In yet another move by LinkedIn to create a more engaging user experience, the company has decided to penalize any users of the InMail feature that send mail that is irrelevant to the recipient. As LinkedIn cannot read the messages, it had to formulate a way to determine which messages are more likely irrelevant – namely those which receive no replies. LinkedIn used to offer a “guaranteed reply” for its InMail. If the message recipient failed to reply, your account was credited back. In a complete reversal, LinkedIn has now decided those InMail messages which receive no reply are likely to be irrelevant. InMail credits are now returned when your message IS replied to. They are not returned when your message goes unanswered -- the complete opposite of its past policy.
As social media networks have continued to grow and compete for users, LinkedIn has added features that make it, for lack of a better analogy, more Facebook-like. It encourages bloggers to publish within the LinkedIn platform, versus sharing content from outside. It nurtures social engagement through its own newsfeed-like feature and within groups. Now it is seeking to eliminate what it has essentially deemed spam. Make no mistake, LinkedIn will still allow anyone to purchase InMail credits – it still wants all of the money it can get. Now, however, the new policy will perhaps force those wishing to send messages to take care to better optimize each message for the recipient. Or they will pay for it – literally.
It should certainly motivate senders to give more thought about what message they are sending, and whether the recipient would be interested in it.