Today I wanted to invite someone to contact on LinkedIn and got the requirement to enter their e-mail address, followed by this warning:
“Your account has been restricted because a significant number of LinkedIn users whom you have invited to your network have indicated that they don’t know you. Use of LinkedIn is subject to the terms of our User Agreement, which you have violated. An example of the violation includes breach of Section 11, LinkedIn User DOs & DON’Ts.”
It says further that I can remove this restriction by acknowledging the policy, but if they “find me in violation” again, they may suspend my account altogether. I counted the “Don’t know” responses to my invitations and found there are exactly 10 of them. What the hell? I have had a LinkedIn account for, probably, 5 years or more, and I have over 500 contacts. In all these years, during my interactions with all these numbers of people just 10 of them said they did not know me. I would say I am a paragon of prudency and trustworthiness.
By the way, it is not true that these people did not know me: I always use only the business cards people give me (their own business cards, that is), and only after talking to them at a conference or something like that. In all these cases where the people said they did not know me, what they really meant was that they did not know me well enough and preferred not to connect. LinkedIn, however, does not distinguish between this case and the case when a complete stranger approaches you after telling LinkedIn he’s your friend. As God is my witness, I receive a lot of this crap, especially from recruiters, and this definitely must be stopped. I understand the need for such policy and I am all for it. But there is an obvious difference between approaching a complete stranger under false pretenses and trying to connect to someone you met at a conference and exchanged business cards with.
Also, I entered those e-mails when I sent out the invitations (since I had the business cards), so I don’t really see how the requirement to enter emails would prevent me from sending those invitations in the first place. Therefore, the policy is not only insulting but useless.
And the moral of that is… LinkedIn’s usability, that was always great, started, sadly, to leave much to be desired. I am not going to “remove the restriction” because the way they phrase it, it is an insulting lie. Agreeing to what they say basically equals admitting that I was trying to deceive people to get in contact with them, and agreeing to LinkedIn removing my account altogether on the slightest pretext. For example, if somebody else says “don’t know her” instead of “don’t know her well enough” (and the latter option just is not there when you accept or reject an invitation).