LinkedIn recently announced Personal Plus accounts, which in my language are supposed to enable “I want to be found“. Some LinkedIn members [ including yours truly] had been resorting to listing personal e-mail addresses on our LinkedIn profiles so that people who are not in our network, but might need our services can get in touch with us without having to pay for a Business Plus account/InMails.

Personal Plus is supposed to be an answer to the above problem.

The problem was that listing personal e-mail addresses is a violation of the LinkedIn User Agreement [ in layman’s terms, listing in e-mail in your profile means you are listing an item that does not belong there ]. The specific words from the agreement being “Post content in fields that aren’t intended for that content. Example: Putting an address in a name or title field.

Another issue that Personal Plus accounts are intended to address is the fact that a lot of members on LinkedIn – in an effort to gain visibility – were joining/sending requests to join various LinkedIn Groups, which was turning out to be quite an issue for Group Owners.

Being a Personal Plus customer will allow you to be a part of the OpenLink network, which in effect means that you will be able to get in touch directly with people who otherwise were not part of your other LinkedIn Groups but are on the OpenLink network and are open to contact – these persons can be contacted [ for free – except for the USD 60 per annum for Personal Plus ]even if they are not in your third degree network.

The Personal Plus page on LinkedIn also says the following [ additional stuff that isn’t available to free account members ]:

  • Any LinkedIn user can contact you directly when you accept these “toll-free” messages
  • Five more introductions [ I’m assuming that will bring the total number of available introductions to ten ]
  • Priority customer service
  • Members outside your third degree can see your name and entire profile [ in the free accounts they see only a summary and you have to use this LinkedIn PowerTip to make your name visible ].

I still have not signed up for a Personal Plus account – I did fill in the details on the “Purchase” page but wasn’t too sure about benefits. My LinkedIn profile still shows my e-mail address in the contact settings. It probably would have helped if LinkedIn had given everyone a free month of Personal Plus to evaluate the service – it would have been a terrific enabler in terms of decision-making for users. But only a few users have received the trial membership and until I hear some more experiences, I’m not convinced.

I have been keenly following conversations on MyLinkedInPowerForum and LinkedInnovators about Personal Plus accounts but I haven’t heard much in terms of feedback and how it’s a direct benefit.

For LinkedIn users who are not members of the various LinkedIn Yahoo Groups, I’m not sure what their decision-making enablers are! Since I did not get a LinkedIn intimation about Personal Plus accounts and the Personal Plus accounts subscription choice is right at the bottom of the other Business accounts [ even the accounts comparison page does not show the comparison with Personal Plus! ] I am not sure how other users will find out about this new service.

I’d love to hear some feedback regarding Personal Plus – answers related to the following:

  • How many members are on the OpenLink network?
  • Were you able to ‘hook-up’ with someone because of OpenLink?
  • How did you find out about Personal Plus/OpenLink? [ I’d love to compare notes although I doubt if you heard from anywhere else apart from one of the LinkedIn YahooGroups ]
  • Anything else you think is of importance an will help me decide whether to sign-up or not!

Maybe it’s way too early to ask these questions – but it’s money well spent if you know what you’re getting into. I wouldn’t want any hard feelings if I sign up and then figure out that it’s a bad deal! [ Although I doubt it’s going to be a bad deal – I haven’t come across any of that from LinkedIn! ]

8 comments

  1. I have signed up for the Personal Plus account, because I want to be easily reachable. When the “contact without referral” option was supported, I had that turned on, and OpenLink messages now revive that kind of functionality.

    There are at least 500 people on the OpenLink network already, the maximum I can see in a single search. This is a separate feature from OpenLink introductions. I haven’t quite figured out the value of it yet. If OpenLink members can be listed under the more-than-three-degrees LinkedIn Network in search results (I’m not sure yet which search category they go into), then limiting the search to OpenLink members would let you see only people you can contact for no additional cost.

    Doubling the number of active introductions is also a nice addition, and it looks like my Personal Plus membership also ensures that people who see me in a search can see my entire profile rather than a truncated version of it.

  2. Yes Danny, that does sound like a simple clean deal. More visibility – but for people like me [ who had their e-mail id on their profiles ] it basically means that we’ll now be paying for the same functionality using other means [ OpenLink ].

    I don’t think there’s any other real advantage!

    Thank you for stopping by Danny!

  3. Ha ha! Andreas!
    Nice one – but like LinkedIn execs have time and again stressed that LinkedIn and openBC are in different areas of online business networking – I too used to compare the two all the time – with time that’s changed – in my experience, I’ve had different results from both.

    As a service provider [ way too generic a term ] – I have found openBC more “profitable” than LinkedIn but LinkedIn has been better for me as an Innovation Professional.

    Right now I am in top-gear for business building and marketing so I took a risk of signing up for Personal Plus [ check the latest post here ]

  4. Hello Naina, I should probably depress my experience with LinkedIn. Have I understood that rightly, that OpenBC is more appropriate for doing business, achieve profits and gather new contacts – whereas LinkedIn is the thing for sharing knowledge and care for existing ties?
    Regards, Andreas

  5. Hello Andreas,

    openBC and LinkedIn definitely seem to have a different ‘vision’. Like you rightly said about LinkedIn – they prefer the LinkedIn members nurture existing relationships and contacts – they stress on that but obviously the system lets you get in touch with people you don’t know too.

    Personally, openBC has worked for me in terms of my design studio business – most of the clients that I have worked with are also members on openBC.

    LinkedIn has been able to help me professionally – it will probably help me better in getting a “job” or “employment”. As for my design business, only recently have I received some enquiries of interest from members of LinkedIn – that too is because of my membership and participation on the various LinkedIn Yahoo Groups like MyLinkedInPowerForum.

    I use both because:
    1. I have the time for it
    2. I understand the importance of online business networking
    3. I understand the difference between both platforms and use it to my advantage
    4. Both have been beneficial to me monetarily

    Thank you so much for stopping by! I recently included a link to your blog on my BlogRoll – thank you for linking to my blog too!

    Best Regards, Naina

  6. Don’t some of these features subvert the purpose of LinkedIn – trusted referrals? When you’re in the “I want to be found” mode, these seem like a slam dunk. Will you still want unfettered contact when you reach a position of influence and have either direct hiring authority or access to those who do?

    I suspect you won’t. In that regard, these services give false hope. Connecting far-flung people of limited influence may build social ties and “community”, but I seriously doubt any business connections of substance will spring from them.

    Remember Groucho Marx’ comment about not wanting to be part of any club that would have him as a member.

  7. I agree with your point Eric. The thing is that when LinkedIn started out, the key phrase most definitely was “trusted referrals”, but in my experience, although the key phrase in itself has not changed, the people using Linked have.

    I for one, do not restrict my connections to people I’ve known or met – which does not mean that I connect with everyone – it’s subjective and I prefer to have some interaction [ via e-mail at least ] before I open my network to someone.

    You are right to say that when I “…reach a position of influence and have either direct hiring authority or access to those who do…” I will not want ‘unfettered’ contact. At least I believe I don’t want that already – I get at least one request for contact per week where someone is seeking a job at my company – it’s weird because my design studio is a one-person studio and I have no intentions of hiring anyone yet!

    I will also agree with your statement that these services give false hope but at the same time, I can confidently say that it is up to the user to make good use of such a service. This particular service gives me visibility – when someone on LinkedIn now searches for a “logo designer” they will get my name on top and will also fine that I am openly accessible with enough people to vouch for my abilities.

    It’s a wait and watch thing and while no direct benefits are visible, I recently connected with two CEO’s who were open to receiving OpenLink messages – both were nice enough to say that if they needed design services in the future, they would have me on their mind. So although I most definitely did not make money as soon as I signed up for OpenLink, I most certainly will in the future.

    With LinkedIn or an other online business networking portal for that matter, it’s not about just lusting after making money – a lot of effort needs to be put into building the community, cultivating contacts and spreading awareness that “Yes, I exist and this is what I’m good at”.

    I’ve made money – and I know I wouldn’t have made money from the same sources if I wasn’t a part of LinkedIn – I would’ve concentrated more on my local market – but now, I have international clientele – which is a big thing for a single-person design studio based out of Mumbai, India. I have friends and business associates who vouch for me when I ask for a reference.

    It’s all good I say – and it’s the user’s imagination that needs to take full advantage of these type of offerings.

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