LinkedIn sent a notice email to users today to warn them that it is "retiring LinkedIn Intro".
Intro unveiled in October 2013. So, it is barely a few months old. It seems strange to retire such a young service but not necessarily surprising considering the overwhelmingly negative feedback it had received.
LinkedIn took a chance on Intro. That's because, at least at surface-level, it seemed very unique, even though the service auto-inserted contact information into your iPhone’s Mail app. Specifically, it would scan your email, and then add related LinkedIn contact details as HTML.
Intro also showed you LinkedIn profiles in your iPhone Mail app. Here's an example of how Intro would work: if you ever receive an email from someone you don’t know, Intro could help by showing you immediately what the person looks like, where he or she is from, and what he or she does for a living by pulling up LinkedIn information.
Sounds cool, right? Well, it didn't take long for critics to cry privacy violation. Shortly after Intro launched, security firm Bishop Fox described it as "a dream for attackers." The point was loud and clear: Intro was a grievous mistake on LinkedIn's behalf, even if it was useful.
So, why did LinkedIn officially "retire" Intro? The reasoning is not exactly clear. LinkedIn simply said it strives to deliver product experiences that delight users, and sometimes it also has to shut down certain products or features to "focus on the most relevant offerings."
Vague, indeed. It's therefore hard to tell if all the privacy talk negatively impacted Intro, or maybe it was something else entirely. It could be possible that users didn't really enjoy or adopt the service as LinkedIn had hoped. But that's just speculation, really.
LinkedIn confirmed it will permanently shut down Intro on 7 March. All Intro users must uninstall and switch back to their previous mail accounts by then.