LinkedIn: Comply or Get Spanked!

By: Viveka Friday January 6, 2012 comments Tags: LinkedIn, LinkedInExpert, LinkedIn EUA, End User Agreement, Compliance

What NOT to do on LinkedIn…

Recently my LinkedIn account was suspended – again.  I had already written a whole series on “What NOT to do on LinkedIn” so I thought I was being compliant  - but apparently not.  So here are a few more things I recently discovered NOT to do on LinkedIn!

1.  Don’t put anything other than your name in the name field.  Put only your first LinkedIn Expert” and enjoyed a few great days of Google visibility.  Alas, what I didn’t do was read the End User Agreement that states:

“Do NOT Publish inaccurate information in the designated fields on the profile form (e.g., do not include a link or an email address in the name field). Please also protect sensitive personal information such as your email address, phone number, street address, or other information that is confidential in nature”

Also, you probably don’t want your last name to read something other than your last name for LinkedIn connection find-ability.  If someone is searching for you by name, LinkedIn will have a hard time finding you if your last name looks like this:  Smith, PhD. John A. ([email protected]) LION 941-555-1555

2.  You don’t want to create more than one account.  I have had two accounts for several years.  My real (paid) account that I used for business and a free account I used strictly for training purposes.  Even though I informed LinkedIn about the two accounts and why I was using two accounts, they suspended both and made me choose.  At least they gave me a choice.

I often have people in class ask if they can create two accounts because they have two distinctly different businesses.  The definitive answer is NO, because even through LinkedIn relies on other people turning you in, eventually someone will and you will be forced to choose between accounts – which also means you will lose whatever recommendations and connections you received.  As of this writing LinkedIn does not allow you to merge existing accounts:

LinkedIn may restrict, suspend or terminate the account of any User who abuses or misuses the Services. Misuse of the Services includes … creating multiple or false profiles;

 3.  Don’t do any free marketing for LinkedIn and whatever you do, don’t call yourself a LinkedIn trainer or expert!  Even though I make it very clear in my profile that:  ★★I AM IN NO WAY ASSOCIATED WITH LINKEDIN CORPORATE★★

LinkedIn most recently suspended my account for: “Using the Services commercially without LinkedIn’s authorization, infringing any intellectual property rights…”

They told me:

It is acceptable to state that you train or have expertise in social networking sites in general, but we ask that you do not use the word “LinkedIn” in any of your position titles as this implies affiliation with the company. It is also acceptable to use the word “LinkedIn” in any of your position descriptions, so long as it is also not implying that you are directly affiliated with or endorsed by LinkedIn in anyway.

Which kind of messes with my keyword find-ability, but… what’s a girl to do?

Maybe I can just refer to myself as a LinkEDExpert (according to my dad, this is what I do for a living.)  I like it – emphasis on “Ed”ucation!

4.  One rule I will be breaking is “Don’t invite people you do not know to join your network.”  I figure that since LinkedIn’s Recruiter membership (for 10K+ a year) allows you to connect with anyone you want to, then I can very strategically connect to the few people I don’t know.

I get why LinkedIn has this rule.  It started out as an “Old Boy’s Network” and wants to stay that way.  A strategic circle of trust.  Ideally LinkedIn could keep spammers from infiltrating it as badly as they have infiltrated Twitter.  Of course if you’ve been on LinkedIn lately you’ll know its not working.

Spammers are everywhere. Some things to look out for:

  • Pictures of their family instead of themselves (breaking the rule “Do not upload a profile image that is not your likeness or a head-shot photo.”)

  • They all seem to go to Harvard or Stamford

  • They all are C Level Execs

  • Their profile is exactly the same (except for the name) as the previous 10 people who invited you

  • Their profile is barely filled out

  • They don’t personalize their invitations

If you are going to invite someone you don’t know to connect with you on LinkedIn:

  • Spend a few minutes looking at his or her profile.

  • Personalize your invitation telling them why you want to connect.

  • Reach out to them in an inMail or through a group asking first if you can send an invitation.

  • Don’t use your invitation to ask them for their business.


Here’s some more Do’s and Don’t’s from LinkedIn:

  1. A.        Do undertake the following:

    1. Comply with all applicable laws, including, without limitation, privacy laws, intellectual property laws, export control laws, tax laws, and regulatory requirements;

    2. Provide accurate information to us and update it as necessary;

    3. Review and comply with our Privacy Policy;

    4. Review and comply with notices sent by LinkedIn concerning the Services; and

    5. Use the Services in a professional manner.

  2. B.        Don’t undertake the following:

    1. Act dishonestly or unprofessionally by engaging in unprofessional behavior by posting inappropriate, inaccurate, or objectionable content to LinkedIn;

    2. Publish inaccurate information in the designated fields on the profile form (e.g., do not include a link or an email address in the name field). Please also protect sensitive personal information such as your email address, phone number, street address, or other information that is confidential in nature;

    3. Create a user profile for anyone other than a natural person;

    4. Harass, abuse or harm another person, including sending unwelcomed communications to others using LinkedIn;

    5. Invite people you do not know to join your network;

    6. Upload a profile image that is not your likeness or a head-shot photo;

    7. Use or attempt to use another's account without authorization from the Company, or create a false identity on LinkedIn;

    8. Upload, post, email, InMail, transmit or otherwise make available or initiate any content that:

      1. Falsely states, impersonates or otherwise misrepresents your identity, including but not limited to the use of a pseudonym, or misrepresenting your current or previous positions and qualifications, or your affiliations with a person or entity, past or present;

      2. Is unlawful, libelous, abusive, obscene, discriminatory or otherwise objectionable;

      3. Adds to a content field content that is not intended for such field (i.e. submitting a telephone number in the “title” or any other field, or including telephone numbers, email addresses, street addresses or any personally identifiable information for which there is not a field provided by LinkedIn);

      4. Includes information that you do not have the right to disclose or make available under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships (such as insider information, or proprietary and confidential information learned or disclosed as part of employment relationships or under nondisclosure agreements);

      5. Infringes upon patents, trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights or other proprietary rights;

      6. Includes any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, “junk mail,” “spam,” “chain letters,” “pyramid schemes,” or any other form of solicitation. This prohibition includes but is not limited to (a) using LinkedIn invitations to send messages to people who don’t know you or who are unlikely to recognize you as a known contact; (b) using LinkedIn to connect to people who don’t know you and then sending unsolicited promotional messages to those direct connections without their permission; and (c) sending messages to distribution lists, newsgroup aliases, or group aliases;

      7. Contains software viruses, worms, or any other computer code, files or programs that interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment of LinkedIn or any User of LinkedIn;

      8. Forges headers or otherwise manipulate identifiers in order to disguise the origin of any communication transmitted through the Services; and/or

    9. Participate, directly or indirectly, in the setting up or development of a network that seeks to implement practices that are similar to sales by network or the recruitment of independent home salespeople to the purposes of creating a pyramid scheme or other similar practices.

    10. Duplicate, license, sublicense, publish, broadcast, transmit, distribute, perform, display, sell, rebrand, or otherwise transfer information found on LinkedIn (excluding content posted by you) except as permitted in this Agreement, LinkedIn’s developer terms and policies, or as expressly authorized by LinkedIn;

    11. Reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble, decipher or otherwise attempt to derive the source code for any underlying intellectual property used to provide the Services, or any part thereof

    12. Utilize or copy information, content or any data you view on and/or obtain from LinkedIn to provide any service that is competitive, in LinkedIn’s sole discretion, with LinkedIn;

    13. Imply or state, directly or indirectly, that you are affiliated with or endorsed by LinkedIn unless you have entered into a written agreement with LinkedIn (this includes, but is not limited to, representing yourself as an accredited LinkedIn trainer if you have not been certified by LinkedIn as such);

    14. Adapt, modify or create derivative works based on LinkedIn or technology underlying the Services, or other Users’ content, in whole or part, except as permitted under LinkedIn’s developer program;

    15. Rent, lease, loan, trade, sell/re-sell access to LinkedIn or any information therein, or the equivalent, in whole or part;

    16. Sell, sponsor, or otherwise monetize a LinkedIn Group or any other service or functionality of LinkedIn, without the express written permission of LinkedIn.

    17. Deep-link to the Site for any purpose, (i.e. including a link to a LinkedIn web page other than LinkedIn’s home page) unless expressly authorized in writing by LinkedIn or for the purpose of promoting your profile or a Group on LinkedIn as set forth in the Brand Guidelines;

    18. Remove any copyright, trademark or other proprietary rights notices contained in or on LinkedIn, including those of both LinkedIn and any of its licensors;

    19. Remove, cover or otherwise obscure any form of advertisement included on LinkedIn;

    20. Collect, use, copy, or transfer any information, including, but not limited to, personally identifiable information obtained from LinkedIn except as expressly permitted in this Agreement or as the owner of such information may expressly permit;

    21. Share information of non-Users without their express consent;

    22. Infringe or use LinkedIn’s brand, logos and/or trademarks, including, without limitation, using the word “LinkedIn” in any business name, email, or URL or including LinkedIn’s trademarks and logos except as provided in the Brand Guidelines or as expressly permitted by LinkedIn;

    23. Use manual or automated software, devices, scripts robots, other means or processes to access, “scrape,” “crawl” or “spider” any web pages or other services contained in the site;

    24. Use bots or other automated methods to access LinkedIn, add or download contacts, send or redirect messages, or perform other activities through LinkedIn, unless explicitly permitted by LinkedIn;

    25. Access, via automated or manual means or processes, LinkedIn for purposes of monitoring LinkedIn’s availability, performance or functionality for any competitive purpose;

    26. Engage in “framing,” “mirroring,” or otherwise simulating the appearance or function of LinkedIn’s website;

    27. Attempt to or actually access LinkedIn by any means other than through the interfaces provided by LinkedIn such as its mobile application or by navigating to using a web browser. This prohibition includes accessing or attempting to access LinkedIn using any third-party service, including software-as-a-service platforms that aggregate access to multiple services, including LinkedIn;

    28. Attempt to or actually override any security component included in or underlying LinkedIn;

    29. Engage in any action that directly or indirectly interferes with the proper working of or places an unreasonable load on LinkedIn’s infrastructure, including, but not limited to, sending unsolicited communications to other Users or LinkedIn personnel, attempting to gain unauthorized access to LinkedIn, or transmitting or activating computer viruses through or on LinkedIn;



About the Author: Viveka

Viveka is author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and is known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert”.
CEO of Linked Into Business, she also hosts the biggest LinkedIn chat on Twitter.  Forbes has listed her as a top social media influencer for three years running, and she has been cited in Ragan, CNN, Forbes, Mashable, Simple Living, Bloomberg, LinkedIn's Small Business Site and "The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn, The Miami Herald, Social Media Today and The Social Media Examiner!

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