linkedin discussion groups

LinkedIn Discussion Groups & Spam

Am I the only one that notices the almost overwhelming amount of spam and self promotion on LinkedIn Discussion Groups?

Sure, I know Linked In is a business network where people connect with each other with the hopes of cultivating relationships that turn into business, jobs or to build a professional network.  Many people also use it to find professionals that offer needed services or advice.

However, LinkedIn discussion groups, you know…where people start threads asking for help, advice or suggestions about a particular area of business… are ridiculously out of control with spam and self promotion, making them pretty much useless as a place to get any actual advice.

And don’t even get me started on the content dumping. The constant barrage of the same articles over and over again about someone’s marketing “system”, making money from home, and MLM scams.

You have to wonder if everyone on LinkedIn all purchased the same DVD box set from some old imprisoned Marketing “guru” from the 90’s. One that tells them that no matter the conversation, insure that every answer you give includes a boilerplate statement of self promotion about your business:

“Yes [insert OP’s name here] you are correct. [Insert general, non-descriptive statement about business]. Take our businesss for instance, we [insert long boilerplate self promotion that has nothing to do with the discussion].  If you have any questions feel free to contact me at [free email address] and I’ll help you out”

Can you imagine what it would look like if well known, credible, successful brands behaved this way?


Q: “Can anyone give suggestions on any low cost marketing ideas that has worked for them? “

A: “Yes [insert OP’s name], you are correct that marketing your business can be confusing and at times expensive. Take our business for instance, we provide a tasty beverage for business owners that adds life to all of your marketing decisions. It is available at every grocery outlet in single cans and bottles, 6 packs, 12 packs and cases. It is also a popular mixer with rum and other alcoholic beverages. I’d be more than happy to give you a free  assessment of your marketing needs and determine what flavor of our soft drink is best for you as a refreshing alternative.

Feel free to contact me at [free email address] if you have any questions, or call me [insert phone number]
*Or call my sister and have my momma page me [insert pager number].
*And check out my crappy website [insert URL].
*And look! I’m on Facebook [insert profile links]. “

You have to ask yourself, “How credible can this person be if they are reduced to spamming their business everywhere to troll for customers?”.

Sadly, this is what LinkedIn Groups has become.  A “look at me” shouting board where no actual discussions can take place. Each thread is a contest to see how many creative ways each participant can spam their business. It’s common for threads to continue on with one self promotion after another for days or weeks after the OP has stopped responding.

It’s not LinkedIn’s fault

I don’t  blame LinkedIn, I mean there’s not much they can do about it. After all, we are talking about adults and professionals. Praise LinkedIn for offering such a network where legitimate business professionals can interact and giving people the freedom to start discussions. I blame today’s pedestrian understanding that spamming your business everywhere you can is what counts as marketing and promotion these days.

Group moderators and discussion starters do little to police their own conversations to keep spam to a minimum, and usually get so overwhelmed with the amount of self promotion that they just walk away, leaving the flood gates open so that each thread just turns into one long classified ad of service providers who lack the selflessness actually offer any help that doesn’t include them, and too paranoid that you don’t have the ability to just click their name and see their profile and contact info…the entire premise of the site in the first place. “Let me spam it here just in case you aren’t sure where to find my information”.

Sadly, it’s just a comical affirmation that many business owners have not matured away from thinking that the web is worthless unless there is instant gratification. That every opportunity to be seen (no matter how you do it) means more chances of someone being dumb enough to look past your aggressive and out of place self promotion and contact you. Even more rediculous, is that many who troll this way would also have you believe that they are experts in their field. And why is it always the Marketing “experts”?   I ask you, would a well respected “expert” be wasting time spamming  everyone that they are an “expert”?

Most of us know better

For those of us that have been around awhile, we wouldn’t be caught dead spamming our email address and business URL.  We know that this is a flawed strategy that usually ruins your credibility, and attracts the wrong kind of clientele…hustlers, and price shoppers who smell desperation a mile away. Any contacts are not because they were so impressed with your boisterous interruption  techniques, they are contacting you because they see a noob who they can exploit, or they themselves are noobs who don’t know any better and are easily impressed by people who speak the loudest..regardless of what they are saying.

It can be disheartening for business owners looking for online outlets to have any meaningful discussions about anything. It’s another reminder that many think Social Media and Networking  is  a place to shout “Look at me”, and not as a place to actually engage, communicate and build meaningful interactions with people that can lead to beneficial business relationships. There are good people and some good advice on LinkedIn. Unfortunately,you have to wade through all of the BS that outnumbers it, to find it.

Like I always say, “Social Networking would be great if it wasn’t for the people”.

One thing is for sure, Linked In Discussion Groups are a text book guide for “How not to ruin your business’ credibility and look like a desperate schmuck online”.  And if nothing else, it’s a good drinking game:
Linked In Drinking Game

Bonus: The Linked In Drinking Game

Can be played anywhere where there is an internet connection and at least one web enabled device. Download the LinkedIn mobile app here to play on the go:

Players: 2 or more [21 and over].
Rules: Each player takes turns in rotation.

  • Join a few discussion groups
  • Player whose turn it is picks any discussion thread at random, preferably one where someone is asking a for help with something and has a few responses.
  • Without looking , player guesses how many responses it takes before someone spams their business.
  • The higher your guess, if correct, the more your opponents will have to drink.
  • If you are wrong, then you have to drink the number that you are off.
  • If the first response is spam or self promotion, EVERYONE drinks.

*If you guess that there will be 3 responses before someone spams or self promotes, and someone spams in 2, then you drink 1 time.
*If you guess 3, and no one spams or self promotes for 5 responses, then you drink 2 times.
*If you your guess is dead on, your opponents drink 3 times.

Rule: Dropping an email address or phone number counts as spam or self promotion.

Great for office parties!