Noah's A+ Theory: How to get Users more Involved

March 10, 2006 - Get free updates of new posts here

I was playing on Linkedin a few days ago and realized they added this box called ‘profile completeness’ that shows how complete your profile is. What does that mean? It means having a certain # of jobs, descriptions, testimonials and other things. Who cares? Well I do, kind of, because TONS of people are now more inclined to update their stuff since they want an A+


I think this is a brilliant trick as we are all inclined to succeed. When we were in class NO ONE wants to get a C. We hopefully all want to succeed and get at least an A-. Connection? If you see that 50% on your profile what are you going to do about it? I think you are so much more likely to go do the required things till you make that grade.

Other sites that utilize the psychology of success to their advantages are:

eBay: Not a perfect match but you HATE having a rating of less than 90%. This has other implications but in general people want to not mess things up so they can have that great rating.

Yelp: Yes, even though I talked trash on their users, this sites ‘Elite’ badge now motivates them to write more reviews. The benefits aren’t necessarily their for that title but it does promote people to do more so they can get the A+.

yelp elite badge

I just think it’s a cool marketing tactic within your site to get more user involvement. Another thing to consider is the user benefit for the A+. Any other sites that I missed?

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13 responses to “Noah's A+ Theory: How to get Users more Involved

  1. derek Reply

    haven’t no experience with linkedin, i can’t chime in with personal initial thoughts or feelings regarding the new profile completeness feature.

    from an outsiders point of view, couldn’t something like this be possibly viewed as a negative addition? i’m not sure. does linkedin allow other users to view what percentage your own profile is sitting at? if so, this may create a “big headed” atmosphere amongst users.

    i’m contemplating whether or not i should get “linkedin”.

  2. Noah Kagan Reply

    i don’t think its a negative addition since its only viewable by yourself. i think in linkedin’s perspective you should be able to hide that option if you feel you ‘own’ your profile.

  3. Damon Z Reply

    I have tried LinkedIn to make contacts and I have gotten no responses. I am not a reference so I asked around and it seems to be the same story… The site might want to focus more on attracting recruiters.

  4. Wen Reply


    Who are you trying to meet? I probably get a 50% response rate on LinkedIn (but I work here). What kind of requests are you making?

    You need to make sure your requests are the following:

    1) Short
    2) To the point
    3) Valuable.

    Also, it always helps to have your connector write something nice about you. Of course, my best story is the first time I used Linkedin, I actually got a job out of it.


    I am extremely annoyed at having a 95% completeness on my profile. Want to endorse me? Ha, maybe after the HFG conference.

  5. Sherman Reply

    i think this was a great observation on your part noah. i agree with the psychology that everyone wants to be as close to an A+ 100% as possible. in fact when i am talking to customers and they are concerned with the accuracy of the information posted on LinkedIn — i’ve been giving this exact example and customers have agreed that it makes sense. i was able to overcome the objection of ‘why should someone complete their profile on LinkedIn’.

  6. Joe McCarthy Reply

    I’m reminded of a study showing that 85% of adult males in the USA believe they are “above average” drivers, and Lake Wobegon (“where all the children are above average”).

    It’s interesting you used the label “trick” … and I think that any extrinsic motivation is just that, a trick. The _art_ comes in designing a web site (or anything else) so that people have _intrinsic_ motivation to do participate.

    And this notion that everyone should participate on all levels seems to be more of the same kind of conformity –shaving square (and various other geometrically-shaped) pegs to fit into round holes … or using a pick list in an online profile to specify some dimension of your personal or professional interests, skills or experience — that much of our society (educational, religious and [other] commercial institutions) implicitly or explicitly promotes … and so the grade consciousness denoted by “A+” is quite apt.

  7. Ari Reply

    good point. first additional example that comes to my mind is slashdot. perhaps was even more effective when karma used to have a numeric score (but then again, it basically just led to karma whoring, so again not necessarily beneficial).

  8. Jared Morgenstern Reply

    A+ theory applies to the portion of the class that wants A+’s. That’s not all of us. For non type-a personalities, it’s a big stamp that says, this isn’t for you, too much work, the remedial class is down the street.