The timing of my blog posts concerning monetizing your LinkedIn connections has to be coincidental, but yesterday, for the first time, I received an email (which was probably sent out to all of this person’s LinkedIn connections) which was an offering, in essence, to sell his LinkedIn account.
He explained how he was getting out of business and didn’t need his LinkedIn account anymore. And thus he would sell it for $10. Now, you could transfer ownership of an account by simply changing the email address and password. But something tells me that he is looking to sell his email database, which you can easily export to a .csv file, for $10. And if he has 1,500 connections and 10% or 150 people bite, he could take in $1,500. Not bad for some pocket money.
Which brings me to the point that for a lot of people who want to sell into this type of market, the connections themselves don’t mean anything. They don’t have time for it. They want to acquire email addresses from a certain demographic. And, indeed, the person selling his profile gave a % breakdown of who was in his network by job type. This perfectly fits the model, if the demographic matches, for someone who just wants to acquire email addresses for whatever purpose. We may start seeing more of this in the future as more people might want to sell LinkedIn accounts for similar purposes.
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What is LinkedIn doing about this? You may not have noticed the change, but two weeks ago when I uploaded a .csv file of contacts to send out invites, I was asked for the first time to enter that CAPTCHA text that appeared on the screen in order to authorize me. I had seen this being used at ticketmaster.com and other e-commerce sites to authorize that it indeed was a person and not a machine entering the data, but is this necessary to do on a social networking platform?
Perhaps LinkedIn has caught on to this and is now monitoring those who upload .csv files to see if someone is doing this for multiple accounts or if the same data is being uploaded by many people. Once you enter that text, I am assuming that at least LinkedIn is recording your IP address, and therefore they could potentially refuse upload requests at a later date from you… I maybe wrong or paranoid about this, but something tells me that they implemented this functionality for a specific reason.
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Which raises a bigger question about privacy and how secure your secret information is. It is clear that once you connect with someone that you don’t know, your email address together with your connection’s LinkedIn profile may be up for sale to the highest bidder.
Conclusion: be careful networking out there!
Note: Read this if you want to sell to your LinkedIn connections.