LinkedIn Angers Businesses With Feature Removal

    April 11, 2014
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

As recently reported, LinkedIn is killing the Products & Services tab on Company pages. It turns out that some businesses aren’t a fan of this move.

Do you use the Products & Services tab? Do you find it to be a necessary feature of the LinkedIn experience or are the alternatives better? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Back in November LinkedIn launched its new Showcase Pages, which enable companies to show off specific brands and products. Users can follow these pages just as they can other pages on LinkedIn. So, if you have multiple products, you can set up these pages for each one, and users can follow the products they’re most interested in. If you have multiple brands, they can follow the brands they like. Obviously they can still follow your Company Page as well.

For example, Microsoft has a Showcase Page for Microsoft Office. Users may not be interested in everything that the corporation is up to, but they use Office all the time, so they want to follow that. You get the idea.

LinkedIn apparently wants companies to use these pages more, so it’s ditching the Products & Services tab. The tab will be gone on April 14th. Until then, you can edit your content from the tab as you like. You won’t be able to add anything new.

“We’re constantly evaluating how features are being used and exploring new ways to enhance the content experience on LinkedIn,” the company says. “We do this to ensure that we’re creating a platform where companies can deliver timely, engaging content to our members. Sometimes, this means we need to remove a feature to focus on areas of the product that most benefit both companies and our members.”

Showcase Pages are one alternative LinkedIn recommends. Another is to simply use Company Status Updates (or both).

The updates show up on your Company Page as well as in your followers’ feeds (on every device). You can even use them to show videos that play directly in the feed, and/or direct users to customized landing pages.

“The real-time nature of updates makes them perfect for sharing news about your offerings, so your content feels relevant and timely,” LinkedIn says.

LinkedIn also says that Showcase Pages make it easy to build dedicated communities on LinkedIn, and start conversations about products and brands. Showcase Page updates work just like Company Updates, so they have the same visibility benefits. They also appear in search results and on your Company Page.

Believe it or not, not everyone is happy with LinkedIn’s decision to shut down the Products & Services tab. Many have taken to its help forum to complain. John Bernardi is particularly angered by the move, and started a lot of discussion about it there. He wrote (via MarketingLand):

LinkedIn does it again. They’ve made an arbitrary decision to remove content previously entered by its subscribers. On April 14 all the hard work done by subscribers who created product and services pages will be sent to the trash bin by LinkedIn. I have a number of clients who paid to have their products and services pages created for them. LinkedIn has decided that their investment means nothing.

This decision is even more obtuse than the one made by LinkedIn to remove the section where people saved and shared the books they had read.

I will never trust LinkedIn with a mission critical application for my business. They make too many arbitrary decisions that are non customer centric.

One user calls the move “insane”. Another says LinkedIn is afraid of lawsuits like those Yelp has been involved in, and doesn’t “have the spine for it”.

Crystal Thies writes:

I am extremely upset with this. Managing a Showcase Page for every product or service is unrealistic. There are no options for recommendations currently in the Showcase Pages, so will that change?

The target market views that LinkedIn created for the products and services tab was brilliant and there is nothing else like it out there. Anytime I fully explained the capabilities of the tab, I landed a company hiring me to build out their Company Page and target that page to their verticals. There is nothing else like in in social media.

However, LinkedIn has done a very poor job of informing people of the true magic behind the Company Page so no one knows to do anything with it. This was also the main way to tie your company page to your website with the Recommendations plugin.

If they continue to remove it, it will be an enormous loss to small business owners across LinkedIn and will lower LinkedIn to Facebook level. It will be all about blasting your message out to people and that’s not what LinkedIn is really about. You need those recommendations and validation to build credibility for your company, your products and services. Would you remove Recommendations from the Profile? That’s essentially what you’re doing to the businesses.

To the point about “blasting your message out to people” not being what LinkedIn’s about, the company did recently announce that it is opening up its publishing platform to everyone, so that kind of is what LinkedIn is all about now. Or at least partially about.

There are eleven pages on that one thread in LinkedIn’s forum, and it’s pretty much just angry comment after angry comment. Will LinkedIn listen?

Do you think LinkedIn should keep the Products & Services tab? Is this all just overreaction or legitimate concern? Share your thoughts in the comments.

  • https://www.thegroovygroup.org THE ! GROOVY ! GROUP ! ®

    It is a huge mistake for LinkedIn to remove the Products and Services tab on 14-04-2014. We obtain many new leads from that tab, and will be very sad to see it go.

    Best regards

    THE ! GROOVY ! GROUP ! ®

  • Kevin Morley

    LinkedIn getting too much like Facebook so have removed my profile

  • http://rumblinglankan.com/ Nishadha Silva

    I think there is some benefit if you’re having multiple products. Then you can separately grow followers based on the product. One drawback is you lose all the recommendations you have gained for your product.

  • http://www.yorkshirehypnotherapytraining.co.uk Debbie Waller

    I have set up a showcase page, it’s OK but it has nowhere to publish the recommendations/reviews I had from other people on my products and services page. Contacted LinkedIn – they say I am welcome to publish whatever I want about my products. As I pointed out to them this is not at all the same as someone else saying what they think. They agreed to ‘pass on my feedback’, don’t expect this to change though.

    • beckabates

      Yes Debbie, you’re right, and in fact, I contacted LinkedIn in advance of this change, and they promised to send a link where we could move our recommendations to the new showcases page. Which did not happen ;(

  • amberview

    I thought it was a great feature. I’m wondering why they would get rid of it.

  • Pissed Off

    Getting to be like Google. Just when you’ve put a lot of work into some aspect of the site, they change the rules and never to the benefit of the user. Keep the tab!

  • Henry TheEighth

    I don’t use LinkedIn much at all – I have a profile full of my details – but they’re all set to private, until I need to pitch for a new opportunity or post – I have 100 connections and a good list of projects I’ve worked on – but in terms of ‘engaging’ with other people or companies – nah! Don’t bother at all, therefore businesses shouldn’t bother trying to target me – AdBlock Plus for Chrome really helps!

    • beckabates

      There’s just no substitute for a client being willing to post publicly about the service they received from your company though. It’s far more validating than anything you can personally tell a client (or promise a client).

  • http://nubizzmarketing.blogspot.com Ismail Yusof

    Most unwise move…….

  • pleisch

    Linked in has lost a lot of the value. People click absent-mindedly to approve skills they don’t understand or that aren’t even relevant. Skills are listed so many ways that no one can really use the information anymore. Things people used to be able to find, like the books others in their field read, or a list of articles someone mentioned/tweeted, are gone. Spam has increased. Many people I know are losing interest in being a part of the changes. It’s true that LinkedIn is behaving like Facebook and many of us are pulling back on use there too. These folks are ripe for a new venue to come along and flatten them.

  • beckabates

    I agree with most of the sentiments here. LinkedIn has made a poor decision to, once again, only cater to huge companies. They’re looking to make all their money from large organizations paying to hire via LinkedIn—and not concerning themselves with small business owners working to validate their worth via Recommendations. I’ve personally spent the past two years encouraging my clients to refer us for specific services, and have built up a nice set of more than a dozen recommendations for each of our services. It’s a priceless tool when speaking with a potential new customer, they can immediately go to our page and see what our clients had to say about the service we performed for them.

    And…many of our clients have been inspired by our services page and hired us to flesh theirs out. Now their money is down the drain.

    LinkedIn hosted an event in Chicago that was targeted towards small biz owners…telling us how our CRM could interface seamlessly with LinkedIn. We use Highrise currently, and were very excited. So, we went to the event. Where we were very disappointed to hear that all they cared about was Salesforce.com connection…and the speakers were from Fortune 50 companies.

    How on earth was there ANY connection to small business owners there?
    LinkedIn is shooting themselves in the foot. Their business was built by small business owners, not the big guys.

  • Linus VanPelt

    What the hell is “linkedin”? Have run my own business quite successfully since 1991 and I DO NOT use any “social” sites for it, just my own website. Why would anyone do anything else?

  • Tim Ash

    #LinkedIn #fail – LinkedIn arbitrarily removed the Products & Services tab on all company pages. This wiped out dozens of reviews posted by our clients over the years. Way to help companies build their reputations… f-ing idiots.

  • Joe 12-Pack

    The leaders of LinkedIn are misguided in their attempts to become Facebook.
    Google is doing this too with their inane +1.
    LinkedIn has a unique foothold as a place for business interaction. It can be used to further one’s career, hiring people, and finding vendors & customers.
    I have no use for another Facebook. I don’t want to know what someone is having for lunch or what they thought of last night’s “American Idol”.

  • Susan

    Terrible loss. LilnkedIn is really turning the screws. They’ll probably add the feature back in later for a fee. I use the page, have collected recommendations, and now all of that effort will be lost – guess they don’t care

  • Josiah B.

    It is really sad honestly. Especially to those who made an actual investment in it. What an awful thing to do to the community that paid for it. I do not understand this overall attempt at alienating small businesses. Its like no one knows that small business is often the economic engine that prospers and grows the economies.

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