LockedIn LinkedIn Premium: a US$24.95 rip-off

by Lee Hopkins on December 19, 2009 · 24 comments

in ethics,marketing,pr,tools


My profile has been viewed by 11 people in the last 30 days, it seems. At least, so says LinkedIn. Or should it be LockedIn

“I never used to be able to see who had searched on me, so purchasing the Premium version of LinkedIn for a month would open a door otherwise closed!” Cool!!

In the email that congratulated me on taking out Premium membership I was promised the following perks:

As a premium subscriber, you get these perks:

  1. InMail™ messages to get the conversation started. [snip]
  2. View the full profiles of all LinkedIn members. [snip]
  3. Find the right people, faster. [snip]
  4. Save and organize new contacts into folders of your choice. [snip]
  5. See who’s viewed your profile. Get more information on who’s interested in you from customers, to suppliers, to recruiters and more.

The button says, "Who's Viewed My Profile" and a pair of binocularsNote that: “See who’s viewed your profile”. There’s even a button on the page about Premium member benefits.

All of which would lead you to assume, quite reasonably, I would argue,  that you can see the names of those who have viewed your profile. That’s certainly why I bought the Premium package for a month.

So here’s today’s ‘Who’s Viewed My Profile’ box:

the box is telling me that my profile has been viewed by 11 people in the last 30 days on LinkedIn

“A-HA!” I thought. Let’s see who in Melbourne, a leader in the Management Consulting industry, is looking at my profile…

Here’s what I saw when I clicked on the link above:


Please note that only ONE of them is from Melbourne, and not the first result (which is what I would have expected).

“Okay,” I thought, “let’s see who at Telstra has been viewing my profile.”

who in telstra has been viewing my profile, I asked


Well, it certainly gets a bit more helpful here. Andrew Cronin I know, as I do Jono Haysom (fine Adelaide lad that he is!). But I’m not so sure that I know Peter Habib and Nicole Bordne; that’s not to say I DON’T know them, but just that I don’t immediately recognise the names.

Well, let’s see if someone from the PR and Comms industry in Adelaide who has viewed my profile is someone that I recognise…

I decide to check who in the PR and comms industry from Adelaide has been viewing my profile

Now THIS was a bizarre result: no one – the search result came back showing the first page of people were from cities NOT called Adelaide

the search result, showing the first 10 were from cities NOT called Adelaide

So I tried a couple of times more, just to convince myself that there was absolutely no difference between the free version of LinkedIn and the Premium, US$24.95 per month version.


To the search for someone in the PR function in the PR and Comms industry from Adelaide came, surprise, no one from Adelaide. I was getting used to this.


And when looking back down the binoculars to see who had been viewing me from a Leadership function in the PR and Comms industry in Adelaide, I found out that – you are going to find this hard to believe, but it’s true – no one from Adelaide was looking at me.


It turns out – and you only get told of this once you have paid for your premium membership – that names are withheld for privacy reasons. But seeing names was the whole bloody reason for upgrading! Grrrrrrrrr…….

In search of the ‘unsubscribe’ button…

So I decided to cancel my membership. Did you naively think that they would make that an easy process? I laugh at you…

Everywhere I looked, even in my cheery welcome email congratulating me on upgrading my account, I could not find a ‘downgrade your membership’ or ‘unsubscribe’ button.

Sure, I could cancel my account if I wanted to, but that’s being a little bit dramatic!

As we say here in Australia (quoting a TV advert that ran for a while and captured our hearts),


  • http://www.LeeHopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    I agree, Pat; the ‘Freemium’ model would work well here – a 30-day free trial of Premium to create an appetite, with an ‘unless you contact us we will beginning charging against your paypal account in 30 days from now’ clause. That seems fair for both parties.

  • http://www.LeeHopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    Books, Sallie? Books? I don’t have enough time to go to the toilet, let alone read BOOKS!

  • http://www.mcgrawmarketing.com patmcgraw

    Lee, thanks for sharing and sorry to hear of you less than positive experience. I find it disturbing and upsetting that another business built on social media/networking is doing such a poor job at delivering a fantastic customer experience.

    Why wouldn't LinkedIn offer us long time members a free taste of the premium service? Based on your experience, it might be because there is no real value behind the curtain they have constructed?!


  • http://www.podcastasylum.com/ Sallie Goetsch

    This is where it pays to read some of the LinkedIn books, which explain that having a premium account lets you see a longer list of who's viewed your profile, but not more details; individuals have a choice about showing or hiding that. (You, too: it's in your profile settings.)

    It *is* possible to downgrade your premium account; it says so in the help files. And I'd recommend doing so immediately. Everything I've heard/read suggests that unless you are a recruiter and want to be able to send InMail to total strangers, a premium account has no value.

  • http://www.podcastasylum.com/ Sallie Goetsch

    Plenty of time to waste your money for lack of asking someone whether it would be worth spending it, though, apparently.

  • http://twitter.com/Prakky Michelle Prak

    That's astounding, Lee. I was just considering the Premium option on LinkedIn recently. I wondered how it would work, if I'd set my own privacy options so that I wasn't identified by others. Now we know!

  • http://www.LeeHopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    LOL – but you're talking to 'Mr Spontaneity' here, Sallie :-)

  • http://twitter.com/joernsteinz joernsteinz

    you might like to check out XING.com – makes quite a difference in showing who visited your profile

  • http://subject2.com Nick Johnson

    That's something else!! I recently started re-vamping my Linkedin profile and wondered if the upgrade was worth it. I'm glad I haven't wasted any of my money.

  • http://twitter.com/mariosundar Mario Sundar

    @lee, I'll be glad to walk you through our premium feature set. If you'd like to unsubscribe, I'll let our CS team know and they can help out. feel free to email me with any questions.

  • http://www.LeeHopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    Mario – I completely slipped up and forgot to reply back that I'd like to unsubscribe. Now several months have fallen since your initial kind offer — can you organise an unsubscribe, please?

    Many thanks,

  • http://twitter.com/AndyCronin Andy J Cronin

    Yay I got a mention. Save your $US 24.95 Lee.. I'll just flick you an email everytime I view your profile on LinkedIn. :-)

  • http://www.LeeHopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    LOL! And do you think I can get the payment stopped? I keep asking their customer service, but it looks like the payment keeps going through… I'd rather just send you the cheque :)

  • Barry Vern

    I joined, thinking I could offer a particular job to an outstanding person I had worked with some ten years ago. His name does appear on many normal searches, but they are all tied in to LookedIn.

    So when I joined up, with all the usual details, I find that the next step is to stump up a fee, from which I gather I will not actually be able to get a response, seeing that there is little detail within the site confirming he is either in need of a job, can actually receive any connection from me via the site, or has tried cancelling an account without success, leaving his name on the site.

    So a double whammy, two prospectives have to pay their fees and there is still no guarantee they can make contact. I smell a scam. Nothing to do with PayPal I suppose ?


  • http://trafcom.typepad.com Donna Papacosta

    Good to know, Lee! Thanks for this post. I have wondered whether the premium membership might be worthwhile for this very reason — seeing who has viewed your profile.

  • http://twitter.com/pr4m0d Pramod Somashekar

    LOL. Well, you know the vast majority of these premium services are a joke. The amount of people that actually get hired via these services are few, and most get hired through REAL LIFE connections.

    Recruiters use linkedin to contact PASSIVE candidates. If they want to contact you, then you'd surely receive an email from them. The last thing a recruiter wants to do is wake up and find 50 people who tried to contact them. This makes their life more difficult. In addition, the vast majority of recruiters I know will not even deal with unsolicited emails or resumes. They will throw them out or mark as spam, and that's the truth. However, in this slow economy I know of a few recruiters who would deal with unsolicited resumes, but only for contingency placements and introductions, but VERY few to say the least.

  • Pingback: » LinkedIn Premium Report: Much to be desired Ron Marshall Jr's Not Safe For Work()

  • http://techstyles.com.au Scott Fitzgerald

    I had a similar experience Lee. I signed up via the free 30-day trial, but could see not terribly much improvement on the free service.

  • http://twitter.com/helix2301 helix2301

    Thanks for the advice I almost bought this

  • DC1950

    I subscribed to Linked in for a month  the so called premium service so I could contact one member – who never even got the e mail.

    There is no point where you’re asked to agree to being charged every month indefinitely.

    4 months later I became aware of a series of monthly debits – and of course immediately cancelled this and requested a refund which was refused.

    Linked in ripped me off – so I am posting this so others will be forewarned. Be very careful when dealing with this grasping company 

  • http://www.facebook.com/joanafinchley Joana Finchley

    Hello all,

    I think LinkedIn is just Facebook for the unemployed. I would caution people about too much ‘noise’ on their LinkedIn Page. It sends a message that you have nothing better to do than play on LinkedIn. The more ‘noise’ ( connections, recommendations, MaryBeth changed her photo’ ) the more desperate you seem. As for recruiters, surely the good ones maintain their OWN database of talent. That’s my two cents. Joana

  • Dan White

    I resent Linked in… they own what I posted and can not get my name off their site. They have no ethics.

  • Perry

    LinkedIn is pretty much of a rip off (and highly overrated). $10 a name to send them an e-mail? I don’t think so! I just call them up on the phone. FREE!
    Perry Rose, freelance health copywriter – PerryRose.NET

  • David Branstrator

    Subject: Loyal Customer Complaint

    Your Question: *Please forward this email this to you manager*
    To Whom it May Concern,

    I’ve been a loyal user since 2008 and based on how my search capabilities with my free account have been drastically limited, as an experienced recruiter (having used LI since 2008) it has impacted me significantly. My searches run out after 2-3 days!? As the service LinkedIn continues to degrade for everyday users like myself, it has lessened my desire to purchase a premium account. The tactic of limiting the services to encourage more people to buy a better plan is subversive and not an honest way to do business in my opinion. Given this practice, I have to admit, I have stopped recommending it to professionals I deal with everyday who don’t have an account and therefore has created a much lower opinion of how the business tactics are becoming more focused on the bottom line than on customer satisfaction. This realization has effected not only mine but countless other professional I deal with in the industry. I am now less likely to purchase any kind of premium account and would rather work around LinkedIn to other platforms and methods to get the same (if not better) results.

    This is an honest depiction of how myself and many other users feel about the changes occurring in the platform. I can see a day when the site is restricted to only paying members and any free accounts will be essentially useless to your main client base (the recruiting industry).

    Considering this feedback, is there anything you (or your management) can do to restore good faith and a reasonable amount of search capabilities to my account, allow me trail various versions of the premium accounts more frequently or stop limiting my searches altogether (OR AT LEAST LET IT LAST THE MONTH AS OPPOSED TO 2-3 DAYS) to engender good faith? Because, at this point, since the drastic changes to free accounts, all the recruiters I know (over 25 people, with one exception) have outright refused to ever pay the pricey fee for a premium account when they have countless other strategies which can provide similar to better results without having to pay EXCESSIVE prices.

    When the recruiting industry is the one of LinkedIns primary paying customer base, I would think a business plan where they suffer the most as a result of “corporate changes in policy” seems short sited and strictly focused on the bottom line as opposed to treating them favorably as the lifeblood of the platform.


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