There were a number of tweets, blog posts and online discussions late last week that stirred up a great deal of confusion over whether or not you would soon still be able to send free messages to fellow group group members on LinkedIn. I’ve got the straight dope from LinkedIn and will demonstrate with multiple screenshots what is still free for everyone and what is not going to be free for LinkedIn Recruiter license holders.
I believe the confusion began with emails LinkedIn recently sent out to Recruiter license holders explaining that they will be disabling the ability to send free InMails to group members from LinkedIn Recruiter as of January 14th.
Based on the chatter online, some people seem to have incorrectly interpreted this to mean that no one will be able to send free messages to fellow group members on LinkedIn.com any more (see example image at the bottom of the post).
This tweet from LinkedIn cleared up the confusion for me on Friday:
However, as I began to write this post, I came across several examples of people I know claiming they spoke with LinkedIn reps who said free group messaging was being eliminated for everyone. Even though I was quite confident that @HireOnLinkedIn knew her stuff, I decided to check with her one last time:
Within 2 hours of that tweet (on Sunday!), I received an email from a Senior LinkedIn PMM copying several other LinkedIn folks definitively clarifying that free group messaging on LinkedIn isn’t going anywhere:
As you have noticed (and commented in Social Media), we have disabled the ability send to FREE InMails to Fellow Group Members from Linked Recruiter. This Change is only applicable to LinkedIn Recruiter customers (not LinkedIn members).
Background: When the feature was launched in LinkedIn Recruiter several years ago, the intention was to provide members with an opportunity to connect and share ideas within groups while enabling recruiters to participate and find talent. Based on a recent analysis, we have noticed that this feature is being used in ways we hadn’t anticipated, often creating negative experiences for both members and recruiters.
Here are some additional clarification points.
1. Free Group messaging is and WILL CONTINUE TO BE AVAILABLE to all LinkedIn members
2. All group members CAN continue to send messages to fellow group members on LinkedIn.com
3. LinkedIn Recruiter customers CAN continue to send InMails to fellow group members but these InMails will be deducted from their allotted InMail credits.
Finally to answer your tweet: Free group messaging isn’t going away for any member.
Hope this clarifies any confusion.
It certainly clears things up for me.
Screenshots: LinkedIn InMails to Fellow Group Members
This is what will no longer be free – from LinkedIn Recruiter ONLY, as of January 14th:
Prior to the change LinkedIn is instituting, this is what you would see when attempting to send a message to someone with whom you have a group in common:
After the change, this is what it will look like to LinkedIn Recruiter users even if they do have a group in common with the person they are trying to message:
Screenshots: Free LinkedIn Group Messaging
When you’re on LinkedIn.com and in a LinkedIn group and you want to send a message to someone, even if they aren’t connected to you in any way other than sharing the same group, you will still be able to send free messages to anyone who hasn’t disabled the ability.
When you click “send message,” here is what you will continue to see:
So keep calm and message on.
I should remind you that LinkedIn group members can elect to not allow other group members to send them messages via LinkedIn. Here is where users can find this group messaging setting: