Are You Really in the 1% of LinkedIn?


Numbers. Sometimes they absolutely drive me nuts. Today is a great example. LinkedIn put out an email congratulating their members who were in the top percent of profiles viewed. Here’s the key… profiles viewed. Here’s what the email looks like… compliments of friend Daren Tomey:

Daren Tomey

Daren is a hard-charger and absolutely in my 1% club of sales executives around the country. I’m not going to take that away from him. The question is why would Daren’s profile be one of the top viewed? And how can you get into the 1 percent club?

Half of the equation is simple, the other half difficult.

  1. First, Daren is charge of sales at Zmags – an digital publishing platform (and a client). Sales is brutal. Turnover is high and companies are always looking for talent. The key here is looking. Looking = views. So, put sales management or sales executive in your profile and you’ll skyrocket. Within my network, most of the top percenters were in sales.
  2. Second, work hard at connecting on LinkedIn. Daren knows just about everyone in the country from every major company. He’s an incredible networker and has a ton of relationships. He’s well-respected in the software and technology industry and in the who’s who of sales leaders. The more connections, the better the chances that his profile is being viewed.

Buzzfeed did a nice job of breaking down the numbers and rightly criticizing the subsequent sharing that happened across the social web. This campaign was a shill… it manipulated people into sharing the LinkedIn brand – which is strongly evident on the outbound communications.

This is the kind of campaign that drives me nuts. The percent is a ridiculous number that means nothing… truly nothing. If you’re a superstar in your field that is picky about who you connect with on LinkedIn, you didn’t get one of these emails. But if you’re in an industry with heavy recruitment with a big network… and you’re crappy at your job… you still received one of these emails.

Reputation be damned, endorsements discarded… just tell someone they’re special so they share it. And it worked flawlessly.

Reminds me of one of my T-shirts: You are special. Just like everyone else.


  1. 1

    Doug nice piece and thought provoking however while this campaign is a shill – what it aims to get people in this 1% or 5% or 10% thinking about is – hmmm Im obviously more interesting than i thought 🙂 maybe I want to know who is looking at my profile? And For only $16 (or more) – I can find out.

    Be interesting to know how many premium sign ups they got 🙂

  2. 3

    Thank you for checking into this. My 5% was suspicious. I’m semi-active, but not enough to warrant being that high in the top. Duncan has a good point below – I wonder how many premiums were sold as a result?

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    Douglas, great post. As soon as I got the 5%, I thought “I’m one in 10M…not so special.) I did succumb to sharing it on LinkedIn (only); but I did not pay for the premium service to find out any more details. Maybe you should use this comment section to see what other reactions people have…

    • 8

      Absolutely welcome comments on whether or not the campaign succeeded. My guess is that, because it’s a bait and switch style messaging, it didn’t do well. Even though it got a ton of attention.

  5. 9

    My thoughts exactly. I’ve heard that even cops who’ve done the “good cop, bad cop” routine during interviews fall for it themselves. So it was with me and my 5% score from LinkedIn. Even though I knew it was an unremarkable stat (I don’t get *that* many views) I somehow felt compelled to tweet about it! I refrained.

  6. 10

    I’m pretty active on LinkedIn and I’m also purposeful about growing my network. I think the information is insightful and the marketing campaign is genius. I only wish I had thought of it. Doug, you have a glass is half empty view on this. It’s just good food for thought…1%, 5% or 10% of 200 million are large groups to be bundled into, yes. But nevertheless, it’s welcome information. I did tweet my announcement…I thought it was cool. And as a marketing and sales enthusiast, I’m also happy to be part of any innovative (and tasteful) marketing or sales initiative. And truth be told, I’ve probably tweeted a few things that were less interesting before. The conversation you’ve started about this is just more powerful marketing that stemmed from LinkedIn’s recent announcement to the top viewed profiles. I think you might be playing right into their hand.

    I do appreciate your viewpoint though, it’s always cool to see things from another’s perspective. Thanks for starting this discussion!

  7. 11

    Great post. I received an email letting me know that I was within the 5% and I was taken aback – these points were in line with what I was thinking. While I understand the marketing behind it, the fact of the matter is that being honest is more important than trying to make the user feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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    You (and I) are not among the top 1% of LinkedIn members.

    You’re in the 1% most viewed profiles among members, duplicate profiles, people who’ve logged in once and forgotten about it, people who have died, hoaxsters, scammers and spammers.

    But, we’re all vain so we shared it. Good for us!

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