A couple of months ago I came across this LinkedIn status update:

LinkedIn Hoax - I have a Bet With One of My Bosses

When I saw this update for the third time I thought to myself: “This is incredible!”.. although I knew in the bottom of my heart that it was probably not true it still is very fun to see the power of a status update. As a marketer I wondered what kind of impact this would have on the person putting up the status update and on those commenting and liking the status.

As a marketer I also wondered if the results of this update status could be duplicated and improved upon and I brainstormed ways that we can make the message better to insure the success of this “LinkedIn Viral Marketing Experiment”. After some simple wordsmithing I came up with this:

“I have a bet with one of my bosses today. He thinks that using LinkedIn is a waste of time and does not see the benefit. So he has agreed to give $1 to charity for every like/comment I get. Considering I have 5,000+ connections I reckon I will get $2,500 out of this. Help me out guys!”

 Note: Now for those of you still reading this post please understand that the statement is not true. I never made a bet with my boss about LinkedIn. This update status was a marketing experiment in order to document the spread of the message and the impact that it has on your network and those who comment and “Like” it. You can also read my other post about some of the “viral lessons” that I learned from this here

However, a donation WAS made to a charity and I’ll share that information in just a minute.

Once I posted this status the “Likes” and comments rolled in. We achieved the $2,500 goal within a week. But in the 2nd week is when things really started to get out of hand. Not only was I getting “Likes” and comments but the amount of Network Invites that I got was ridiculous.

LinkedIn Invites Spam Viral

I received over 1900+ invitations to connect

The first couple of weeks were overwhelming with invitations being received on an hourly basis after the 3rd week the invitations dropped off significantly. I attributed the invitations for a couple of reasons.

1) – Invitations came from LinkedIn Open Networkers (LIONS) and Spammers. They stumbled upon my status and thought…”Hey this guy would probably accept my invitation.”

2) – Invitations came from people that wanted to “Like” or Comment. Supposedly,
LinkedIn was requiring them to be connected to me in order to leave a comment or even be able to Like my status.

3) – The high amount of visibility that I received was ridiculous  Check out the graph below showing how much traffic my LinkedIn profile got. When you’re getting all this traffic people are bound to send you an invite.

LinkedIn Profile Trends and Traffic

At the peak week my profile received 4,310 views


Besides getting tons of traffic and invitations the complaints and hate messages also rolled in. Here’s a sample of one Tim C. Snyder Makes Threats on LinkedIn

Tim C. Snyder even had the gull to call and leave threats on my voicemail. Very scary stuff! On his LinkedIn profile he claims to work for the “Institute For Intelligence And Special Task”…I definitely see the”special” but I don’t know about that “intelligence” part.

However, people were getting mad for a couple of reasons:

1) LinkedIn can be spammy..what I mean by this is when you Like or Comment on a status update if your settings are not appropriately setup you would get tons of messages, emails and notifications. This can drive a sane person looney. However, I am not to blame for this. Many people have never really dug into their email and notification settings and therefore end up subscribing to threads that they don’t want to receive a bunch of notifications for. My advice is to carefully review your settings before Liking and Commenting and if you subscribe make sure you understand how to unsubscribe later if it gets to be too much.

2) People are naturally cynical. Although, they want to believe that Liking the status will do good, they have been scammed before or let down, so naturally they are resistant to jumping on the bandwagon and therefore demand proof and updates and comment on the status that that the person is full of B.S.

2)  People were seeing this status AGAIN! Those people made sure to voice their opinion and commented that they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that money would never be donated and that the status update was spam and strictly for marketing purposes. These folks were partially correct! Although the status update was put up mainly for marketing and research purposes they were wrong about the charity part…….with that

I am very happy to announce that I have made a donation of $2,500 to The Foundation of The World.

Foundation of the World Charity The Foundation of the World is a not-for-profit humanitarian service organization founded on September 11th, 2009 with the purpose of catering to the needs of our brothers and sisters providing them with the basic necessities to prepare them to become prosperous individuals. Through mobilizing communities to assist us with this effort we can pave the way leading to a more hopeful tomorrow.  The three main focuses of Foundation for the World are education, health, and wealth applicable to every individual. Foundation of the World also seeks to respond to local and global disasters both assisting and coordinating relief efforts.

If you would like to make a difference and pitch in you can send donations to:

Attn: Foundation of The World P.O. Box 611652, Miami, Florida 33261

The Foundation of the World is a 501c3 non-profit educational humanitarian service organization.

If you would like more information about Foundation of the World visit: http://www.foundationoftheworld.org/ or contact them at 305.206.1492


Although, I was unable to donate $44,228 by myself this time around just imagine if everyone who Liked or Commented on the update sent a $1 to The Foundation of the World!

Together we can make a difference in our community’s education, health and wealth…one LinkedIn update status at a time.

I have a bet with one of my bosses


Comments, complaints, feedback….leave them below. I would love to hear what you’ve got to say.

P.S: Have you read 5 Ways To Go Viral On LinkedIn and Beyond? Check it out now.