I’ve been looking at the LinkedIn terms of service recently and they are a lot stricter than most people are aware of.
The LinkedIn User Agreement is quite explicit in what can and cannot be put into your profile. It is worthwhile reading this to ensure you know that you comply with the Linkedin terms of service guidelines.
I’ve done a survey of all my connections (1053 as of August 2013) and 68 of them have something other than their name in the First and Last Name fields.
This ranges from someone who has put
- some of their qualifications, e.g. an MBA or similar
- or their company name,
- or a phone number,
- or their website
- or a general description which should be in their headline
- to someone who has put both their first and last names into the first name field and
- someone who has put their headline into their first name field and first and last names into their last name field.
Any of these examples could lead to LinkedIn suspending or closing your account.
That represents 6% of my connections who could technically have their LinkedIn account closed by LinkedIn. In practice LinkedIn are unlikely to do this but will contact you first (via email) and ask you to change it.
I will admit I was guilty of this a while ago. I thought that it would help to say that I was a LinkedIn trainer in the Last Name field. And I think it possibly did boost my search rankings for a while. However, I then logged a call for a problem I was having with another part of LinkedIn and I got an email back saying I needed to remove it or my account would be suspended. Now as training on LinkedIn is my business you can imagine it would be rather inconvenient to not be able to access it so it was changed extremely rapidly!
Your LinkedIn profile photo
You also may not realise that LinkedIn requires a headshot photo of you. This means you cannot put the company logo or an illustration. Photographs of you together with anyone else are not allowed.
Check and update your profile
So once you’ve read this post, take a look at your LinkedIn profile and if you have anything other than your first and last name in those fields, click on Edit and remove the extra information so you comply with the LinkedIn terms of service. Add it to your Headline if relevant. Also check your profile photograph complies.
Have LinkedIn ever contacted you to ask you to change your profile or warned you they may suspend your account?