Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Problem with LinkedIn Account

A year and a half ago I joined LinkedIn, one of the largest and most respected online professional networks. After joining, I accumulated a valuable network of friends and colleagues. I wrote recommendations for several LinkedIn members, and some wrote recommendations for me. (FYI, recommendations are like gold in the LinkedIn community where people look at your profile to get a sense of who you are, professionally and personally.)

In several Job Lounge posts, I've referenced LinkedIn as a worthwhile social/professional network that can help job seekers tremendously. Used wisely (i.e., if you build a network of only contacts you know and trust), a job seeker's LinkedIn account can be priceless for getting good career information and referrals.

About six weeks ago, my LinkedIn account suddenly disappeared. Poof!.. completely wiped out of the system with no evidence that it had ever existed. I contacted LinkedIn support but didn't get an answer. I'm certain I didn't violate any LinkedIn policies and to this day I don't understand why I was dumped.

Reluctantly, I rejoined LinkedIn, rewrote my profile, and started inviting all the contacts I could remember to rejoin my network. It was no small job and it was quite annoying. Even worse: I lost all the recommendations that had been written for me; and all the recommendations I had written for other LinkedIn members disappeared from their profiles.

I recently contacted LinkedIn again to see if there is a way to backup my new account so this sort of thing doesn't happened again. Here was the customer support response:
At this time we do not have a recommended back up system for your account. Once something has been deleted there is not a back up at this time to recover any information. ...One thing you can do is copy your profile information and save it as a word document so that you will always have it on your computer.

Although I appreciate getting a response from customer service, it really doesn't help. Rewriting the profile was the least of my headaches. Rebuilding the network, and rewriting and requesting new recommendations was a real pain.

Despite this fiasco, I still recommend LinkedIn highly. It's an invaluable online networking tool. I haven't heard of anyone else having a negative experience so I assume my problem was simply a technical glitch that I happen to get caught in. But just in case I get caught in that glitch again, here's what I've come up with as a makeshift backup system:
- I created an email group for my LinkedIn contacts. This email group is part of my email system (which happens to be AOL) and is independent of LinkedIn. If I get booted from LinkedIn again, I'll contact my network with one group email instead of browsing my address book trying to remember who's a LinkedIn member.

- On my hard drive I have an MS Word document in which I copy and paste my profile entries, recommendations I receive, and ones I write for others.

Getting LinkedIn is easy. Staying LinkedIn seems to be the tricky part for me.

5 comments:

Susan Ireland said...

This morning I got the following email from LinkedIn customer support. Is it just a coincidence that I got it one day after writing this post?

Dear Susan,
I am writing to you in response to some miscommunication between you and another one of our customer support representatives. We can actually re-activate your old account under "sireland1@aol.com" and I would be more than happy to do so for you.

What happened to your account is this: every month we receive a list of accounts which have suspicious or inappropriate names. Based on certain criteria we close these accounts to help keep the integrity of the database clean. Your account appeared on this list due to the fact that your e-mail address appeared in your name field. It is a privacy violation to do so, however, this is hardly criteria for an account to be closed. One of our newer representatives mistakenly closed the account and this is why no notification was sent out.
___________
The error the customer service rep is referring to is this: I created my account with the name "Susan Ireland sireland1@aol.com" instead of just "Susan Ireland".

I hope this helps someone else avoid such a problem!
Susan

Susan Ireland said...

before getting the response from the LinkedIn customer service rep, which I mentioned in the last comment, I asked Jason Alba of jibberjobber.com about my LinkedIn situation.

Jason responded with a post on his blog that gives two must-do LinkedIn recommendations for backing up your LinkedIn account. Check it out at http://www.jibberjobber.com/blog/2008/07/17/linkedin-maintenance-do-this-right-now-or-else/

Thank you, Jason!

Prem said...

Thanks a lot..very informative and useful..easy to follow and safe to try...which I did..

John said...

Hi Susan,

Wow, frightening.

Just read your blog.

Not very professional from a 'professional' network.

I too am on Linkedin and this is a worry.

Glad you got sorted.

John
http://www.jobs2ireland.com

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan, I had the same thing happen to me this morning. It is quite frustrating. I hope mine is solved so I won't have to redo.

Sandy