LinkedIn Cracks Down on User Agreement and Launches New Ad Campaign

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If you are a LinkedIn user it is time to review the LinkedIn User Agreement. If you don’t, you might find your LinkedIn account is suspended the next time you go to use it.

In the past, LinkedIn may have been a little bit more lenient on their user agreement, allowing some users to get away with displaying a branding statement as part of their name field. Now, this is no longer the case.

LinkedIn’s Trust and Safety team is giving violators fair warning. They are currently in the process of suspending accounts by taking them off line for at least thirty days.

The LinkedIn User Agreement requires use of true names rather than pseudonyms, business names, associations, groups, email addresses, or other characters when registering on the site.

LinkedIn believes any information other than first and last names in the name fields undermines the professional nature of their site and services.

The site, which is known as The World’s Largest Professional Network, has been known in the past to place restrictions on users’ profiles who overuse the system by trying to connect with too many people they don’t know or being too active with page searches and profile views.

LinkedIn’s crackdown comes at a time when the company has decided to launch a brand new ad campaign. The campaign targets business owners by offering them $50 in free advertising.

For Q4 2012, the company reported a non-GAAP EPS of $303.6 million, an increase of 81 percent compared to $167.7 million in Q4 2011. Net income, too, increased for the quarter to $11.5 million from $6.9 million in Q4 2011.

There are currently over 200 million users on LinkedIn. As of April 2013, it is ranked as the third most popular Social Networking Sites according to

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Greetings! My name is John Sparks. If you or your business wants support with social media, I'm here to help you. I’m the Owner of Online ImageWorks™. "OIW" is a global company providing instruction, training, and assistance on a wide array of social media websites. The company's core competencies are social media, social media strategy, social media marketing, journalism, and education. For more help with all your social media, follow us and contact Online ImageWorks today. ツ


  1. Sharon Hamersley says:

    So…at the same time LinkedIn removes the “Reply Don’t Accept Yet” option for invitations to connect, they are cracking down on how you are presenting yourself? Sounds fishy to me…

    • Hello Sharon, we just looked into this further with our friends at LinkedIn Corporate. The “Reply” Don’t Accept Yet button is still there. On the desktop version, take your cursor and scroll over the envelope notifications icon at the top. Put your cursor in the box of the person you want to send an email out to and click on the dropdown arrow to the right of the accept button. Click “Reply” Don’t Accept Yet to send the member a message. Hope this helps. Let me know how it works for you.

    • @Sharon – I agree with you and I understand why you made the comment. In recent days (last week specifically) LinkedIn was not showing the Accept button we traditionally have seen. It was in smaller font and no button enclosure like the Ignore and Spam icon, just a small blue text. I could not find that “Reply (but do not accept yet)” option either. That was as of Saturday 4/13 at 4pm.

      However, as of this morning 4/16 that Accept icon with the option to respond has returned. I believe the problem last week as LinkedIn has a code error in all their upgrades they were making to the platform and they finally fixed it.

      @John – good article and thank you for sharing.

      • Thank you William and Sharon. Yes, I checked yesterday when I got Sharon’s original comment. It was not showing on the message page and was only accessible through the notifications. However, as of this morning 4/16 the Accept icon with the option to respond has returned. Let’s hope you are correct that it was just a coding error when making the upgrades. Do a lot of people use the “Reply don’t accept” button to resond to connection requests? If so, how do you use it?

        • Hi John– thanks for this article. Sometimes whether or not you know someone– or whether they’re a valuable business contact– isn’t so cut & dry. In addition, the unfortunate truth is that when these ‘gray area’ contacts reach out to you, they don’t introduce themselves well: they often use a LI default canned invite. I use this button often when people reach out to me and I can’t quite tell which project or contacts they’re affiliated with. So John Brown sends me an invite and he’s a 3rd degree connection. I’ll reply to John to inquire how I can assist him… and he’ll say that we worked together with a mutual business contact at Project X. in this instance, I’ll typically accept. On the other hand, if he doesn’t reply, (Or it’s clear that it’s someone just trying to get to my contacts,) then I’ll typically ignore. If you invite me with a default, and then don’t have the courtesy to follow up when I reach out to you, then I’m pretty sure you’re not the type of contact I’m looking for in my immediate network. This button helps to weed those out.

  2. I don’t know about you but I am A-OK with this change. The name field is for your name. Not your tag line, not your company name, not your hook. Is it that hard for people to use the many other fields available to express their brand? This swill simply cause people to be more succinct and strategic about their headline.

    One question I have John, when you say “LinkedIn’s Trust and Safety team is giving violators fair warning”. Are they sending notifications to people before the 30 day ban? Or is the 30 day ban the warning?

    • Great comment and question Johnny. Thank you for joining the discussion. Don’t count on receiving a notification from LinkedIn’s Trust and Safety Team before receiving the 30 day ban. We’ve heard from users who say both. Some say they received a notification. Others saying the first time they were notified was when they tried to log on and their account was suspended. The best thing users can do is to heed caution. If there is any question about what is acceptable use on LinkedIn, wait before posting and check the User Agreement first at or contact LinkedIn Help. Johnny and others: What other fields besides the name field has you our your company found success with in expressing your brand?

  3. Victoria Ipri says:

    John, thanks for supplying this info and thanks to my colleague Donna Serdula for sharing it! I agree with my friend Johnny Bravo…it’s about time! I won’t connect with those who use branding statements in place of f/l names…I only connect with people:) But I had no ‘oomph’ to back up this position previously. Now I do. I’ll share this as well across all platforms…it’s vital information!

  4. I have noticed that they make it difficult to connect with people that you don’t have some type of connection to without paying for their services. I have my profile on linked in for networking purposes. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Christy, don’t feel like you need to pay for their services to enjoy the site. There are ways around this. First, remember never to connect with someone you don’t know on LinkedIn. It could hurt your professional brand or have greater consequences. Anyone you are connected with, you should have some sort of connection. If you don’t and are looking to create one, a way to go about it is try to find them on Twitter and follow them there. You can also see what groups the person is in on their LinkedIn Profile, join one of those groups, and then try sending them a connection request. Let us know how these suggestions work for you!

  5. Thanks for the upfront warning on this, John. I removed my title, “Investigative Reporter” after my Linked In name on your recommendation. While I can see why LinkedIn wouldn’t want name lines to read: “The World’s Best Plumber” or “Book This Clown For Your Party ” I honestly don’t see the distraction of a one or two word description on the name line. In my case, for example, there is another Diane Dimond (same unusual spelling of last name) who is a “Law Professor” at Duke University. Why can’t we differentiate ourselves at-a-glance on LinkedIn’s name line?
    But hey, it’s their candy store and they’ve made the rules! I enjoy your informative site!

    Diane Dimond
    Investigative Journalist/Author/Syndicated Columnist

    • Hi Diane, thank you for your insightful thoughts on this subject matter. I appreciate the time you spent to read and reply to the article. According to LinkedIn’s KEY to Higher Rankings, the name field (which can be 44 Characters in length) has the greatest influence on your profile search ranking on the site. While including the two words “Law Professor” to help distinguish you from another Diane Dimond (same unusual spelling of last name) may not appear to us to be a distraction, it could possibly give us the advantage of coming up first before other “Law Professors” with different names when others go in to do a LinkedIn keywords search. We have tried to contact LinkedIn for an official response and have been told by representatives they’re sorry for not having a quick answer and they have forwarded our message for additional review and advice. As they say in the world of broadcasting, if we hear anything new, we’ll keep you posted. Have a blessed weekend.

  6. The Linkedin user agreement appears to have been last updated in June, 2011. Is there a more recent update that this article is describing? And are you suggesting that I must drop my middle initial to conform to a first and last name only profile name?

  7. Wondering how you, John, and those who visit your website and use LinkedIn feel about their 5/13/13 new user agreement which now claims to own all-encompassing rights (short of sole ownership) to any intellectual property you might post on LinkedIn?
    I read their user agreement and have very strong disagreement with their claim to be able to not just use your content (ideas, blog postings, photos, etc.) in any way they can but to also have the rights to license that property to others.
    I doubt many users read their user agreement but in this case, the continuing use of the website constitutes to LinkedIn agreement to such terms.
    I emailed them to let them know that I didn’t agree with particular sections of the user agreement giving them blanket right to use all posted content forever in any form imaginable now or in the future anywhere they choose. I also complained that such a change in the user agreement should be instituted with an opt-in agreement, not just tacit continuation of use.
    The responses I got from them were so slow, so inept that I’m considering a campaign to get users to realize that while LinkedIn is encouraging people to post photos and other content, it is claiming at the same time to have the right to use that content themselves without any restriction and to further claim rights of ownership which one would normally have to obtain thru a written agreement fromthe creator/owner. I’ve seen next to no commentary or protest against this unacceptable and overreaching policy. What do you think? GG

    • Gene, thank you very much for your comment and question. We feel this is an important detail and should not be overlooked. We also feel users who have not read the updated User Agreement from 5/13/13 should do so before continuing to use LinkedIn. The top of the agreement specifically states it is a legally binding contract. Would you please post the section of the User agreement where you have noticed this change in all-encompassing rights to any intellectual property so that other readers of this blog post will be aware of what this entails?


  1. [...] where do you put it? LinkedIn is getting tougher with it’s user agreements and cracking down on those who seem to be using the system outside [...]

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