Yet more exciting news from the world of high tech:
Microsoft is buying LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, a deal in which one of the world’s biggest social networks will join a software and computing giant as it tries to broaden its reach in online services.
….LinkedIn [ ] is already a major brand name, with 433 million users and $3 billion a year in revenue….Still, recent estimates suggest only a fraction of LinkedIn’s users log in on a monthly basis — highlighting the challenge ahead for Microsoft and LinkedIn as they try to grow the social network. The plan, said Weiner in his staff email, is to integrate LinkedIn with virtually all of Microsoft’s products, from Outlook to Calendar to Skype to Windows.1
Gee, only a fraction? Here’s an experiment for Microsoft: Allow LinkedIn users to delete their accounts completely. Then sit back and see how many folks take you up on this. LinkedIn may be a major brand name, but it’s also been infamous for years because of its refusal to ever allow anyone to leave its fabulous family. If you so much as sign up just to see what all the fuss is about, you can never leave, and you will get “invitations” forever from acquaintances who want you to join their LinkedIn network.
I get LinkedIn email invites all the time. I’d like to delete my account so these people don’t think I’m being unfriendly and deliberately refusing to network with them, but I can’t. Hell, I just tried to log in right now to see if anything has changed, but I couldn’t. Despite sending endless emails to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, LinkedIn claims to have no knowledge of that email address when I try to log in—though I suppose it doesn’t matter much since I have no idea what my password is anyway.
I suppose many (all?) social networking sites do this. I’ve never tried to delete my Twitter or Facebook accounts, for example, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s essentially impossible. Still, if you want to know how many people really use LinkedIn, someone should ask Microsoft how many users access their accounts, say, once a week. (I’m being generous here.) How about it, Satya? How many accounts did you really buy? And will you allow the rest of us to leave, once and for all?
1Sounds great! What could go wrong?
UPDATE: Just to prove that Twitter can occasionally be useful, a reader informs me that it’s now possible to delete a LinkedIn account. Sort of. Here’s the LinkedIn page:
Closing your account means deleting your profile and removing access to all your LinkedIn information from our site….You can close your account directly from the Close Account page. Before you do, please note:
….Your profile will no longer be visible on LinkedIn.
Better than nothing, I suppose. But note that closing your account means only that your profile “will no longer visible.” It doesn’t meant that LinkedIn actually deletes all your personal information.