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An Open Letter to LinkedIn: Please Stop the Group Spam

Published: December 22, 2008

Author: David Rodnitzky

Every day I check the Online Lead Gen group I created on LinkedIn. I look at the messages posted on the discussion board and delete questionable posts and remove blatant spammers from the group. The result (I think) is that the discussion board is relevant and valuable to members and usage seems to be increasing every week.
It appears, however, that most other LinkedIn group discussion boards are completely unmoderated. The result is a classic “tragedy of the commons” scenario, where spammers quickly take over the board and drive away anyone who might actually contribute value to the group. To give you an example of the absolute silliness of some of the postings on other sites, here are a few recent ones from the “Online Advertising Professionals” group (these are the headlines only – I’ll leave it to you to imagine the highly relevant content inside):

Isn’t there a need to join and benefit from the Linked In Group, “Value for Money Deals for ethnic Indians living in United States of America”?

National Parks Tips and Tricks
Domain name for sale www.barackobama1stblackpresident.com
Press Release: Farm Boy Records
Here is a online marketing site that allows you free advertising to over 200,000 members worldwide. My sales shot up by over 40 percent and it’s run by BT, read my story. [Note: this post has been published more than 40 times in less than two weeks . . .]

This is the kind of stuff that dooms public forums. I guess you could say it is a good problem for LinkedIn to have – clearly there are thousands of people who think that there is enough traffic on these discussion boards to justify spending time spamming them – but if it isn’t fixed soon, I fear that the entire discussion board concept on LinkedIn is in jeopardy.
Interestingly, in that same Online Advertising Professionals group, the #2 most commented-upon discussion post is this: Who started this group?…is there anyway to minimize the info-mercials on this discussion group? Where’s the value?”

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