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Why LinkedIn Sucks (and why I’ll keep using it)

Dear Reader,

I am addicted to LinkedIn. I tell my friends that it’s Pokemon for adults. (Gotta collect them all!) It’s fun to be able to see everyone you know and see who they know.

Here’s the problem though, it’s a freakin silo. It’s my data but I can only use it in the 3-5 ways that THEY prescribe. I’ve spent time over the past 3-4 weeks working on a little project to help me visualize my relationships via LinkedIn. The first thing I did was scour the web looking for an API, official or unofficial. No dice. I don’t mean I typed in LinkedIn and API on google and gave up after the first page. I checked every source I could find for one and came up empty handed. (There were, however, numerous posts like this one that gripe about the lack of an API.)

Next I started poking around with some code. Actually, I can now login and see pages but LinkedIn is doing some funny stuff (probably to thwart legitimate users like myself who want to eventually see value in their data) in their HTML, Cookies and JavaScript.

This sucks and I’m calling shenanigans on LinkedIn. Look guys, it’s my data. If I want to mine it for obtuse relationships, I should be able to. Honestly, you are delivering this info via HTML. It is only a matter of time before I or someone brighter than me breaks the code and starts sucking that data into a database that will let me use it instead of pay to use it.

Quit trying to sell me expensive InMail and other cruft and build an API. Don’t TELL me your service is valuable with crap like this plastered everywhere.

LinkedIn makes you 30 times more likely to get a response.

Let me figure out ways to make your service valuable to me. Then if you can figure a way to make that valuable to you, we’ve got a win-win. (Hint to LinkedIn’s CEO, the first win in win-win is the customer, not the company!)

Give us a damn API and I’m betting we find way to make the service valuable to everyone. Then, maybe I’ll pay to join. Not because you made the service valuable but because I did.

Sigh, but I know that no one from LinkedIn will read this and even if they did, they will ignore it like the 5 emails I’ve sent them asking for any hint or clue as to whether they are going to provide us with an API.

Until then, I’ll keep plugging away with my code, and I’ll keep using the service. I continue to use them in the hopes that one day I can free my data. Right now they are the best game in town for collecting professional connections. I just want to actually do something with my connections instead of just looking at them.

When I can finally get my data and start looking at it in fresh and exciting ways, maybe I’ll even tell LinkedIn about it.

Until next time,

DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. Go get your own.