No, that is not a question that I personally asked recently, but one asked by someone in my network. This is someone who is not a spammer, not even involved in marketing, and generally keeps a low profile on the social networking site. This person is also not a LinkedIn LION and only has a few hundred connections. Why was their account restricted? For being too active! And if you are not careful, your account may be suspended as well! Here’s how:
The official response given by LinkedIn on why my friend’s account was suddenly suspended was:
“We have recently noticed a large number of page searches and profile views through your LinkedIn account. We are aware that you may be using an automated or manual process to systematically view LinkedIn web pages.
The information within LinkedIn is provided by our users for usage on the site only. In order to protect user privacy, our User Agreement prohibits using:
1. Automated or manual means to view an excessively high number of profiles or mini-profiles.
2. Automated means to run searches to collect or store data obtained from our site.”
The funny thing is that my friend was not doing any of the above: They were merely taking advantage of the new LinkedIn feature to tag your connections by looking at the different options that existed and making sure that all connections had the proper tags on them. Sure, it generated a lot of clicks, but it obviously was not even closely related to the activity that this person was accused to have been doing.
Why do I bring this up?
- Anybody who is too “active” and generated a lot of clicks may have their account suspended with no warning. If you want to do some research on the social networking site, do it over a few day period to spread out the clicks. As you can see from the case study above, the number of clicks you generate are being monitored and not what specific activity you are doing, so anyone could be considered guilty of this.
- You also want to avoid a suspension of your account for another important reason: it took customer service nearly two weeks to get back to my friend with their initial response. That’s right, for two weeks my friend was in limbo and couldn’t access their account. Can you live without access to your account for two weeks? I’d go crazy! And the potential opportunity loss for business is an issue that your company may have to face if you are getting business leads from LinkedIn.
- This is a case where LinkedIn was being paranoid and automatically slapping the wrist of an innocent user. Who knows what could happen to you? Make sure you get into the habit of backing up your LinkedIn connections for these types of worst case scenarios.
This blog post is an example of an amazing Catch 22: LinkedIn wants us to be active on their site by introducing a lot of new features to us, but when we are too active we get penalized and have to deal with slow response times. I hope you’ll agree in hoping that LinkedIn can:
- Create a better way of monitoring usage on their site so as not to penalize innocent people
- Give a warning before suspending someone’s account
- Be a little nicer in their communication instead of accusing someone that they are guilty and forcing you to prove your innocence (LinkedIn is an American company, right?)
- Be a little bit quicker in their response when an account has been suspended. Two weeks is absurd. Understanding that it requires money to hire customer support professionals and that priority is placed on paid accounts, at least trying to respond to suspended accounts within 72 hours would be ideal.
And there are apparently other reasons why your account may be suspended. As I was writing this blog post, one of my blog readers sent me this message:
Neal, I am not sure how you were able to reach customer service at Linkedin. I have sent no less than 3 emails to customer service from my primary email address in the last 72 hours because they have restricted my account based on the number of people who have viewed my profile in the last week. This all occurred because I created a new group that has generated alot of interest and is adding members everyday at a high rate. The one phone number found…for customer service just leads to voice mail. So to my group members it appears that I have just abandoned the group and to others who have sent me email it looks as though I am not responding.
What is going on here?
Is LinkedIn becoming the New Big Brother? Let’s hope not!
Do you have other personal experiences of being suspended on LinkedIn or know of others who have had their accounts restricted? Please share your information for all of us to learn by. Thank you.