Important Changes to LinkedIn

I am sat at my desk, it is very late on the evening of Tuesday 15th March. I have been in a workshop all day today and this was following a long weekend break with friends so this is the first time I have sat at my desk since Thursday night. All I can say is "Thank God I have so many observant LinkedIn Connections and Twitter followers" It seems that while I was away LinkedIn have been busy changing things and these loyal supporters have taken the time and trouble to let me know before I find myself delivering a workshop tomorrow morning with incorrect information!

I suspect things things will become clearer over the coming week but as of today these are the changes you need to know about;

Group messages are no longer possible!

Previously as a free user it was possible to send a direct message to anyone you share a group with at no cost. This was a great feature allowing us to engage with someone prior to an invitation (something I always recommend).

Now our only option is to send an Inmail at the cost of $10 each or upgrade our account (starting at $25 a month).

I assume they have felt forced to do this because users have been abusing this feature by sending lots of spam. As usual the idiotic minority have spoilt something which was valued by the responsible majority!

The good news is that we can still see a 3rd tier as before (no surname) so visibility is not affected.

I have to say this change (whilst frustrating) is not a surprise really.

Invitations are restricted to 2nd tier connections for free users.

This is complicated so please bear with me.......

Here is what I can figure out so far;

On my Pro account I am able to invite 2nd or 3rd tier connections.

On a free account I found that  3rd tier connections were not possible to invite (see below)

There appears to be no new setting to state you do not want to accept invitations from 3rd tier.

There is a way around this but I don't think it would be wise to post that here.....if you know what I mean!

Without any official word from LinkedIn on this we can only speculate but it seems that they have decided to seriously restrict who we can connect with. I also expect this to be related to spam problems - I have been concerned for a while that since the 'I don't know' rejection to an invitation became a (largely unused) secondary option, that spammers would see this as an opportunity to use an invitation as a free message.

My only other guess is that due to a slight redesign (making the invitation link a big yellow button) a glitch has occurred and all will be back to normal soon..... unlikely but lets hope so!

I am yet to fully evaluate the likely outcome of these changes - good or bad I will make my views clear once I have had time to see the effect.

Please feel free to comment by telling us who you can (or cannot) invite now. It will be interesting to see how the results differ for different upgrade levels i.e. Can you still invite 3rd tier on a Business account ($24.99 a month)?