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LinkedIn Connections & Email Lists – How Not to Abuse Your Contact Information

Because I just got spammed by yet another indie author who scraped or downloaded my email address from LinkedIn today, I figured it’d be a good day to write this post. Today I want to talk about spam, consent, and where you get your email list.

LinkedIn has a feature where you can download your contacts through an archive feature, which includes your contacts’ emails. For spammers, this is a great thing, because it’s an instant list that they didn’t really have to work for. They can just connect with a ton of people and then email blast them all after exporting their contact data. Unfortunately, this is exactly what some indie authors have chosen to do – spam everyone on their LinkedIn contact list with their newsletter.

Spamming is a big no-no. So is importing your LinkedIn contacts into your email distribution list. These are people who have chosen to connect with you; not people that have signed up for your email list. Connecting with someone on LinkedIn or anywhere else does not mean they give you consent to be added to your email newsletter, no matter how great you think your newsletter is or how wonderful your book is. You have to respect your contacts and their information, regardless of how you came about obtaining it.

It’s perfectly acceptable to use the LinkedIn messaging feature to do an introduction email and perhaps even provide your other social media links. But it’s not okay to use LinkedIn to constantly message people with sales pitches, newsletters, and even extract their data into your own email newsletter platform. It’s spam, and it’s against the law. You either need consent or to have had a business transaction with the person in order to add someone to your email list.

So please, please, please, protect the integrity of your email list and don’t risk getting booted by your email provider by making extremely unlawful and risky moves such as this. All it takes is one email to reach one person who has nothing better to do and unlimited funds to report you to the government and get a substantial fine assessed to you as a penalty. Imagine if someone actually did take the opportunity to report you and pursued it. All for a $.99 download on Amazon. Is it really worth it? Absolutely not.

Do me a favor – share this post with your followers so that all indie authors are on the same page with this, because it seems to be happening more and more.


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