Three Reasons Why LinkedIn Endorsements Suck.

Last week I was lucky enough to be in San Francisco with my family celebrating my brother-in-law Michael’s wedding. It was perfect. We spent the weekend on the Russian River with friends and family. Lovely. When the wedding was over, my family spent a few more wonderful days exploring San Francisco.  One morning over coffee, my new sister-in-law Laurie who had her laptop opened, turned to me an asked

“What do you think about Linkedin endorsements?”

My knee-jerk response was:

“They suck.”

She seemed relieved that I had said it, and we both went on a rant why we think they suck. I thought I’d share our thoughts with you because I think Laurie is super smart, and she and I can’t be the only ones who feel this way.

I’d like to start with the caveat that I think LinkedIn is amazing. I love it, really, I do. I’m not here to Linkedin bash. In fact, I think I’m doing the opposite. I’m a LinkedIn groupie that wants to get the word out to Linkedin that one of their features sucks and please kindly remove it so we can go about loving your platform again –thankyouverymuch.

I’m on the site daily, and I even pay for upgraded services. I use the platform to network, close deals, reconnect with former colleagues, pass and share information, engage in the social media community and learn.

Now – for the uninformed, endorsements are the poor man’s recommendation. They’re the more seamless and slicker younger brother. Giving someone an endorsement is simple and frictionless. Which at first blush may seem like a good thing in social media, but I think being so frictionless has added to why they suck. Because all someone has to do to endorse you is to click a button. Much like the “like” button on Facebook this is ubiquitous throughout Linkedin, but frankly I think it’s diluted the platform. Here’s why.

1. They’re Spammy.

I leave platforms when I feel spammed. This is not good for anyone, and they dilute the brand equity of LinkeIn. The manner in which Linkedin has chosen to make endorsements a ubiquitous part of your Linkedin experience is by getting as close to spamming as I’ve ever seen Linkedin! When you log in, the platform prompts you to endorse people you may have not have seen in years, and while at first I was intrigued, now I’m annoyed. I get it. You don’t have to prompt me to endorse people every single time I log in. 

2. The more you get, the less impact they have.

Unlike real recommendations  – endorsements have a “cap” meaning there is a certain number of endorsements that you can get before it begins to look like a huge Rubik’s cube of faces on your LinkedIn profile. Silly. 

3. See number 2.

At least five times a day I receive emails indicating that I’ve been endorsed on Linkedin.  At first, I was intrigued by the service, and flattered that I was gettting so many endorsements.

Eary on when endorsements were first released, I would dedicate time every morning seeing who I could give endorsements to – but now, because I know how spammy they are in promoting people to endorse others, I think nothing of getting an endorsement. I can almost see the person sitting there with their chin on their desk blindly clicking away endorsements until Linkedin serves them up another face from their networking past.  Like the drones who pull on slot machines…clicking, clicking, clicking awaiting some unseen reward of reciprocity.

Maybe I’m just being a grumpy old man, but I have to admit that I think my very generous endorsements look completely silly on my profile, and seem like overkill.

I’ll end the way I began – saying I love Linkedin, and I use it daily, but I have to ask …

Am I the only one that would like to see them do away with endorsements?

Let me know what you think?

Am I missing the hidden power of the endorsement, or do you feel the same way I do?

Comment below and let me know!

13 replies
  1. Richard J Nardo
    Richard J Nardo says:

    Great read as always Chris!

    I think you hit the nail on the head with your assessment. The biggest problem with Linkedin endorsements is the combination of the lack of effort required and the “I’ll scratch your back and you scratch mine” mentality that seems to accompany the process. I get the impression the majority of endorsements come from people blindly clicking the ‘endorse’ button because it takes two seconds to do so and they expect the person will endorse them back.

    I’ll admit that I do use Linkedin endorsements to a certain degree. But I also feel strongly that if you truly believe in a person, clicking a box marked ‘endorse’ isn’t an acceptable substitute for a good old fashioned written recommendation!

    • Silverback Social
      Chris Dessi says:

      Hey Rich! Thanks for the comment. Yep, I totally agree. Recommendations mean so much more! Maybe Linkedin will hear us and do away with them!

  2. Michael Lee
    Michael Lee says:

    Very true, unless you’re the person with only a very few “endorsements”……..then you should really feel bad. haha! Just kidding, very true read.

  3. MercuryPDX
    MercuryPDX says:

    Soliciting LinkedIn recommendations from your co-workers (where actual thought and words are needed) is almost like deep sea fishing for compliments. There’s
    plenty of hand wringing and the unsaid expectation that you will return an equally glowing recommendation on their profile.

    Giving endorsements are like a drive-by-shooting. You can sit on the screen and pound on the “Endorse all Four” button until your finger cramps up. As such, they’re meaningless.

    There needs to be a happy medium between the two.

    • starshiplove
      starshiplove says:

      In the world of social media, bigger numbers are usually more desirable than smaller numbers. This is why LinkedIn wants to encourage all of the endorsements that they can get you – so you’re excited about using LinkedIn and sharing it with people so they gain more users. This social trend towards bigger numbers, for instance, is just one reason why you’ve got over a hundred companies listed at that do nothing other than get people more Facebook likes – the bigger numbers are just more attractive. But when it comes to LinkedIn endorsements, the little cube of pictures does make it seem weird and borderline narcissistic or something. Personally I think that LinkedIn has a lot of potential, but they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. LinkedIn is an ok tool if you’re in sales and want to find a specific contact in another company or if you’re in HR and want to make your life much easier by using some of their metrics like endorsements rather than actually analyzing all of the resumes you get. But outside that kind of narrow use, LinkedIn doesn’t yet have a product that’s truly social and really encourages the average person to log in except when they’re job hunting. As far as professional sites go, stuff like the StackExchange network of sites seem like a better way to find experts in a given topic. Not denigrating LinkedIn, but I don’t think they’ve come up with the right product mix yet.

  4. Rich Funaro
    Rich Funaro says:

    I just read your comments about how “endorsements suck”…….this is after I spent 25 minutes clicking the endorse button this morning. I could’nt agree with you more. It’s a very non-dimentional process. There has to be a better way! Oh by the way, please accept my apologies for the endorsement that I gave you this morning!


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