see if it matches up with real life. This is work, to be sure, but like all things the value comes only from real work.
And where does this end up? Groups that are very hard to join, that screen carefullly the members to be sure that they are all who they say they are, and are most likely to not abuse the membership. Groups will get more exclusive, and the best groups will be very hard to get into — and the ones that are easy to get into I don’t want to be a member of.
Paraphrasing the old adage from Groucho Marx: “I don’t care to join a Linked-In Group that’s prepared to have me as a member.”