Facebook User Teaches LinkedIn a Branding Lesson

For any company to be successful, the connection it has with its consumers is of extreme relevance. The way it connects, the way it engages and the way it is able to evoke emotions among its consumers to build relationships are elements that interplay collectively to create a powerful brand. Companies invest heavily in branding to not only understand customer needs and wants but also to compete better than competition. This process is demanding, costly and highly volatile. Let’s briefly discuss these three factors.

  1. Demanding: It is demanding in terms of effort required – a company requires specialized strategists who carrying our massive brainstorming to model an effective branding strategy. In the process, companies carry out massive research on where they are doing well and the areas they can capitalize on.
  2. Costly: Branding is expensive! Not only in terms of money but also in terms of time and manpower a company invests to help itself reach a point where it becomes renowned to the target customers.
  3. Volatile: While companies strive to oblige with the two former criteria, a single minute error can tarnish brand image. This is particularly true in the era of social media where brands attempt to relate with consumers via this channel due to the large presence of consumers. If a brand falls in the trap of committing a silly error, it can affect its image adversely. AND LINKEDIN HAS DONE JUST THAT!

On Monday, June 25, 2012, 2am CET, LinkedIn launched an update on its Facebook page stating that Reid Hoffman, the chairperson of the company, had visited the company’s Japanese branch to attend an event. Supposedly, this piece of communication was to hold a link to a video of the event which was directed at people who follow LinkedIn activities on Facebook. Apparently, no link as such as included along with the message. Take a look at this:


Facebook User Teaches LinkedIn a Branding Lesson

Within seconds of the post, one user pointed out what was missing. Within minutes, a second user expressed his discontent. A couple of minutes later, a third user attempted to send out a message to the team responsible for branding and/or social media at LinkedIn by stating what to do to carry out effective media branding (clear as you can see in the image above).

For a while, LinkedIn had not responded to any of the three users who posted comments. Now, what should have LinkedIn done or do? Let the issue cool down or acknowledge the error. The COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg pointed out at the iStrategy Conference in 2011 how brands should react to customer outrage on social media. She stated that furious consumers are just a simple apology away from becoming a brand ambassador. We’ll see if LinkedIn realizes this and complies with the commandment revealed by Sandberg. On the contrary, we can also witness if LinkedIn decides to go with the flow.

Linkedin Confirms Security Breach; Check if Your Password Was Stolen

Earlier this morning a hacker from Russia claimed to have hacked into LinkedIn and managed to steal around 6.46 million hashed passwords, and his fellow hackers have decrypted most of the hashed passwords. LinkedIn, on the other side, took a while to confirm the security breach. In a blog post, nearly after 12 hours, the social media company confirmed that the there was a security breach and “some” passwords were stolen. LinkedIn Director, Vicente Silveira, made the announcement in a postover at the LinkedIn Blog:

We want to provide you with an update on this morning’s reports of stolen passwords. We can confirm that some of the passwords that were compromised correspond to LinkedIn accounts.

Vicente also added the following steps for the compromised accounts:

  1. Members that have accounts associated with the compromised passwords will notice that their LinkedIn account password is no longer valid.
  2. These members will also receive an email from LinkedIn with instructions on how to reset their passwords. There will not be any links in this email. Once you follow this step and request password assistance, then you will receive an email from LinkedIn with a password reset link.
  3. These affected members will receive a second email from our Customer Support team providing a bit more context on this situation and why they are being asked to change their passwords.

Although the hackers did not release any usernames associated with the passwords, all LinkedIn users are asked to immediately change their account passwords. It is also an alert for those users who have used the same password on different website. However, if you’re worried that you may be one among the 6.46 million compromised accounts, then you can confirm it by using a tool released by LastPass. Check If Your LinkedIn Password Was Stolen All you need to do is enter your LinkedIn password in the LastPass’s tool and click on the “Test My Password” button. The tool automatically computes its SHA-1 hash and sends the result to LastPass.com to search the list of 6.46 million leaked password hashes. The security tool is safe and does not store any password that users enter. It is also recommended that you use a password management tool like LastPass, which allows you to manage your passwords and form data, allowing you to easily fill inane forms with the click of a button. Also Read: Lastpass Extension for Google Chrome

6.46 Million Hashed LinkedIn Passwords Stolen; Hackers Trying to Decrypt Them

[Update 2]

LinkedIn has confirmed the security breach. Read the full story here.


LinkedIn Director, Vicente Silveira, has posted a blog post on how users can update their password on LinkedIn along with some recommended account security and privacy tips. The update also indicates that LinkedIn’s “security team continues to investigate this morning’s reports of stolen passwords. At this time, we’re still unable to confirm that any security breach has occurred.”


Yet another security problem that LinkedIn users could face. A user in a Russian forum claims to have hacked into LinkedIn, and has leaked a 118 MB hash file containing passwords of more than 6.4 million LinkedIn users. The user uploaded the file on the Russian forum and his fellow mates are trying to decrypt the hash file.

LinkedIn posted an update on Twitter stating that its team is looking into reports of stolen passwords, however, they haven’t confirmed any security breach yet. It is said that there is a possibility that this could be a hoax, however, according to The Verge, several LinkedIn users have said on Twitter that they found their real LinkedIn passwords as hashes on the list.

Linkedin Twitter Updates

Sophos, a security research company, has confirmed that the hash file contains valid LinkedIn passwords, however, the LinkedIn team is still figuring out if there was a security breach or not. The Russian hacker has uploaded over 6,458,020 hashed passwords, but no usernames are found. It is unclear if the hacker has also managed to obtain usernames, but it’s likely that he might have managed to obtain them.

According to CNET, “LinkedIn passwords are encrypted using an algorithm known as SHA-1, which is considered very secure. Complex passwords will likely take some time to decrypt, but simple ones may be at risk.”

According to LinkedIn’s latest tweet, “Our team continues to investigate, but at this time, we’re still unable to confirm that any security breach has occurred. Stay tuned here”, shows that the social network has not found any evidence as such. It could also mean that the Russian hacker and the other hackers were mistaken that the hashes were LinkedIn passwords.

LinkedIn currently has over 150 million users. Although 6 million is a small number of users, however, it still is unacceptable that such a security breach has taken place. This is a developing story, and we will update this post when more information is available.

As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that all LinkedIn users change their password immediately.  If you’ve been using the same password on other websites, then it is highly recommended that you change them too.

Personal Branding Matters

Strategists recognized the concept of branding as being powerful and influential. While traditional branding was associated with companies and products, the inception of LinkedIn took the concept of branding further to a personal and professional level.

An interview with the co-founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, disclosed his insights pertinent to “how the start-up of you” is correlated with personal branding. Hoffman underpins the importance of a brand and justifies his thought with a number of reasons.

He states one should think about relating with people. They need to realize they “live in a networked world where people Google” them as they are surrounded by “relationships that exist over decades”. People have started to think of an individual as someone “they come to with an opportunity” or “someone they come to for a quest on expertise”. He further affirms that people consider whether a person is someone “they want to work with” or not.

Why a brand matters?

Hoffman stresses that there is substance behind a brand and not just the image. People consider one’s capabilities, how one has succeeded, how one’s relationships are with people and whether one has worked with them in good ways.

All these causes attribute to the fact that the “brand-of-you” is one part of “the-start-up-of-you”. For more inspiration, here is the short clip:

Those of you who still do not have a LinkedIn profile, you might soon be signing up there.

The Facebook IPO is Coming!

Finally, we have some news about the most awaited IPO of the year – Facebook. Apparently, a rumor is floating in Facebook offices that the social networking giant will file its first S-1 before the end of 2011. Mark Zuckerberg has himself said that it is coming, according to a report by Business Insider.

Facebook has long surpassed SEC’s 500 shareholder limit because of which it will be required to disclose its financial data to the public before the end of April 2012.

There are mainly two main reasons why companies choose to remain private – secrecy and control. After it’s forced to disclose its financials, it will lose the advantage of secrecy. Going by the current trend in tech companies, Mark Zuckerberg will be able to maintain a significant amount of control even after going public, thanks to supervoting shares.

It is rumored to have a valuation of around $80 billion currently, and I expect it to go public in the $100 – $120 billion range, assuming it has continued to grow at the same rate in the past few months.

Going public will also enable Facebook to keep its employees happy, by giving them a way to cash out, and become actual millionaires, not just paper ones.

Going by the encouraging response to the Groupon IPO despite being fraught with problems, I expect Facebook will easily be able to list at a $100 billion+ valuation.

A lot of newly minted millionaires are going to be roaming around Silicon Valley soon, thanks to companies like LinkedIn, Groupon, Zynga, Yelp and now Facebook going public.

LinkedIn’s Lockup Period Ends November 21; Massive Selloff in the Offing?

LinkedIn, which had a successful IPO earlier this year, should see a major impact to its stock price in the coming week. Despite listing at a relatively high valuation, LinkedIn has gained around 74% since its IPO on May 19, 2011. Much of the increase can be attributed to the low float. Less than 10% of LinkedIn’s total stock is currently tradable in the open market.

However, on November 21, LinkedIn’s lockup period for its shareholders will end, triggering a potentially huge selloff in the market. LinkedIn’s float is expected to increase significantly next week. Some analysts expect it to more than triple.

LinkedIn’s stock is down around 5% today, following speculation of a highly probable selloff on November 21.

Many of LinkedIn’s early investors and employees are expected to liquidate at least part of their positions in the coming weeks. This will likely spawn a lot of newly minted “LinkedIn millionaires”. Following LinkedIn, even Groupon IPOed earlier this month, and its stock is currently trading at a significant premium to its initial price. Even Zynga is expected to IPO by the end of this month.

Disclosure: I don’t have any open positions in LinkedIn, but I’m very inclined to go short on it.

Why 10 Million Linkedin India users doesn’t matter

Today, Linkedin announced that they have crossed 10 million users from India. That’s quite an achievement. According to the latest data available, around 5.3% of population use in Internet in India as of 2009. That is, almost 16% of Internet users in India have a profile on Linkedin.

But is this a milestone that really matters?

Some  interesting statistics on Linkedin users in India:

  • 16105 professionals listed the term social media’ in their profiles
  • 19027 people in Indian listed bollywood’, hollywood’ or film’ in their LinkedIn profile

Speaking from personal experience, I honored Linkedin today for their 10 million achievement in India by logging in to Linkedin after almost six months. A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to hire a few writers for my site but I surprisingly didn’t even think about Linkedin for the search. Instead I just created  a page for requirements and posted it on Facebook and Twitter. The result? I received more than 30 responses from people whom I would hire in a blink of an eye.

But that’s not all. Apart from being almost useless when it comes to finding a right hire, Linkedin is also a spam center for those social media experts. Here’s Alok Kejriwal from Contest2win.com  outing his frustration on Linkedin spam. As I look in to my Linkedin inbox, I find more requests for endorsements from people with whom I have never done any business and messages from people promoting their business as if they were distributing some broucher advertisement.

There’s no denying that 80% of jobs comes through reference. Job listing sites like Monster, Naukri, etc stand little or no chance is the social age yet major companies make use of these job listing sites for hires.

I am yet to come across anyone receiving a job offer via Linkedin or finding a deserving candidate, for that matter. If you have, please share your story in comments section.

In April, Facebook announced that it has about 25 million (now 28.5 million) users in India.  Facebook users in India range from business people and students to public figures and institutions. And applications like  Branchout could turn into a good alternative to Linkedin without requiring me to logging in to a  separate  site for the same. Unless Linkedin really solves any purpose it will just remain a online presence for me.


LinkedIn Hits 10M Registered Users In India; Doubles User Base In Just 1 Year

LinkedIn – the social network for professionals is seeing a fast growth in India. The company recently did it’s IPO and what could be a more better news than hitting the landmark of 10 Million registered users in India. There are already many online job portals in India such as Naukri.com, Monster.com and others but none provide a social angle to Job hunting, the way LinkedIn does.

Although, there is a desi social network for professional called brijj.com which has 4 Million registered users (claimed) but the experience and user engagement is of no match to LinkedIn. LinkedIn had 5 Million registered users in the month of May last year (2010) and this years 10 Million figure seals LinkedIn’s 100% growth in the country.

In order to increase it’s reach among users and brands, LinkedIn has been taking many initiatives such as the launch of Company pages for all Indian companies. However, LinkedIn needs to do more in order to beat it’s competitors (naukri.com and monster.com) hands down. Naukri.com has a very vast reach in India among users when it comes to searching for jobs as users know these websites as job search engines. LinkedIn has to come up with an awareness campaign for users in India so that they start understanding the power of LinkedIn as well.

LinkedIn Launches “Company Pages” For All Indian Companies

LinkedIn is a special networking website that helps over millions of professionals around the world connect with each other. Recently LinkedIn introduced a feature called “Company Pages” to help companies attract new customers by displaying their products, services and recommendations in a trusted environment. However, this feature was currently available to only 3 companies in India – Volkswagen India, Spear Logistics and Indus Net Technologies.

But now this feature – “Company Pages” has been made available to all Indian Companies irrespective of the company size and it’s business. This is a welcome move from LinkedIn as in today’s digital world, online showcasing and advertising surely helps companies to market their products better.

Hari V Krishnan, country manager for LinkedIn India said that LinkedIn has more plans about engaging with Indian Businesses in real time. He also said that LinkedIn will continue to invest in understanding the Indian consumer’s demands and concluded by saying that LinkedIn has seen almost 100 per cent growth in India this year.

Twitter Ties Up With LinkedIn, WeFollow, Bing For Directory Services

Just a few minutes ago I wrote about a mysterious link called "Directory" appearing on certain profiles in Twitter. It turns out that it is a full page replacement for "Who To Follow" on .

Twitter Directory People

As you can see from the screenshot above, which you can also see for yourself here, Twitter is now displaying "Who to follow" and friend suggestions in an entirely different page altogether.

Twitter Directory Related Services LinkedIn, WeFollow

However, there is a interesting section in the sidebar of this page called "Related Services" where Twitter has tied up with several other networks including LinkedIn, WeFollow and Bing among others. These services will allow you to find your people and follow them on Twitter.

Twitter Directory LinkedIn Service

This tie-up will allow Twitter to tap into other services to allow users to connect to people they already know on different social networking services. Unfortunately, Twitter does not have a tie-up with yet, and Twitter’s co-founder Evan Williams had made that clear at the Web 2.0 summit, which was also reported by the NYT.

So, the mysterious directory service on twitter is after all a way to allow people to connect with more people and also use other services to connect with people they already know there.