We all knew that Linkedin was one of the fastest growing social networking sites in the world. Both by their total number of members and their traffic/Alexa rank. In fact in the last 3 months they are the 15th most visited site http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/linkedin.com. I recently saw a statistic that they are a site that 91% of all recruiters/human resources professionals use on a weekly basis. To put this into perspective, the 2nd most visited site in the world is Facebook and Twitter is 10th http://www.alexa.com/topsites
What this means is that Linkedin is growing at an awesome rate. They have a ton of members, services and are ready to start capitalizing on the "addiction" that we all have to their site. We all have our own motivations to go there, but at some level it is for leads. I will leave the definition of what you refer to as a lead up to you.
I recently saw the movie The Social Network and am sort of a tech geek so I felt the need to see it a second time. There is a part in the movie that Mark Zuckerberg talks about not wanting to "monatize" the site with silly Mountain Dew ads. He said this because Facebook has something "cool" right now. That dialogue intrigued me because up until November when Linkedin shut down access to being able to see your 3rd level connections for free, they too were cool. The site was free and as long as you grew your network you could have a huge level of access to the people on Linkedin.
This leads me to the point. Linkedin no longer allows you to view your 3rd level connections in a given search. You now only see first name and the first initial of their last name. So instead of Mark Truchan, I would see Mark T. Why is this so important? If I have 500 direct connections on Linkedin that would be my 1st level of connections. If my 500 connections each had 500 connections, you would have 250,000 2nd level connections. Last, if those 250,000 people had 60 people on average they are connected to, you would have 15,000,000 people in your network. Well you just lost the ability to see 14.75 million people in your network as a whole.
Of course you can pay to regain access to see these people and Linkedin is betting that you will. The other alternative is to send hundreds of messages out to people to connect with you on Linkedin, hoping they don't say they, "don't know you." In fact if 5 people do that, you lose your ability to connect to people. This is so time consuming and frankly not fun to have to come up with an excuse/lie to say you know someone.
I am sure this is news to some of you and this is something you may have grown to love/hate or live with for others. Please letme know your thoughts. I am very interested in listening to what others have to say.