Illegal list building through LinkedIn. Just stop it.

The email address I use for LinkedIn is unique, so when I get spammed to it, I know it's only come from one source.

While tempting to share a screenshot of my inbox, I have decided instead to focus on the damage it does to the sender.

Where my data knowledge comes from.

Having started and exited two database marketing companies, I have been at the forefront of consumer and industry debate around privacy laws. I was on the Executive Committee of the Data Council for the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA), helping shape industry self-regulation and the National Privacy Principals. I have also had my fair share of fielding Current Affairs investigations here in Australia and offshore. Whether you operate inside or outside of the law, privacy complaints are still going to surface. Believe me, you want to be on the right side of the law when they do.

Privacy complaints are something you want to avoid.

Penalties are rarely handed down, but when a recipient complains, it comes from feeling violated and the wrath is severe. Maybe the person has something else going on in their life and your email is the trigger that unleashes anger. Maybe you have only sent one email, but, that is the hundredth unsolicited email that person has received. Maybe you thought the content of your email would genuinely relate to and help the recipient, but from their perspective you are costing them time and energy.

Privacy complaints trigger greater public backlash and brand devastation than unhappy paying clients. Trust is severed, disgust spreads quickly and conversation starts questioning the stability of your business citing SPAM as a desperate marketing strategy. Ouch, yes.

Accept they're just not that into you

If someone wants to know about you and be part of your community they will follow you, they will participate, they will hear from other people, they will see you, they will sign up. Data marketing 101 is to remove people who are not interested. Adding people who are not interested is a disaster waiting to happen.

What you can do with LinkedIn data

Databases with unsolicited emails can be used for targeted advertising on social networks and are also great for demographic profiling. The data can also be stored to speed up verification when you are chatting with the person.

Further external reading

How Not to P**s Off Your LinkedIn Connections While List Building - Business2Community

SPAM legislation and enforcement - ADMA website