After a little bit of detective work, what I discovered is that LinkedIn killed this feature for the “stated” reason of cutting down on fraud, scams, and abuse. I personally still suspect it had more to do for profitability reasons. But regardless, I figured out that you actually CAN still send a free message to fellow Group members, if you happen to know where to look! They’ve now hidden this feature several layers deep. Here are the steps involved:
1) Click the “Groups” button on the top LinkedIn menu bar
2) Open up the Group page in question you share with the person
3) Scroll through the “Members” tab until you find the target individual
4) Hover your mouse over their name and a “Send a Message” link will appear on the far right side of the screen
5) Click on this button, compose your message, and fire it off!
You can read Matt's full posting here: