Can Linkedin save Slideshare?

What was once a top 100 website in the world has been left behind — and is in serious risk of complete failure. Can LinkedIn save Slideshare?

I fell in love with Slideshare a few years ago and have found it to be one of my most successful social channels, but it’s been losing favor quickly. Over the past year, I’ve noticed Slideshare has been abandoned, dismantled, and now it has reached a point where I feel that if I don’t say something, I may lose my favorite channel.

Here are the three major issues facing Slideshare and what LinkedIn must do to save it.

Lack of humanity

Last year, I posted a slideshare titled 103 Genuine Marketing Thought Leaders. With some serious firepower behind it, I hoped it would make it to this coveted spot. This deck had over 29,000 views, hundreds of tweets from the biggest names in marketing, was featured in multiple top tier publications, and had a beautiful custom design.

All of that, and it didn’t make it to the ‘Today’s top Slides”.

What’s even worse, the ‘top slides’ didn’t change for months! Turns out this wasn’t just me.

Assaf Dudai, the head of content at BrightInfo, had the exact same experience. He even wrote it up in this blog post, Is LinkedIn Killing Slideshare?

During this time, I began to notice all of the employees working at Slideshare were being moved to other places. The news editor I had worked with in the past had been moved off of the product. Today, if you do a search on LinkedIn to find who is still working on the product, there are only a hand full of engineers.

The product has been abandoned in favor of other projects, which I believe to be a case of chasing higher profits.

The truth is, they easily could have made a ton of profit off of Slideshare by doing one simple thing…allowing java script tracking to be placed on the slides. I’d pay dearly for that, and so would every other marketer.

Lack of Basic User Experience

This feature allowed anyone to simply edit the slides they have placed on the channel.This is a major feature for two very simple reasons; it maintains your analytics and your back links.

As a marketer, we work very hard to get backlinks, and drive traffic to our content. Slideshares are a major content asset for many of us, and like Assaf Dudai explained in his article, they worked tirelessly for weeks — writing articles, and getting engagement driving back to the slideshare.

Those backlinks only work when the URL is the same. The re-upload feature allowed them to fix any errors in the slideshare and maintain the backlinks.

Just this week, I uploaded my new Future of Marketing 2018 slideshare and noticed I had a few errors in the deck, which I needed to fix.

I made the changes, and then tried to update the asset. I used to simply click ‘re-upload’ but the button was missing. I did a search to see if I was missing something, only to find this article where Slideshares admits taking it down, and what they expect us to do about it.

Thank you for your email and I am sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. We’re always looking for ways to improve the SlideShare experience for our members. This sometimes means removing features that aren’t heavily used to invest in others that offer greater value. Please know we continuously evaluate how features and products are used, and make adjustments accordingly to focus our resources on providing the most value to our members.

As a result, we have removed the ability to re-upload documents to SlideShare. As a workaround, you can upload a new file to SlideShare and delete the current one. Please be aware that this means we will not be able to transfer any views/likes/URL’s to the new presentation. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience and we greatly appreciate your feedback. We have documented the issue in order to track additional reports of the problem and for consideration to be addressed in a future release. If there’s anything else I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

The fact that they would kill a feature without understanding how and why it is important shows they did ZERO work talking with customers before making this change. I found lots of others with this same concern about how this will significantly affect their usage.

Ed Dolan was the first to write about this issue on his blog, and the 29 comments all have the exact same frustration I do.

Ignacio Gallego commented:

Hi Ed, I’m a librarian working for the technical university library of Madrid, Spain [https://www.slideshare.net/biblioupm]. A few days ago, we discovered that the Slideshare reupload option had disappeared and are desperate. We usually upload and share our content via Slideshare to all our social media networks specifically because we can make modifications without changing the URL… we no longer know what to do, our entire social media strategy has been impacted. We’ve contacted LinkedIn and have still not received a reply. We’ll post it with you when we do. Thanks for the details you´ve shared. Ignacio.

b37dd commented:

It’s really a bad decision of Slideshare/LinkedIn to remove the re-upload feature. So there is no chance to keep the own presentation up-to-date (without losing the url link). I don’t understand LinkedIn’s excuse “We’re always looking for ways to improve the SlideShare experience for our members.”

Shan commented:

o frustrated! We have 8 clients that have 2 presentations each that are updated monthly. So now I will have to upload 32 new presentations as well as update the embed code on our website in 32 places EVERY MONTH. This is beyond unbelievable!! I too sent an email to support, but will probably get the same response. Will keep an eye on this blog for updates and news.

This one is simple to fix, all you have to do is put the feature back into the tool.

Moving forward just ask us first. We’re happy to help.

Lack of Support

They were an engineer, since that is all who is left at the division. I got no reply. Then I went through their existing support channels and filled a support ticket.

No reply.

Finally, I went to Twitter and at mentioned both LinkedIn and Slideshare. Once again, no response from either of those handles, but I did get a response from someone letting me know I didn’t tag the correct twitter handle!

Are you kidding me?!

Finally, the correct twitter handle — @LinkedInhelp replied to me and asked for my contact info, and the issue.

Three hours later I got a reply.

Hi Mathew,

Thank you for reaching out about our re-upload feature on Twitter and I am sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. We’re always looking for ways to improve the SlideShare experience for our members. This sometimes means removing features that aren’t heavily used to invest in others that offer greater value. Please know we continuously evaluate how features and products are used, and make adjustments accordingly to focus our resources on providing the most value to our members.

As a result, we have removed the ability to re-upload documents to SlideShare.

As a workaround, you can upload a new file to SlideShare and delete the current one. Please be aware that this means we will not be able to transfer any views/likes/URL’s to the new presentation.

Again, I apologize for the inconvenience and we greatly appreciate your feedback. We have documented the issue in order to track additional reports of the problem and for consideration to be addressed in a future release. If there’s anything else I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

It’s a COPY AND PASTE macro! The exact same word for word from the article online. Seriously, they have zero support on this product now.

If you’re going to expect to keep your status as a top 100 website in the world, you’ve got to support it.

That seems like a no brainer and I feel dumber for having to write that.

The Huckleberry

I can’t invest the hours it takes to create these content assets, and write articles to support them if Slideshare won’t even take the most basic steps of support, and user experience to ensure my investment in time is worthwhile.

Over the past year, it has become clear to me and many others that LinkedIn has given up on Slideshare and this post may be our last hope at getting the message across.

All we are asking for is three things — put some people on the product, fix the issues at hand, and if you want to improve the product, how about you ask some of us.

We’re here to support the tool we love, but currently it doesn’t seem that LinkedIn is.

Director of Market Strategy @Salesforce, Author of The Context Marketing Revolution (HBR 20), and contributor to Forbes, AdAge. Covering the Future of Marketing