NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Hot IPO or not, social networking service LinkedIn is no longer the go-to small-business social media weapon of choice.LinkedIn used to be the logical launchpad for small businesses trying to get right with social media. Ever since it began in 2002, the notion of a trusted network was just the discipline knucklehead entrepreneurs needed to get online. It forced us all to inventory our contacts, rate our leads, reach out and confirm the status of our potential sources of revenue and in general benefit from the give and take of an online, professional social life.
|LinkedIn is no longer the logical launchpad for small businesses trying to get right with social media.|
The biggest problem I have with LinkedIn today is the overall degradation in the quality of information on the service. Not only is full contact information withheld from the free product, but even in the pay version I am seeing that key decision-makers have long removed their profiles due to barrage of meaningless propositions. I now have to verify every lead I get from LinkedIn with either search engine contact info, social content from, say, Facebook or Twitter, or a good old-fashioned phone referral. Either way, the days of blithely paying up for full access to LinkedIn, getting a contact, sending a pitch message and expecting a response are over. New services are not worth the money -- or the hassle.
LinkedIn seems to be aware it is no longer delivering the social-media, small-business goods and, to make up for it, has been rolling out product after product that appears to extend the site's value -- but really doesn't. Most of these services are clumsy, hard to use and do not work as well as similar, purpose-built services found elsewhere online. The top LinkedIn duds are Answers, Projects and Teamspaces, and My Travel. And some services are simply bizarre: LinkedIn Skills? Are you kidding me!?