Linkedin’s ‘People Also Viewed’ Is A Turn Off

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You should turn off PAV….now.
What’s PAV?
‘People Also Viewed’, it’s a list of 10 people LinkedIn shows each and every browser who comes to your Profile.
I can’t see it.
Only your browsers can see it.
Why can’t I see it?
Who knows? Maybe because if you could see it, you’ll turn it off?
I didn’t know I could turn it off.
Yeah, most people don’t know you can turn it off.
So how do I turn it off?
Go to ‘Account & Settings’ > Privacy & Settings, click ‘manage’, put your password in at the annoying login, click on ‘Show/hide “Viewers of this profile also viewed” box’ and de-select ‘Display “Viewers of this profile also viewed” box on my Profile page’.
Why is it called ‘Viewers of this profile also viewed’ and not ‘People Also Viewed’?
To confuse you some more. I don’t know, sometimes LinkedIn just likes to mess with you.

Though the above conversation is fictional, I’ve had real life variations of it many times. I tell my clients to turn off PAV. Why? Because (a) you can’t see it but your browsers can (b) you have no control over the information shown and (c) do you really need a third reason?

PAV is mysterious and weird. Is it compiled by people you view the most, or by people who view you? Do colleagues automatically appear? Does it change? Can it be gamed?

Let’s do a search on the LinkedIn Help Center:
PAV H Center

Ok, so LinkedIn are telling us that it is made up of profiles that “some others” have looked at, we don’t know who those others are and it does not ‘reveal’ your or anyone else’s browsing history. So if it has nothing to do with our profile, then why the heck is it even there? “You may see it on your own profile”? What? Where? That’s clearly incorrect. One of my goals on LinkedIn is to increase my visibility – but I’d like to do that in a way that I control and without it being hidden from me.

Here’s what you do. Ask a friend to look at your profile. Ask them to send you a screenshot of your PAV. If your PAV is comprised of superstars, celebs and impressive people, don’t change a thing. If on the other hand your PAV is full of competitors, odd choices, people you may not want to be associated with or don’t know, turn that sucker off.  I personally prefer to have people who have landed on my LinkedIn page looking at and focused entirely on me for the longest time, without any distractions or bounce opportunity. I’m selfish that way.
PAV Mash

And if your PAV is populated with attractive, leggy, buxom women with exotic headlines like “Adult Entertainer”, “Performer”, “Model”. You’ve experienced what countless other women on LinkedIn have experienced: PAV stalker phenomenon. This is what happens to PAV when bored, frisky males (or females) start hopping from one attractive photo to another via PAV. And you thought LinkedIn was a professional networking site.

I recently told a woman she ought to turn it off and sent her a screenshot of her PAV (mostly cleavage shots and leggy sex kittens). She lambasted me and accused me of trying to sell my consulting services. You can’t help some people. The kicker? She is a social media consultant with a large team. So, not only was she clueless about the very thing she professed to be an expert at but evidently not one person on her team, or a client, had thought to tell her about her embarrassing, credibility sapping, business killing profile. Of course she turned her PAV off the day after I emailed her. You are welcome.

I CAN HELP YOU WITH LINKEDIN
If you liked this article, you’ll love my LinkedIn coaching and advice. I can write your Summary, improve your entire Profile and help to make LinkedIn work for you. Contact me now: linkedinsights@gmail.com / 773.469.6600 to get started.

By Andy Foote

 

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18 Responses

  1. Victoria Ipri says:

    Andy, LMAO on the comment about the consultant you tried to help. I’ve had the same experience. Some people just don’t want to be helped, right? 🙂 Your sentiments on the PAV echo mine – it’s almost always a list of competitors, so why give them any additional screen time with YOUR customers?

    Good post, my friend.

    • Andy Foote says:

      Thanks Victoria. Yes I was somewhat taken aback by the “Social Media” consultant’s reaction – what could have happened to her for her to react in this uber aggressive, totally unnecessary way?

  2. Thanks Andy.

    1) each one can view this on his profile, without asking to friends. Just click on the “view profile as” blue box at the top or your profile.

    2) If you chose to delete it on your profile, you won’t appear anymore on “people also viewed on other profiles”. So there are 2 possibilities :
    – You keep it on your profile and you appear in “people also viewed on other profiles”.
    – You don’t keep it on your profile and you appear ont other people profiles.

    • Andy Foote says:

      Thank you Cyril.

      (1) I know – but this is complicated to explain to people who don’t use LinkedIn much. I prefer an easy method which has the bonus of added engagement (i.e asking a friend).
      (2) Not true – I tested this again today. I have removed PAV and still appear in other’s PAV results.

  3. I recommend this to all my private marketing coaching clients, Andy…excellent point!

    • Andy Foote says:

      Thanks Christine. A quick cursory check of some of my esteemed LinkedIn coaching colleagues shows that almost all of them choose not to show PAV. I expect that they follow their own teachings 🙂

  4. Cathy Miller says:

    Who knew? Well, besides experts like you, Andy. 😉 Thanks for the info.

  5. Des Walsh says:

    Another winning post, Andy. Heading now for the turnoff switch.

  6. Steve G says:

    Andy:

    I do enjoy your comments and usually agree wholeheartedly with your conclusions. However, I’d like to give you another perspective on this one. In our situation, I recently found the PAV to be extremely helpful.

    To summarize, we were in a competitive bidding process for a very important contract. From an initial pool of over 100, the finalists went down to 20, then 10, 3 and then only two of us remained. I knew the choice was being made by a vote of over 30 individuals. Many were checking my LinkedIn profile. By looking at the PAV, I was instantly able to ascertain who the other finalist was, something I otherwise would have had no idea about. Granted, there was nothing I could do about it at that point. However, I was able to do research the other individual and that did provide some additional confidence during the waiting period.

    I can also see where the PAV is helpful in a more general sense to understand where prospective clients are looking, in which firms THEY considered to be our “competitors.” This, of course, is far more important than who I consider to be our competitors.

    Just another perspective.

    Keep up the good work.

    Steve

    • Andy Foote says:

      Thanks Steve. You’ve given an example of how you were able to use your PAV and ultimately benefit from that seemingly random list of LinkedIn users and that’s great. Most people don’t get that lucky or don’t know how to leverage PAV. You could have gotten that information by turning PAV on and then turning it off again, which reduces the chance of anyone else seeing/benefiting from or using that information to compete with/against you. I personally have used PAV many times in the way you have, I always thought that leaving organizational/competitive info like that ‘lying around’ was a mistake.

  7. tim says:

    Great article. Time and again, when visiting the profile of a female connection, I’ve seen the People Also Viewed section filled with very racy photographs and have always wondered why that is. Well, that’s not right – I did know why that is and it’s pretty creepy. I plan on forwarding your article to the victims of this I come across.

  8. I agree Andy, PAV is mostly useless information. However, my recruiter friends say they will look at the list to see if another potential candidate is in the list.

    I turned it off because I do not need a list of my peers showing up on my own profile page. As much as I like you guys, my LinkedIn Profile needs to be all about me.

    BTW, I’ve not heard that my profile has shown up in the middle of a PAV list of adult entertainers. This hurts. (LOL)

  9. Con says:

    Andy,
    Great post.
    Can you remove the PAV feature on a company page ?
    This is equally stupid… it promotes your competitors

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