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Why Isn’t There a Better Interface Between JibberJobber and LinkedIn?

September 13th, 2011

Last week someone deleted their JibberJobber account and said they wanted a better/tighter interface between LinkedIn and JibberJobber.

I want one too.

We do have various access points between LinkedIn and JibberJobber, but it’s not enough.

I’ve been asking LinkedIn for years for more and better access.

Before they had they API they basically said “go find where other companies interface with us, and you can copy that.”

After they released their API they said “go for it!”

HOWEVER, there was one really, really, really big HOWEVER.

While the technology is in place to have a better, tighter interface, the LinkedIn terms of service will not allow us to do what we want.

LinkedIn’s position is that the data in LinkedIn is THEIR data, and no third party system (like JibberJobber) is allowed to take the data out and put it elsewhere.

In other words, we can’t do a one-click synchronization.

We can’t have a browser toolbar that allows you to scrape data from a LinkedIn user profile.

Even if you are a First Degree Contact, which means the other person agreed to be connected with you, you are not allowed to take the data from their Profile and put it anywhere.

There is a term: storable data, that makes a lot of what YOU want to do impossible.

Technically, it’s possible, and easy.  Legally, it is not possible.

We could fudge it and just do it, however (a) that would be wrong of us, and (b) if LinkedIn found out YOU used a tool to break their rules, they might penalize YOUR account.  And I don’t want to be responsible for your LinkedIn account getting penalized (disabled).

If you are interested in more information on this issue (which is not uncommon), see this very good powerpoint.

Here is the regular LinkedIn user Terms of Service. Here is a developer Terms of Service (for Plugins).  Here’s the main one, though, precluding us from doing what you want (from the LinkedIn API Terms of Service):

3.4.1 Prohibition on Copying and Storage. You may not copy, store or cache any Content returned or received through the APIs, including data about users, longer than the current usage session of the user for which it was obtained, except for the alphanumeric user IDs (Member Tokens) which we provide you for identifying users or any individual member’s authentication token (OAuth Token) which we provide you when a LinkedIn user authenticates your Application to his LinkedIn account.

Want this changed?  Ask LinkedIn to let JibberJobber users get an exception :)

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