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The Peer-to-Peer blog is a forum for Channel Partners readers with the goal of stimulating discussion among partners about important issues impacting their business. The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Channel Partners editors or publishers. If you are interested in submitting a blog, please contact Managing Editor Buffy Naylor, buffy.naylor@informa.com.

How Far Is Too Far?

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By Pam Avila

Is the value of social networking being, in fact, devalued? I’m seeing a strange phenomenon on LinkedIn and I don’t think I like it — at all!

Several weeks ago, out of the blue, I received notification that a number of my contacts had “recommended" me. Knowing that I didn’t ask them to do so, my curiosity was aroused and I contacted some of them. Each of them said that they had received a request for a recommendation for me! Now it may just be me, but I find this rather nervy and invasive on the part of LinkedIn!

Then to add fuel to my fire, I began getting requests to “endorse" people in my network for various skills and they’re getting requests to endorse me for various skills! I can’t speak for the other people, but I haven’t asked anyone to endorse me, yet endorsements are coming in! And who decided what “skills" I would like to have listed? Not me!

Is social networking running amok? Has LinkedIn gone too far with the information each of us provides? Has it diminished the value of recommendations and endorsements when it is sending out requests to anyone in my network to recommend or endorse me?

Many of the people in my network are barely-known business colleagues who are valuable to me because of their company affiliation or position (i.e., they are potential resources for me, just as I am for them). I would never dream of asking many of them for a recommendation — they just don’t know me well enough.

I can’t put my email address in the body of a message to a LinkedIn contact, yet LinkedIn can make requests for recommendations and endorsements on my behalf without my permission?

I’ll probably be banned from LinkedIn after this blog, but really ... they’ve gone too far. What’s next?

Pam Avila is founder of Sierra Summit Group , a consulting group formed in 2002 to address the challenges of building a convergence channel. She also is the channel expert on discussUC.com , an industry resource with more than 11,000 members worldwide. In addition, Avila is the creator and manager of the annual UC3 Summit event. Her channel expertise comes from both managing channel sales organizations and mentoring a nationwide group of “convergence" VARs and telecom dealers called CT Pioneers, which was later merged with CompTIA. She is a member of the 2012-13 Channel Partners Advisory Board .

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