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LinkedIn Jail: How to Avoid It & How To Get Out

A while back, LinkedIn restricted my account.  In this post, I'll discuss several things: 

1) What happens when your account is restricted?
2) How did this happen and why?
3) What do you do if LinkedIn decides to restrict your  account? 

--What happens when your account is Restricted?
LinkedIn is disciplining you.  They Don't want people annoying others by sending invitations to everybody on the planet.  When your account is restricted, you can't send someone an invitation unless you have their email address.  Obviously, this is a huge impediment to reaching out to connect with others.

Now, I do want to point out that LinkedIn is being a bit disingenuous here. On the one hand, they tell us that we should only send invitations to people we know.  On the other, there are all sorts of incentives built into LinkedIn that encourage people to link with LOTS of people--whether or not you will ever meet them in this lifetime. One man in my network has over 26,000 connections, including people on several continents. I'm quite sure he doesn't know all those people.

Just one example of how LinkedIn rewards those with large networks is the advanced Search. If, for example, I search for an accountant, LinkedIn will (generally speaking) present people to me in this order:  first degree connections, then second degree connections, and so on. Here's why this matters.  Suppose I search for accountants who live within ten miles of me. When I perform this search, ONLY accountants who are either first or second degree contacts show up in the 100 names LinkedIn shows me with a regular (free) account. So, the more first degree connections you have, the more likely it is that you will show up prominently in a search.

(By the way, I invite you to attend our FREE WEBINARS  on LinkedIn and other topics) where I explain  ways to tap into the power of LinkedIn). 

How did this happen?
My story is that when I was growing my network, I went to the Add Connections area of LinkedIn and was poking around to see how things worked. I clicked the AOL button to see what would happen.  While I Don't use it much any more, I've had an AOL account for many years, and have a huge address book. To my horror, I found that invitations had been sent to everyone in my address book. The list of people who had gotten invitations from me included people I hadn't talked to in YEARS, others I Don't remember, unknowns automatically added to my address book because we once corresponded, and even a couple people that.....let's just say, I would not choose to be in touch with. Soon, I received a snarky note from my sister asking me why in the world I had sent a LinkedIn invitation to my mother who doesn't know what LinkedIn is. More importantly, some of those who received these invites flagged me as a spammer.  My account got restricted. 

If your account has been restricted, what do you do now?
Go to the LinkedIn Help Center, and search for restricted accounts.  There are instructions for how to lift a restriction.  

But you only get to do this once.  After that, you MAY be permanently restricted.  So be careful when sending out invitations.  The full text from the LinkedIn Help section appears below. 


Are you in career pain of any kind?  If so:  

Here's WHAT THE LINKEDIN HELP SECTION SAYS (NOTE: you will need to the help section itsel

Invitation Restriction

Your account has been restricted because a significant number of LinkedIn users whom you have invited to your network have indicated that they Don't know you. Use of LinkedIn is subject to the terms of our User Agreement, which you have violated. An example of the violation includes breach of Section 10.2.5, LinkedIn User DOs & Don'ts.

"As a condition to access LinkedIn, you agree to this User Agreement and to strictly observe the following DOs and Don'ts:

Don't – Invite people with whom you have no prior relationship to join your network."

By selecting the checkbox and clicking "OK" you Agree you will comply with all the terms of the User Agreement. If you violate the agreement, you acknowledge that your account may remain permanently restricted or be closed by LinkedIn.

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 I have read and agree to the above statement.

 or Cancel 

(MY NOTE:  Checking the box here will not do anything.  You need to go to the LinkedIn help section. If you're still having issues, write to LinkedIn through the help section).

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