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LinkedIn Endorsements–value or noise?

hollywood-squaresMatt Asay (@mjasay), VP, Business Development & Corporate Strategy at 10gen, is a little skeptical on the value of Linked Endorsements.

LinkedIn Endorsements may be the fastest-growing new product launch in the history of LinkedIn, but it is also arguably the most pointless. Launched as a lightweight way to recommend colleagues so as to boost their resumes, LinkedIn Endorsements have become useless noise on an otherwise useful service.

But how do you really feel, Matt?

The problem with Endorsements, however, is that they generate mindless clicks with no real value to the person endorsing someone else, or the person receiving the endorsement.

……

Endorsements may well be akin to Macbeth’s “life … told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Endorsements create a heck of a lot of noise, and precious little signal.

I am as big a fan of LinkedIn as there is, but I’m with Asay that LinkedIn endorsements are of dubious value.

I get any number of LinkedIn endorsements a day. Many are from people I don’t know and I’m not sure whether they really know me.

While being endorsed for all these skills is flattering, what does it really mean if 492 people believe I have expertise in blogging and 203 people believe I am skilled in SEO? Would you think less of me if it was only 292 and 103?

No question LinkedIn Endorsements are accomplishing what LinkeIn wants. Asay writes that in a recent earnings call LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner trumpeted hitting 1 billion Endorsements in just under five months.

He called out how the service has done a “nice job … of creating the right kind of viral loops,” bringing people back to the site that otherwise might use LinkedIn as a site to use when actively looking for a job every few years.

But what’s the value to users? Asay uses LinkedIn for recruiting and for background research on people he’s meeting. He applies zero weight to the Endorsements. “They’re far too easily given, and don’t really tell me what the person being endorsed has done to merit the Endorsement.”

Some lawyers and other professionals aren’t too impressed with the Endorsements either. LinkedIn Endorsement comments LinkedIn Endorsements There are legal professionals who see the value in the Endorsements. LexBlog’s President and Attorney, Kevin McKeown (@kevinmckeown), sees some networking value in the Endorsements. When someone endorses you, it gives you the opportunity to engage them by dropping them a thank-you note.

And from others. LinkedIn Endorsements I don’t know. I do not want to bash LinkedIn, and I am no where near as smart as Jeff Weiner, but I believe LinkedIn Endorsements has cheapened profiles. I look up people all the time on LinkedIn and have never given any weight to Endorsements. If Endorsements are to mean anything, that would seem to be the true test.

All I can think of when seeing the large block of endorsements on my profile is Hollywood Squares. And I am not sure if I want an endorsement from Paul Lynde.