And LinkedIn Taketh Away…

LinkedIn appears to be pruning the “tree of all things LinkedIn” quite a bit lately.

Reader Jake commented on my January 2010 article that covered how to add an RSS feed to your group – it was a useful feature that deserved talking about.

But alas, while the feature isn’t gone completely, it’s no longer available…


That definitely described my reaction to reading his comment. LinkedIn would do such a thing? Easy enough to check – I went to one of my groups and tried to add an RSS feed…
Image showing altered options for RSS for LinkedIn Groups

Exactly as Jake had suggested.


What this means

If you happened to have added an RSS feed to your group, it may work. (notice the operative word may)

If you ever remove the feed, it’s gone.

You can’t add a new feed.

The effect

In practical terms, the feature is dead when all existing groups that use the feed go away. And that will probably magically happen some night when a mysterious bug causes all feeds to fail, and the only offered fix is “please remove the feed and re-add it”.

(Did you catch that slick part where support suggests that a group administrator voluntarily removes a group feed, but then actually has no means to re-add the feed – presto – RSS feeds into groups are no more…)

The product that delights versus the product that makes money

I’ll classify this as a “Godin-ism”.

LinkedIn worked because it was a nifty idea that used technology to enable people to reach out to their network – and their network’s network. The people working on it loved the concept and really tried to delight the existing (and potential) user base by developing all sorts of nifty things that could be done with it.

That caused it to be one the very few social innovations that didn’t have a terrible time making money.

And then things turned.

Because now it’s just a product that’s looking for other ways to make money.

And it will make money – for a while.

Cutting your way to success

While it is absolutely true that wasteful spending is a terrible thing to have to endure, one hardly ever sees a growth company cutting their way to success.

It does remind me of a particularly funny memo that circulated in Kodak in the mid 90s. The memo came all the way down from one of the top 5 executives in the company. It was a directive to stop buying office supplies.

It seemed that the exec was linking the (presumably modest) expense of running an office to the strategic directions of the company. I’m certain most Kodakers from that era will recall the “paperclip and stationary” memo; I have never spoken to one that didn’t see it as a Dilbert-like joke about the company’s executives…

Perhaps that’s what trading on the stock exchange does to you these days.

To your continued success,

Steven Tylock


  1. So sad too Steve because now the adding news articles as discussions is even buggier than before. So they are trying to make it harder to make something that work swiftly/easily (RSS Feeds) into something much more complicated, time-consuming and ultimately more unattractive due to the bugs. Speaking of bugs, you can no longer edit the photos or titles for articles you post from links in new discussions. And this is the feature they are pushing you to, instead of RSS feeds.

    You are right. LI will make money for a time, but until then, they will continue to be their own worst enemy due to ever-increasing greed for more revenue. Sad, becaue the initial LI, like you said, was a good site and idea. What it is becoming (burying Job discussions instead of pushing paid Job posts) is an ugly version of its former self.

  2. Thanks for dropping in. You know it’s almost as if there’s a new position titled “remover of useful things” that’s in charge – but perhaps that statement is too Dibert-esque…


  3. Steve,

    LOL, exactly.

    Well if that is not bad enough. As of today on the top of the groups it says:

    “As of Mar 15, 2013, we’ll no longer support RSS feeds in LinkedIn Groups.”

    If it wasn’t so sad, it would be comedy.

  4. I also went to take a look in their help section and got this below. It can’t get more ironic …

    LinkedIn Answers – No Longer Supported
    Where is the Answers feature?
    Last Updated: 01/16/2013 Report Answer Inaccuracies
    As of January 31, 2013, the LinkedIn Answers feature will be retired from LinkedIn. We’ll be focusing our efforts on the development of new and more engaging ways to share and discuss professional topics across LinkedIn. In the meantime, you can still pose questions and facilitate professional discussions through other popular LinkedIn channels including LinkedIn Polls, Groups, or status updates.

  5. Over the years I have found it interesting to compare help/faq text against the “we just changed this feature but we’ll talk about it as if it was always this way” promotions.

    I bet you can still find some that explain how useful it is to add RSS feeds to your group…


  6. I suspect there are larger money forces at work. 1. twitter updates no longer work with linkedin updates, why ? Linkedin now public traded, thus twitter wants cut.

    2. Just so happens this timing is congruent with new google algorhythm and terms of service that will cut, atop, delete all copyright violations by sites.

    Since linkedin is using the rss feeds to make money, they are no longer fair use, but commercial, and thus violating copyright laws.

    I have 8,000 people in my group, i spend too much time beating away spammers, and recruiters abusing my main discussion board.

  7. Kevin,

    Thanks for commenting.

    I take some odd perspectives at times, but I have to say this is a bit out there…

    RSS is promoted by sites to get their own blurbs out there – it seems quite odd to think that a site that promotes its own RSS feed would consider the incorporation of that RSS feed on another site as a violation.

    But hey – what do I know;-)


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