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A potential storm is brewing on LinkedIn with the just released “Group Search” feature over duplicate groups.

In the past, you just couldn’t tell what groups existed, so finding any group that you wanted to belong to was almost a chance event.

Well it appears that in the void of that knowledge, multiple people setup multiple groups with the same purpose…

How many SUNY Buffalo Alumni Groups?

As an alumni of SUNY Buffalo, I’m already a member of the “Alumni Group” – you see, I noticed the group earlier this year when it was mentioned in one of the school newsletters and joined up. In testing the search, I tried out the string “SUNY Buffalo” to see what I’d find.

Here, I’ll show you:

Search results from LinkedIn Group Search on

Four Alumni Groups!?!

So – it appears that in addition to the “official” alumni group, three other copy-cats have sprung up.

I might guess at the one that has the proper backing of the school, but that’s besides the point. Now that we can “see” that they are there, LinkedIn is going to have to provide a mechanism to prevent an arbitrary user from creating a duplicate group.

Use of copyrighted images

The other issue it shows is that people are quite happy to take their school’s logo and throw it around. I’m sure that enforcing restrictions on a school’s copyrighted logos would be an “easy” way to knock out the lookalikes.

When there’s no official group…

So – perhaps I’m a bit hard on the un-official groups… There is one situation where it makes perfectly good sense to create a group – when the organization has not stepped in to create it’s own group. If State Tech hasn’t created a group, by all means let’s allow someone else to do so. (but it’s got to respect the school’s copyrights on their logo and other images:-)

Well – that’s what I’ve come up with this first day – have you spotted any other issues with groups now that you can see what’s out there?

steve