Today I received a LinkedIn invite from someone who had the wording “TRUE LION” with a trademark symbol in their profile headline. I was definitely confused about what this could mean, but after doing a little research on the issue, it is apparent that there is now a three-way fight for the heart of the LinkedIn Open Networker.
In order to fully understand the background, please make sure you read my previous posts on What is a LinkedIn LION? – A 2009 Revision, Are There People Monetizing Their LinkedIn Connections?, and Other Ways to Monetize your LinkedIn Connections.
In essence, there are is a large community within LinkedIn that treasures the opportunity to connect with others regardless of what that purpose may be. Before the revised LinkedIn search application was made available a few months ago, the more connections that you had the easier you could be found because those with more connections would appear higher in the search results. This is no longer the case, but despite that there are still numerous advantages to building out a large virtual network on LinkedIn if it is properly aligned with your objective.
The traditional LION movement still has its own original LION LinkedIn group, but TopLinked.com surpassed the original LION group in terms of membership sometime ago. And more recently Networkers United has been gaining membership quickly, growing to 10,000 members in only three months. This sort of growth is unprecedented since the time I have been a heavy LinkedIn user. The unifying factor between these three groups, as well as a few others that exist on LinkedIn, is that the members of these groups usually will accept invites and not respond with the dreaded IDK. The rapid growth of membership in Networkers United is a testament that there is still a growing appetite to openly connect from many LinkedIn members.
As reported on my monetizing your connections blog posts, both TopLinked.com and Networkers United have started new for-pay Invite Lists and a network affiliate system to pay handsome commissions to those networkers that get new members to sign up. In fact, both groups have used their official LinkedIn Group names to advertise themselves whenever you see the logo appear in a group member’s profile:
“TopLinked.com ~ Check out the NEW TopLinked.com (now powered by OpenNetworker.com)”
“Networkers United – Community of Open Networkers that Refer Business, Exchange ideas, help others”
If I am not mistaken, both of these groups changed their official names in the last 48 hours as their battle for membership rages on. With these groups getting the attention of the open networkers, it was only a matter of time before the original LION group struck back with their own marketing campaign. And this is what the TRUE LION movement has come back with:
“LION (Trademark) Worn with Pride! [Choose wisely...] <BEWARE OF COUNTERFEITS>”
Further below in the group profile for this group appears the term “TRUE LION (Trademark)” for the first time. So the TRUE LION movement is an attempt by the original LinkedIn LION group to both differentiate themselves as well as remind everyone that they are the “authentic” LinkedIn group for LIONs.
So, if you are a LION, do you now need to become a TRUE LION? Absolutely not! Remember, LION is about OPEN NETWORKING, so any attempt to say that one group is better than the next goes against the basic philosophy of what OPEN means. In addition, considering how few characters we have to put in our Profile Headlines, just adding the four-letter “TRUE” word is asking a lot from its group members in terms of character investment.
That being said, I do expect that you will see this “TRUE LION” terminology in more profile headlines going forward. Just don’t be confused about it, because a LION is a LION. After all, if you declare yourself a LION, you become one! It’s that simple.