How many LinkedIn endorsements have you received in the past month?
Brad Warthen of ADCO says he’s received 41, and we believe him, partly because he has an honest face, but also because he’s very close to the person writing this post.
Asked to say just how valuable these endorsements are to him, on a scale from one to 10, he said, “I hesitate to say zero, because some of these things were from friends of mine, and I know they meant well. But otherwise, that would be my answer — zero.”
He is far from alone in this assessment.
Wrote Matt Asay at ReadWrite:
LinkedIn Endorsements may be the fastest-growing new product launch in the history of LinkedIn, but it is also arguably the most pointless. Launched as a lightweight way to recommend colleagues so as to boost their resumes, LinkedIn Endorsements have become useless noise on an otherwise useful service.
Yet LinkedIn shows no signs of abandoning Endorsements.
In fact, on a recent earnings call, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner trumpeted the new product hitting 1 billion Endorsements in just under five months. He called out how the service has done a “nice job … of creating the right kind of viral loops,” bringing people back to the site that otherwise might use LinkedIn as a site to use when actively looking for a job every few years. With this and LinkedIn’s Influencers product, which is turning LinkedIn into a destination site for constantly updated content, the company appears to be succeeding in generating ongoing interest in using the site, and not merely when people need to polish their resumes for a job search.
The problem with Endorsements, however, is that they generate mindless clicks with no real value to the person endorsing someone else, or the person receiving [sic] the endorsement….
And yes, that was the inspiration for the video clip above.
Asay is not just some guy with an opinion; he’s a hiring manager who uses LinkedIn to help him assess potential employees. But the endorsement feature doesn’t help him at all with that:
As a hiring manager, I’m going to give exactly ZERO weight to this stockpile of “endorsements,” because they effectively amount to a Facebook “Like.” They’re far too easily given, and don’t really tell me what the person being endorsed has done to merit the Endorsement…
Meanwhile, over at Gigaom, Eliza Kern notes:
Last week I logged into LinkedIn and saw that one of my relatives had endorsed me for blogging. I like my relative a lot. But he’s not a tech blogger, and he’s not a colleague of mine at GigaOM either. In fact, we’ve never even worked together. I assumed he endorsed me because he’d read some of my articles, or he just wanted to be nice. But really, I had no idea why I got the endorsement…
Indeed, as she further observes, “Mothers-in-law, in particular, seemed to be avid endorsers, from my very limited survey.”
Hey, if you can get your mother-in-law to give you any sort of approval, that’s a good thing. But the value of that to professional contacts seems doubtful.
We’d like to know what you think. Please chime in…