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GROWTH CAN BE UGLY: LinkedIn Clarifies that Working Girls Aren't Welcome...

I called the use of LinkedIn by professional escorts back in March. Check out the data from that post below:

"The keyword "sexy" generated 13% of my profile views generated by a keyword search. Search keyworlds

Sexy.  Boom.  That just happened.  See the graphic to the right."

So 13% of the keyword searches that led to a click-through of my profile started with the word "sexy".  I later found that the following text in my profile (talking about my other blog, Fistful of Talent) was the source of the keyword in question. Here's what it says:

"The origin of FOT is simple to trace. In late 2007, Kris Dunn (KD) got a call from a major conference company: “We want to hire you to create a Talent Management blog for our new website”, the suits said, “Like the HR Capitalist but without all the boring HR stuff like legal issues and employee relations tactics – just the sexy stuff.”

I thought that proved that lots of people are using LinkedIn for... Let's say "interesting" reasons. Check out what I wrote in March:

"VP of HR" produced 1% of the profile views from all total keyword searches that ended up on my profile. "Sexy" returned 13%.

You tell me what people are using LinkedIn for.  I'm out."

LinkedIn announced yesterday that working girls/guys are specifically prohibited from using its platform to market services.  More from The Verge:

"LinkedIn has set itself up as one of the premiere sites for professionals to connect and look for employment, but one controversial category of workers appears to be getting the cold shoulder: sex workers are now prohibited from using the service to advertise their wares or their experience. This new restriction appears to cover both larger agencies like VIP escort services as well as individual workers. The change comes through an update to LinkedIn's user agreement that rolled out last week; it now states that "even if it is legal where you are located, [users may not] create profiles or provide content that promotes escort services or prostitution." It appears that even those whose sex-related careers are legal, LinkedIn doesn't want to promote such content on its site.

Unsurprisingly, there's been a bit of an online backlash from sex workers who used the site to connect with clients — and there's a sense of discrimination because of the more risqué nature of their businesses. "I'm fully legal," says Madison Graham, a prostitute at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch North in Carson City NV. "I'm a legal business, and I should be treated with the same respect as any other legal business." But as a private site, LinkedIn is well within its rights to make these decisions, and it's not really a change from its earlier policy. "To be totally clear, our policy has not changed," Madey said. "We didn't allow profiles to promote these kinds of activities before, and we still don't."

The moral of the story? Growth is ugly. Provide a way to network and connect, and you never know how use of your service is going to evolve. 

LinkedIn has an escort problem, and it's likely that they'll have other problems related to splinter groups they don't want broadly identified with their service. Tumblr, just acquired by Yahoo, is widely reported to have an adult content problem. Gotta be proactive related to killing that type of stuff if you're going to keep upselling corporations with recruiting accounts.

No word on whether the escort InMail response rate was higher or lower than that of Java Developers.  

On the plus side, even though lots of people found me this way, no one ever "reached" out.


Dawn Boyer

I can tell you now it's not the words in a string, but potentially all the words within one paragraph or profile - here's my list of key words that my profile comes up from a query below. NOTICE how # 10 is "men looking for women" ??? WTH????

1. dawn 3%
2. delete 2%
3. delete profile 1%
4. delete contact 1%
5. delete connections 1%
6. vol 1%
7. how to delete connections 1%
8. delete contacts 1%
9. virginia 1%
10. women looking for men

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