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I was beyond dismayed to receive an email this morning from LinkedIn, indicating that they are retiring their (in my opinion) best feature: LinkedIn Answers.

LinkedIn Answers is (was) a Quora-type question and answer forum, where business people could ask for advice in a variety of topical categories. In turn, professionals could answer questions in their area of expertise, which in my experience, was THE best lead-generating activity one could do on LinkedIn.

Why LinkedIn Answers was the Best

LinkedIn Answers was better than any question and answer forum on the web for several reasons:

1) Credibility: Nowhere else on the web can you get an answer to a question and immediately click through to review the person’s entire professional history. This provided an instantaneous and thorough way to evaluate the credibility of the advice given.

LinkedIn Answers also helped professionals add credibility to their LinkedIn profiles. The act of answering a question generated an activity item on one’s profile, which also showed up in the news feed of their connections. Additionally, after answering enough questions in a category, one could earn “Expert” status and be featured on the Answers homepage and in those categories.

2) Focus: The questions and answers being traded on LinkedIn Answers were about business. Although other question and answer sites have categories for business, there are none that are as business-focused and as widely used by business professionals in the world. Because of LinkedIn’s enormous worldwide presence, one could find an expert to answer even the most obscure/niche business questions through LinkedIn Answers.

3) Organization: Today’s LinkedIn email suggests asking questions in groups and via polls. This is highly ineffective for two reasons. First, groups are incredibly noisy places where people constantly try to promote themselves. In my experience, very little “real” discussion occurs in groups. Secondly, Polls have no categorization and are only viewed by connections. In LinkedIn Answers, I could ask my question in a specific category and get an answer from an expert in that category, regardless of whether I was connected to them or not.

4) Lead Generation: In the experience of my colleagues, clients, and myself, LinkedIn Answers was hands-down THE best lead generation tool on the site – perhaps even on the entire web. The psychological concept of reciprocity never failed me when I was answering questions on LinkedIn Answers. If I took the time to give a very thorough and helpful answer, the asker would nearly always write me back a personal message of thanks, and would often either ask to have a further discussion (hello, LEAD!), connect with me and follow me elsewhere (increasing my exposure to their network), and/or share my content with others (because it helped them so much). The “pay it forward” and “give to get” concepts that go along with answering questions on LinkedIn Answers never failed to get me leads and enhance my business presence on the web.

Irreplaceable Value

Where can I go for all of that now? Nowhere.

How LinkedIn Killed its Best Feature

LinkedIn greatly diminished the potential of its Answers feature by hiding it. It didn’t even have it’s own menu item in the site’s main navigation. One had to click on the “More” menu item at the far right to find it.

I kid you not, just last night I gave a presentation about LinkedIn to 27 business professionals, of whom nearly all were members of LinkedIn. When I asked who had heard of LinkedIn Answers, not a single hand went up. I then proceeded to tell them about the feature and show them examples of how it had produced leads for me. Many were beyond excited to try it.

I now have to message them all and tell them that LinkedIn decided to remove this incredibly valuable lead-generating tool, and that there is nothing on the web as nearly as relevant for business people as this forum was.

What Great Feature will LinkedIn Kill Next?

First they nixed the Events feature (which was GREAT for driving business people to events like seminars and webinars), and now they killed their best lead-generator.

What feature do you think they will remove next?

 

The original post, “LinkedIn Removes its Best Feature” by Pam Aungst was originally published on pamannmarketing.com

Original Article

 

Pam Aungst

Pam Aungst

Owner / Consultant at Pam Ann Marketing
Pam Aungst, owner and head consultant of Pam Ann Marketing, has been creating websites since 1997 and working in the field of internet marketing and e-commerce since 2005. She has an M.B.A. in Marketing and several Internet Marketing related certificates. Pam specializes in a comprehensive approach to SEO that mixes traditional optimization with content marketing and social media strategies. She is often a guest speaker on webinars and in "real life" seminars.
Pam Aungst
Pam Aungst
Bob

I agree that LinkedIn killed a great feature. At one point I was very active on Answers; it made being LinkedIn fun. Their business plan has slowly been eliminating some of the features I used most.

January 18, 2013, 5:57 AM

I shared the same feelings yesterday on Twitter. An unbelievable shame. The worst part is they say we can continue with our group discussions. The group feature is getting more invaluable every single day with the amount of self-promotion. Each group I’m in has no actual discussion. It’s a shame! In fact, my only source of quality discussion was via LinkedIn Answers. Such a shame…

January 18, 2013, 9:56 AM

Unbelieveable decision. Wish I had a ticket to the party that’s going on at Quora’s HQ today!

January 18, 2013, 10:15 AM
dwaynekilbourne

Totally agree!!

January 19, 2013, 10:18 AM
dwaynekilbourne

Surprised that they did that… SMH

January 19, 2013, 10:18 AM

Wow, Just Wow, I got a ton of referrals from LI and a lot were generated from answers. Even asking questions was helpful.I agree, very little useful information gets shared in groups. People don’t seem to have the time to moderate and it kind of de-evolves into a self-promotion free for all. *sigh*

January 19, 2013, 1:19 PM

I haven’t got a handle on their broader strategy yet, they seem to be making some very odd moves. Seems like they are moving towards a publishing oriented platform. I guess only time will tell.

January 19, 2013, 1:51 PM
jimdougherty

Thanks Kittie! It’s a curious strategy for sure, especially given people’s affection for it!

January 21, 2013, 8:03 PM
jimdougherty

Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Susan. It’s such an odd strategy – I’d be curious to understand how much that feature cost LI – it has to be a drop in the bucket…

January 21, 2013, 8:06 PM
jimdougherty

Great insight, Guy. Who benefits from this more than Quora?

January 21, 2013, 8:08 PM
jimdougherty

Totally agree Yfran – thanks so much for commenting!

January 21, 2013, 8:08 PM
jimdougherty

Thanks Bob – great insight! It’s so odd for a profitable business to be shedding popular features like that. It’s quite unfortunate!

January 21, 2013, 8:10 PM

Share your thoughts.