LinkedIn’s mission is to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
I joined LinkedIn on February 23, 2007 after reading reports of the business networking site reaching 10 million users (which it achieved in April).
I was in my final semester of graduate school and hoped the site could connect me with classmates and professors. Moreover, I knew I’d be laid off in the coming months but I didn’t know when. That occurred in May. I then used the site to contact connections to tell them about my layoff and degree, and to inquire how and if they could help me get hired.
Fast forward and LinkedIn continues to help me search and research people who share geographic, demographic, and psychographic interests — and who may be interested in linking their networks with mine.
However, because I have a free account, my searches constantly get throttled every month or so due to the commercial use limit.
This is an algorithm that prevents me from conducting additional searches unless I wait until the month ends or I choose to pay for access.
Here’s the fine print:
The commercial use limit is based on your search activity since the start of the current calendar month. It takes into account (but is not limited to) non-name searches, mobile searches, searches outside your network, frequency of searching, viewing suggested profiles, and other factors.
Members reaching this commercial limit would benefit from a subscription specifically designed to help them find quality potential candidates and sales prospects.
Note that the company suggests I purchase a paid plan as if I worked in recruiting or sales. I’m neither. I’m searching for a job. When I discover potential opportunities, I use LinkedIn to search for hiring managers at those companies, search for people in and out of my network who work at those companies, and search for people to connect.
I’m using LinkedIn in support of their mission. I’m connecting to professionals to improve my and their productivity and to achieve success.
But… how productive is it for a job seeker to pay $60 a month for ONLY unlimited searching? I don’t care about the other paid plan features, which is why I have a free account.
While the company has a “career plan” for $30 a month, that is not privy to the unlimited search. The lowest paid plan that allows that search is the “business plan” that costs $48 a month if billed annually, or $60 a month if billed every month. What job seeker would prepay a year?
I recognize the rationale for a premium plan. But if LinkedIn’s mission is to connect to people (who one may or may not know), then shouldn’t the act of finding those connections be free? Or, emulate web hosting companies and charge a reasonable monthly fee for data transfer.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to use the site the way I’ve been using it for years; and I’ll continue to hit those sporadic monthly limits in my quest to be productive and successful.