How to Reduce SPAM from LinkedIn

LinkedIn claims to be a network for professionals wanting to make professional connections.  The degree to which you can network depends on how much time and effort a person is willing to invest.  Linked in currently claims to have more than 90 million members worldwide.

Spam is defined as any unsolicited email.  The definition provided by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) goes on to include any message regardless of the device receiving the message, which includes text messages on cell phones (FCC 2003).

With that said, LinkedIn is just one of many companies based in the United States which do not currently meet the very relaxed CAN SPAM Act requirements, despite these legal requirements being out for nearly a decade.  This guide will show you the numerous places and settings to help reduce spam from LinkedIn but it’s worth noting that the only way to completely reduce all spam from LinkedIn is to close your account with them or contact LinkedIn’s customer support and request to be put on the suppression list.

Below is an overview of LinkedIn’s account dashboard.  You will need to navigate to multiple locations within this dashboard to unsubscribe yourself from receiving spam and choose which emails you are willing to receive.  The overall process can take anywhere from 15-45 minutes based on your familiarization with LinkedIn.  The screenshot below shows the “Email Preferences” tab.  Please note that there are seven (7) links you will need to click and set your preferences.  This only covers the “Email preferences” tab.  You will need to visit the other tabs and links in your account to ensure all of your email preferences are set.

Overview of LinkedIn SPAM Options

Overview of LinkedIn SPAM Options

Below is a screenshot of the “Set the frequency of emails”.  Because you cannot completely opt out of receiving from LinkedIn, you’ll have to set the frequency to a bearable amount.  Again, if you absolutely wish to not receive any more spam, you’ll have to contact customer support and open a ticket or delete your LinkedIn account.  Before you do this, I recommend you opt out of LinkedIn sharing your information with its business partners.

Frequency of SPAM

To opt out of receiving spam from LinkedIn’s business partners you will need to navigate to the screen below by clicking “Turn on/off partner InMail”.  The default setting is for your information to be shared.  LinkedIn claims it will not disclose your information to its marketing partners which means it is likely selling the rights to spam you to outside organizations.  This is likely the first time you are seeing this as this option isn’t available during your account setup.  Unless you specifically come looking for a way to disable for spam, you aren’t going to run across this.
So just who can send you emails?  The default is any one of the 90 million plus members LinkedIn claims to have worldwide as of January 2011 (LinkedIn).  You didn’t know you were allowing 90 million plus people to send you spam along with anyone who pays LinkedIn to send you “informational and promotional messages”?

Linkedin Sells/Shares Your Information

Linkedin Sells/Shares Your Information

As you can see in the screenshot below, which was taken after unchecking all the opportunities, you can’t completely unsubscribe from receiving LinkedIn spam.  The default has you subscribed to everything, which allows LinkedIn to make more money by spamming you on behalf of its “partners” for a fee.  You can either choose to receive “Introductions and InMail only” or “Introductions Only”, but you must choose one of those options, a policy enforced by their use of radio buttons instead of check boxes.

You Can't Completely Unsubscribe From LinkedIn

You Can't Completely Unsubscribe From LinkedIn

At this point, you will be unsubscribed from most of LinkedIn’s spam but to completely stop receiving spam you will need to delete your account or open a customer service ticket to add your email to the suppression list.  Hopefully this post has shown you the many places where you will need to set your email preferences.  Unfortunately, most people assume that LinkedIn is an ethical company which would offer a convenient and CAN SPAM Act compliant method to completely unsubscribe from all mailings.

LinkedIn is copyrighted and any use of their name here is to report on their substandard emailing practices and how you can reduce the amount of spam you receive from LinkedIn.  The screenshots are current as of February 2011 and are subject to change.  You can read more on LinkedIn’s copyright here.

To file a complaint you can use the FTC web form or you can forward the spam emails to spam at uce.gov.

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