Connectifier Attempts A Comeback and LinkedIn Updates Its Terms of Service

On March 8th LinkedIn announced that LinkedIn Recruiter users would now have full access to Connectifier at no additional charge. It appears this was also the case before this announcement, but LinkedIn wasn’t pushing the tool as prevalently before this time. When one looks at the Chrome Store for the Connectifier extension, it shows that the Connectifier Social Links tool was last updated on September 11th, 2017. That indeed is a reasonably substantial period for an update given how Chrome extensions are evolving and as quickly.

It has been roughly two years since Connectifier was in effect a part of the LinkedIn family of products. As most acquisitions go, it takes time to integrate tools into the formal components of an enterprise, but the timing of the announcement, coupled with the roaring economy leave some questions. Among them:

  1. Why announce now? Is it ahead of the quarterly earnings report for LinkedIn?
  2. With tools like Lusha, Hiretual, Seekout, Discoverly, Prophet and others flourishing, what does this announcement mean for the long-term market of staffing based Chrome extensions?
  3. What will it mean for the big picture of talent acquisition tools and contact information discovery finders?

Wizard Sourcer to its credit broke the news on Friday, March 9th and then subsequently posted in the SourceCon Facebook group, and it created quite a bit of buzz:

Here are some current facts about the new announcement that we know already:

  1. It appears to be available to US-based users of LinkedIn.
  2. It currently has a limit of 150 email contact reviews per month, no phone numbers.
  3. The Connectifier tool helps with mapping other social profiles: Facebook, Github, Google+, Twitter, etc.
  4. Credits in Connectifier – per their page: “Each license receives a set number of credits each month to unlock candidate email addresses in Connectifier. Every time you unlock a candidate’s email you utilize one credit. If a candidate has more than one email address listed, you only need one credit to unlock all email addresses.” Source: Connectifier Help
  5. “Credits refresh on the first of every month. Any unused credits at the end of the month won’t roll over to the next month. Credits aren’t pooled with other users at your company.  Note: Credits have always been a feature of Connectifier” Source: Connectifier Help

Upon further review and trying to link my old Connectifier account back with LinkedIn and update I ran into a couple of problems. First, it wanted me to update my account, then later in looking at their search tool and running a few searches I received the following message: “There was an error in executing your search.” I ran this twice, and I still got the same message. This is in the web version vs. the Chrome extension.

Here is a brief screen-shot at what the Connectifier extension once correctly installed looks like (see right of screenshot) source: Connectifier download page, it will then sit to the side of your LinkedIn Recruiter account as you browse profiles and should also give you a mapped view to other social channels:

Note the Connectifier team is still updating as of the time of publication the integration with the most current version of Firefox. The extension appears to work best on Chrome.

 

UPDATED LINKEDIN TERMS OF SERVICE

Aside from this roughly about the time this announcement regarding Connectifier went out a notification on updated LinkedIn Terms of Service was sent to multiple users. This announcement indicates that the new TOS will go into effect on May 8th. It also shows some of these changes are also in line with the European Union General Data Protection Regulation.  Terms of the law can be reviewed here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Data_Protection_Regulation

The differences can also be observed via LinkedIn’s blog:

https://blog.linkedin.com/topic/privacy

A summary of what the complete Terms of Service look like:

Read the review of changes here: https://www.linkedin.com/legal/preview/user-agreement-summary

But to summarize from the above link:

  1. LinkedIn clarifies that when they make a change, they are not retroactive.
  2. They clarified that com members are also considered LinkedIn Community members as it relates to the LinkedIn Agreement.
  3. They clarified that no one should use an account under pretenses, nor can LinkedIn users be under 16 years of age.
  4. Content shared on LinkedIn can be found on other websites, and they clarified this.
  5. They updated the reference to specific process steps regarding “use and share” of content.
  6. Specific social actions will associate a user with the content they generate.
  7. The “embed” feature will allow others to share a public post on other website’s services. For example Twitter.
  8. Renamed “Professional Community Guidelines” to “Professional Community Policies.”
  9. A new section outlines how LinkedIn uses data to make recommendations to the user.
  10. Governing law has been made consistent with the use of the services for the designated country the user is in (for example to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation).
  11. Specific “Dos and Don’ts” were moved to the “Professional Community Policies” section.
  12. Further clarity around the Professional Community Policies is given here: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/89880?lang=en

Full LinkedIn User Agreement here:

https://www.linkedin.com/legal/user-agreement

Final Comments:

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In review of the Do’s and Don’ts section of the User Agreement, one thing remains clear: LinkedIn intends to hold true to this statement that users will not work as per point K:

“Develop, support or use software, devices, scripts, robots, or any other means or processes (including crawlers, browser plugins, and add-ons, or any other technology or manual work) to scrape the services or otherwise copy profiles and other data from the services.”

And Point M…..

“Copy, use, disclose or distribute any information obtained from the Services, whether directly or through third parties (such as search engines), without the consent of LinkedIn;”

And Point N…..

“Solicit email addresses or other personal information from Members you don’t know, without authorization.”

This final point still makes me question – what then is the point of Connectifier if not to find email addresses?

 

What Does It All Mean?

The critical question now sits before the entire talent acquisition community, and I speak with my own opinion and not that of my employer. In the coming months with a tight labor market, and a host of new entrants in the marketplace for talent acquisition solutions dollars, the entire landscape is ripe for disruption. Will tools like Connectifier prove to be the differentiator for contacting candidates? Will InMail response rates increase? How will LinkedIn further change over time? Will the current landscape of solutions providers change their tune to match and modify how they approach the marketplace? Will the new entrants find new revolutions that will in effect revolutionize how talent acquisition runs? Will there be new artificial intelligence integrations with current existing products and further will there be collaboration? How will sourcing transform to keep up with these new developments? The questions are there, and the reality will undoubtedly be determined over time. It would be nice to have a crystal ball, wouldn’t it? Regardless, the one sourcing tool that will and should be at our forefront in getting creative with sourcing needs to remain the one tried and true element of success, and that is “your brain.”

I believe the phone is still our most potent tool. Feel free to disagree, but for all the tools and options out there, yes, the phone to me is always the one thing that makes the difference at every stage of recruiting relevancy, that also includes finding information through networking. More on that soon.

In conclusion, it appears that the remainder of 2018 is going to be a fun roller coaster year for talent acquisition tools, and personally, I am excited to see who will innovate the fastest to create the best value. To LinkedIn and all other service providers, the talent acquisition community calls out to you: Help us be efficient. Help us add value. Help us find the best ways to get to the goal of creating win/wins for all involved in the talent discovery, talent pipeline, and talent attraction process. 2018 appears to be the year some of the mysteries about where the Talent Acquisition Software industry may inevitably be headed will be solved.

Mike Rasmussen, PHR, SHRM-CP is a Talent Acquisition Business Partner with ADP.  Mike works out of his home office in Utah and is a full life cycle recruiter at ADP.  Mike has a passion for Staffing/Recruiting and Sourcing and in his career has helped hire nearly 1000+ professionals in a wide variety of roles from Executive, Technical, Operations, etc.  Today Mike supports Talent Acquisition efforts at ADP in several key Western States.  A contributor to Recruiting Blogs, Mike has been writing regarding Talent Acquisition topics for nearly 8 years.  Connect with Mike via Twitter @MikeRADP.

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