Stop in the name of the law

Many of you will have seen that there was a recent judgement against LinkedIn in its case against a HiQ – a startup business that uses automation to scrape data from public profiles.

There is a lengthy court document here which goes into some detail about the reasons around the judgement.

At the heart of the matter, is the fact that members own their own content and grant LinkedIn a non-exclusive license to “use, copy, modify, distribute, publish, and process” that information.  LinkedIn were told that it cannot stop HiQ from scraping its data as it was, in effect, public domain information and that users of LinkedIn were able to set their own privacy controls to determine what information resides in the public domain.

Putting the rumour to bed

Hopefully this puts the minds at rest for some of you that were starting to get concerned by the continual rumour and speculation swirling around the internet and various lead generation forums that all automation tools were set to be shut down.

To be honest though, this is unlikely to be the end of the matter and the issue of authorisation may eventually need to be decided by the Supreme Court.  No-one knows where this will end up if we are being honest.

This means that we are continuing to advise our customers that they should operate to the best practice guidelines that have helped keep our many thousands of customers safe.  It is worth recapping some of these which include:

- Use our recommended settings, and only override these with care.  We know some people such as expert users, will want to run Dux-Soup at full throttle but make sure you understand and appreciate the risks of doing this.

- Keep an eye on how many connection requests you are sending and make sure that you are not exceeding the 3-5% rule for what proportion of your total connections, you should send out as new connection requests.

- Be relevant – this should be the first thing you are thinking about when sending out new connection requests or follow up messages in a drip campaign.  Unless you have something that is relevant to the target audience, you are unlikely to get a good response.

- Following on from relevance, this can be achieved by being as targeted as possible, use filters to narrow down your search to a more manageable number.  This helps with relevance and will help you avoid being seen as spam, making it less likely that you will pick up too many ‘I don’t know this connection’ responses, which as we all should know by now, is a red flag to LinkedIn.  One of my favourite tips is to set Dux-Soup to scrape the members of a group (need the link to the article showing how to do this)

- Remember you are dealing with another person when selling on LinkedIn, so put some time into thinking what you can provide that has value.  This could be an article, an offer, a demo, live trial or even a video.  Some people are having success with niche customised videos for example.

In fact, as I write these tips, it reminds me of the playbooks and guidance articles that we have provided in the past such as Using LinkedIn automation safely;

Conclusion

LinkedIn automation tools have been around for many years.  I think they will all be around for many years to come.  At Dux,our philosophy is that automation tools should take away the ‘heavy lifting’behind LinkedIn lead generation so that you can focus on what really matters.  This could be selling, pipeline building, growing a network, launching a new business.  You get the point.

If you operate within best practice guidelines, then you will have the best of both worlds, a lower risk LinkedIn strategy.  And that benefits everyone.

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