You’ve joined a LinkedIn Group. Unfortunately, Peter Peddler has joined the same group. Since legitimate email services have already heaved his ho-ho-ho out the door, he’s joined LinkedIn because LinkedIn allows him to spam you with impunity.
Last week I got a private LinkedIn message (pictured above) from Peter Peddler. In the screen shot I took, I was careful to change his name (lawyers are just too expensive these days), but you’ll soon see I needn’t have worried.
Peter wanted to know if my website was a bust – and could he fix it for me to produce new business “day after day, month after month, year after year, like CLOCKWORK.”
No, I wanted the creep to leave my inbox alone, but even more I wanted LinkedIn to stop allowing this sort of nonsense.
The reason Peter could send me this spam message was because both he and I belong to the same LinkedIn Group, in this case “The Sales Association-Colorado Chapter.” Peter had just joined the group 15 hours before, but he’d managed in those 15 hours to send his pitch to everyone in the group – AND to post the same pitch on the Group’s so-called “Discussion” board.
The Emperor is Clothed in a Stock Photo
Well, Peter is a good looking guy, isn’t he? Which got us to wondering. Peter, you see, had only 3 connections on LinkedIn. He listed himself as a consultant to a company called “Marketing Drive Worldwide.”
You’d be surprised at how many people sending you messages on social networks aren’t really people at all. Nope – take a look.
We dropped his photo into Google for more information. Yes, is this a great Internet or what? Just drop a photo into Google’s Image search (click on the little camera to do it) and you can find almost anyone.
And, we did.
Oh My Gosh, Batman!
Peter, it seems is so good looking the guy really gets around. Imagine! He is the poster child of Level Five Solutions:
He is also one of the happy humans that Sanders Consultants helped find his dream job. In fact, it turns out, Peter’s lovely mug is all over the Internet. How did that happen?!
Peter, you see, is really just a stock photo available for download from Photos.com.
And, if you think Peter is the only one doing this… well, you’d be wrong. Pick a few of your latest Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook followers and you’ll find that this practice is one of the leading forms of social media deception. Kind of makes you want to puke, doesn’t it?
Clicks Just Keep Gettin’ Harder to Find
So we can take the cover off now. It’s official, Peter Peddler is actually Michael Lohan – so no more need to worry about lawyers.
But wait, there’s more! Michael Lohan is not really Michael Lohan. He’s merely one of the thousands of made-up swindlers cynically haunting social media sites these days. He’s there to get his clicks. Yes, it’s money for nuthin’ and your clicks for free. Your loss. My loss. Our loss. Soon to be LinkedIn’s loss. Don’t buy their stock.
And even though he’s as fraudulent as a $3 bill, how would you know? You wouldn’t. But, LinkedIn knows about these guys – and they do absolutely nothing at all about them.
We did find someone who cared. The administrator of the LinkedIn Group, “The Sales Association-Colorado Chapter,” is Jeff Arnold. He responded to my email quickly and within hours had booted this fake “Michael Lohan” out of his LinkedIn Group.
Jeff, however, admitted his frustration with these kinds of “members”. He told me:
WE just don’t have enough time in the day to monitor such posts. I frequently block and delete problem posters, but it’s a game of whack-a-mole. You get one, another one pops up.
So, What Did LinkedIn Say?
Linkedin, on the other hand, wrote back a multi-paragraph generic upchuck email to my request that they throw Michael out. They told me the Group Manager is responsible. They allowed as how they don’t really have any power at all:
Please understand that the group management team is responsible for decisions about inappropriate discussions or comments as well as the activity of perceived “spam” that is posted in the discussion threads.
Please note that groups are member-generated content and not sponsored or sanctioned by LinkedIn. While spamming fellow group members is not considered a best practice for groups, joining a group and being open to messaging from a large open community can sometimes result in unwanted items.
To maintain the integrity of your group, please report any of these discussions or comments using the “Flag as Inappropriate” option.
You have to love it! Michael Lohan has nothin’ to do with us, LinkedIn says. How ‘bout a “Flag as Inappropriate” option that we could put on the total inaction of LinkedIn? That’s a flag I’d like to see.
Thank goodness for folks like Jeff Arnold, is all I have to say. They’re out there whacking the moles that LinkedIn ought to be snuffing out before they invade your inbox, your groups’ discussions, or before they sidle up to you and become your “friend.”
Yup, Lindsay Lohan Told Us
Do you still think the time you spend (or, more importantly, the time you must spend avoiding these kinds of dirtbags) is somehow worth it? Think about it. Someday the Pollyanna Pitchmen of social media will get off their duffs and begin to join in the fight against bot faces like Michael.
How might LinkedIn protect their site – and their stock price? The best thing they could do is to start throwing out the Michael Lohans of the world “day after day, month after month, year after year, like CLOCKWORK.”