I was talking to a marketing friend of mine and he was telling me with some glee how he harvests thousands of email addresses from LinkedIn all the time. I’m on LinkedIn and I definitely do NOT want my address harvested for spammers. What can I do about it?
One of the hidden problems with LinkedIn from the very beginning of the service is that your profile includes your email address and anyone who’s connected to you can therefore download your address. Your address connected to your profile information, job history, and much more. That’s a lot of data that most of us LinkedIn users don’t even realize is available to others.
Couple that with the never-ending waves of spam and junk email and it’s no wonder that people have been complaining about how nefarious and ill-intentioned people can harvest thousands of addresses tied to a specific theme, topic, college, or business. Your concern after hearing your friend talk about this is completely warranted. In fact, I once attended a talk where a black-hat marketer explained exactly how he created fake profiles and used to them create mailing lists by exporting data from LinkedIn. Fascinating, but rather alarming too.
Fortunately, in the very recent past, LinkedIn appears to have figured out that this is an issue. It’s now a setting in your profile, and the default setting is to block others from grabbing your email address. And remember, LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft. Imagine! 🙂
So let’s have a quick peek at the setting and ensure that your profile is set as desired!
Start by going to LinkedIn in a Web browser and clicking on “Settings & Privacy“:
Choose that, and you’ll get to an area that hopefully you’ve seen before. All the zillion different settings for your LinkedIn account.
Lots to explore, of course:
Before you get sidetracked, however, click on the “Privacy” tab along the top.
Now you’ll see this:
There’s lots of information here, lots of really important settings, actually. This entire section is well worth exploring, but again, let’s stay focused. On the second line, you can see “Who can see your email address“. Click on “Change” adjacent to that and a whole new window appears:
Notice the central section: “Allow your connections to download your email in their data export?” I bet you never realized that was even an option! Now, however, you can turn this feature off. Finally. Just ensure that it’s set to “No”, as shown above.
And that’s it. Done. Now your friend will have a considerably harder time grabbing your email address.
Pro Tip: There’s a lot about LinkedIn that most people don’t know. Check out our LinkedIn help to learn more!