We all get spam, I guess it's just one of those things we have to put up with as we get more active and become more visible on the Internet, LinkedIn is not immune to spammers and I often receive direct messages from people offering me various products and services. Irritating though it is I tend to view these messages as mildly irritating distractions from the ill-informed. What really annoys me is when I receive Spam from people who have not even got the guts to reveal who they really are!
A Tale of Two F's and a Bunny!
This particular example happened in October when I received the message below;
this is a message sent directly to me from someone whom I share a group with and not a connection. What got me immediately suspicious was that the individual had spelt her name in a rather unusual way, I figured it was possible to spell Jennifer with two f's, if somewhat unusual but you will note (below) that the message is signed from 'Jennifer' spelt correctly!
If you had an unusual spelling of a name, surely the last thing you are going to do is make an error and spell it the normal way in a message!
This seemed very suspicious to me so I got interested and investigated further. The message from Jennifer included a link promoting a webinar, that link was as follows;
At this point it is worth mentioning that Andy Whitehead may have simply outsourced the promotion of his webinar and may not be aware of the unethical methodology employed by his service provider.
I have investigated 'Jenniffer' in some detail and can find no trace of anyone of this name on the internet. I have performed an image search and her profile picture appears to be unique as well (the quality of the photo is not great so I am betting that it is a tight crop of a group picture)
She was (her profile has strangely disappeared recently) a second tier connection via two people so I contacted both of them and asked if they knew her.....neither did!
Looking further at her profile her work experience includes such reputable companies such as Kangick, Asmadick and Nagran!!
Of course none of these companies could be traced.
So I looked up her education section and Brandman University does exist but when I contacted them they were unable to confirm whether Jenniffer or Jennifer had been a student there.
I also replied to the message and asked Jennifffer (oops did I add an extra f there?!) to call me to discuss this in more detail......I sat by my phone patiently waiting but alas, she didn't call!
I can only assume that 'Jenniffer' is a fake.
If I am wrong Jenniffer and you are reading this then please drop me a line and I will be delighted to correct this post, I would hate to accuse someone who is innocent of such deplorable tactics.
I was about to give up on my quest to find Jenniffer (I was starting to dream about her by this time!) when I received another message, this time from Bunny......no this wasn't part of my dream where I suddenly invented fluffy animals sending me messages! This was from another LinkedIn user called Bunny Shady.
Apparently Ms Shady (the irony was not lost on me!) and I also share a group. This message made it clear that Bunny was not selling me anything but she would appreciate a 'testimonia' from me if I felt the webinar advanced my skills.....thats not typing or spelling skills then Bunny!
This also appears to be from a fake profile and also by coincidence, appears to be promoting the same webinar!
Note the linkedrecruitmentblueprint.com/webinar link which is exactly the same as the one in Jenniffer's email. Maybe they are friends or associates!
Bunny works at a company called Jakatee.....you must know them.......surely....OK maybe not!
Bunny has since disappeared from LinkedIn.
I'm sure many of us have made mistakes when promoting our products and services online, I have certainly been guilty of things I am not too proud of in the past but I have always made these mistakes operating under my own profile.
LinkedIn is a live and thriving network of (mostly) real people, many offering their products and services - if they act in a poor manner they will be judged accordingly and if they do things well they will equally be judged appropriately.
Making mistakes such as spamming can be forgiven if the majority of what we do is of a higher quality and we are seen to learn our lessons.
This is why I cannot stand it when people do not have the guts to be authentic and open and operate under their own profile and name.
Creating fake profiles and spamming is the worst kind of behaviour on LinkedIn and this is why I am exposing these people.
LinkedIn will be a better and more productive place for us all if we report these practices, I reported Jenniffer and Bunny to LinkedIn although I think they had already deleted their profiles by then.
What do you think? Am I being too harsh or does this kind of practice annoy you as well?