3 Reasons LinkedIn Endorsements Suck

Chris Dessi
Chris Dessi CEO, Author, Television Commentator , Silverback Social

Posted on April 13th 2014

3 Reasons LinkedIn Endorsements Suck

Last summer I was lucky enough to be in San Francisco with my family celebrating my brother-in-law Michael’s wedding. It was perfect. We spent the weekend on the Russian River with friends and family. Lovely. When the wedding was over, my family spent a few more wonderful days exploring San Francisco. One morning over coffee, my new sister-in-law Laurie who had her laptop opened, turned to me and asked me:

“What do you think about Linkedin endorsements?”

My knee-jerk response was:

“They suck.”

She seemed relieved that I had said it, and we both went on a rant why we think they suck. I thought I’d share our thoughts with you because I think Laurie is super smart, and she and I can’t be the only ones who feel this way.

I’d like to start with the caveat that I think LinkedIn is amazing. I love it, really, I do. I’m not here to Linkedin bash. In fact, I think I’m doing the opposite. I’m a LinkedIn groupie that wants to get the word out to Linkedin that one of their features sucks and please kindly remove it so we can go about loving your platform again -thankyouverymuch.

I’m on the site daily, and I even pay for upgraded services. I use the platform to network, close deals, reconnect with former colleagues, pass and share information, engage in the social media community and learn.

Now – for the uninformed, endorsements are the poor man’s recommendation. They’re the more seamless and slicker younger brother. Giving someone an endorsement is simple and frictionless. Which at first blush may seem like a good thing in social media, but I think being so frictionless has added to why they suck. Because all someone has to do to endorse you is to click a button. Much like the “like” button on Facebook this is ubiquitous throughout Linkedin, but frankly I think it’s diluted the platform. Here’s why.

1. They’re Spammy.

I leave platforms when I feel spammed. This is not good for anyone, and they dilute the brand equity of LinkeIn. The manner in which Linkedin has chosen to make endorsements a ubiquitous part of your Linkedin experience is by getting as close to spamming as I’ve ever seen Linkedin! When you log in, the platform prompts you to endorse people you may have not have seen in years, and while at first I was intrigued, now I’m annoyed. I get it. You don’t have to prompt me to endorse people every single time I log in.

2. The more you get, the less impact they have.

Unlike real recommendations - endorsements have a “cap” meaning there is a certain number of endorsements that you can get before it begins to look like a huge Rubik’s cube of faces on your LinkedIn profile. Silly. Chris Dessi Linkedin Recommendations

3. See number 2.
At least five times a day I receive emails indicating that I’ve been endorsed on Linkedin. At first, I was intrigued by the service, and flattered that I was gettting so many endorsements.

Early on when endorsements were first released, I would dedicate time every morning seeing who I could give endorsements to – but now, because I know how spammy they are in promoting people to endorse others, I think nothing of getting an endorsement. I can almost see the person sitting there with their chin on their desk blindly clicking away endorsements until Linkedin serves them up another face from their networking past. Like the drones who pull on slot machines…clicking, clicking, clicking awaiting some unseen reward of reciprocity.

Maybe I’m just being a grumpy old man, but I have to admit that I think my very generous endorsements look completely silly on my profile, and seem like overkill.

I’ll end the way I began – saying I love Linkedin, and I use it daily, but I have to ask …

Am I the only one that would like to see them do away with endorsements?

Let me know what you think?

Am I missing the hidden power of the endorsement, or do you feel the same way I do?

Comment below and let me know!

Chris Dessi

Chris Dessi

CEO, Author, Television Commentator , Silverback Social

An award winning digital thinker, author, television & radio commentator, public speaker and educator, Chris Dessi is the CEO and Founder of Silverback Social. Silverback is the world's leading social media agency, enables top brands and advertisers, to connect with more than a billion customers through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, Youtube, and more.

Throughout his career in London and New York, Chris has worked with a wide array of businesses ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, as well as notable personalities, products and brands.

Chris’ savvy marketing acumen combined with his passion for psychology, sociology and cultural studies, all reside at the fulcrum of his unique manifesto; he believes that social media is much more of a spiritual awakening rather than a technological one. This revolutionary perspective has propelled his personality into the national media landscape. In addition to being a regular social media expert contributor on Fox Business' Shappard Smith Show, CNBC, Fox Evening News, Good Day New York, WPIX, and Fox Business’ Varney & Co., Chris has appeared on Inside Edition, The Steve Adubato Show, One to One, and has participated in radio segments on WOR’s The John Gambling Show in Manhattan, and WBAL’s Marybeth Marsden show in Baltimore.

Chris applied his fresh and innovative outlook on social media to the pages of his first book, “Your World is Exploding: How Social Media is Changing Everything and How You Need to Change With It,” which shot to #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in its first two weeks of publication.

As an educator, Chris recognizes that the manner in which we, as a culture, aggregate and disseminate information has changed, and he is devoted to sharing his effective techniques for mastering engagement in social media to the world. Chris has lectured on social media to sales executives of Fortune 200 companies and he consistently travels the country coaching college students how to leverage social media to benefit their personal brand message and their career.

In 2012, Chris was selected by the Business Council of Westchester’s 40 Under 40 for exemplifying leadership, foresight and a vision for the future of Westchester County, where he currently resides with his wife and two daughters.

Consistent with the passion he holds for his professional career is the devotion he has to his family. Having never been a runner, Chris trained to run the New York City Marathon last year to raise money for the ALS Association after his father was diagnosed with the disease. When the Marathon was cancelled after Sandy hit, Chris took it upon himself to run his own 26.2 mile marathon route in Westchester to honor his father.

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Posted on April 14th 2014 at 3:39AM

Hi Chris,

Great observations!

A few months back I blogged about the same topic and how I see it. I called them "(B)endorsements. This issue with endorsements used to be obsereved on Klout, as well. I keep on receiving recognition from people I have never worked with and just because I blog about certain topics, it does not mean that I deserve to be endorsed. In fact, I could be easily wrong. ;)

Endorsements have inherited the same social user behavior pattern as we observe on Twitter and Facebook - you RT me, I RT you; you Like my stuff, I like your stuff; and so on. I belive that this is just watering down the knowledge, experience and expertise of an individual. Yes, one has the choice to accept endorsement or not. But how many users observe social media profile hygene and enough selfcriticism to stay away for pure flattery?  

Posted on April 14th 2014 at 8:14AM

Hi Chris:

I could not agree more. LinkedIn should get rid off the endorsement. I don't think they help in any way and it is annoying.

Ruth Lever Kidson
Posted on April 18th 2014 at 9:16AM

I agree entirely.  Endorsements are an absolute nonsense.  I have been endorsed for skills that not only do I not have but I don't even know what the term means!

Posted on April 22nd 2014 at 11:19AM

I have to disagree somewhat.  

I do not think it's the best tool to measure your professional qualifications, but I do think it's helpful.

Think of the endorsements as a horizontal bar graph.  We may all get the occasional "outlier" endorsement of a service we personally don't think we qualify at being skilled in but, overall the endorsements do sort themselves out showing each user what their 3-5 best skill sets are as recognized by the LinkedIn community.

If I wanted to follow social media experts for best practices, I would look for users who have a lot of endorsements in Social Media.  If I wanted to hire a social media expert, I would review their recommendations.