Vertical IQ Credit Underwriting Solution

Industry Profiler Vertical IQ released a credit underwriting solution to assist lenders’ credit decisioning.  Vertical IQ has long served financial institutions with a set of plain-English industry overviews for relationship managers.  The new service expands its Industry Risks tab and renames it “Credit Underwriting and Risks.”  A new industry brief is also available.

The new Credit Underwriting and Risks content includes a proprietary Industry Risk Rating based on account financial risk, exit rates, industry performance during downturns, barriers to entry, and the industry outlook.  Other new content includes key industry and economic performance metrics, a Financial Comparison Toolkit that performs custom benchmarking against key financial metrics, and industry-specific credit decisioning considerations.  The Financial Comparison metrics are downloadable for sharing with clients and prospects.

“In today’s volatile market, loan credit underwriters are understandably cautious about their lending decisions.  The Credit Underwriting and Risks Chapter and Industry Brief are quick ways for bankers and credit professionals to get up to speed on the lending environment for a client’s or prospect’s particular industry.”

Vertical IQ CEO Bobby Martin

The new industry brief contains an industry summary, industry risk rating, key performance metrics, financial ratios, important credit underwriting-related considerations, common industry-related risks, and the Financial Comparison Toolkit.

The new Credit Underwriting content is delivered through the desktop application with an API upgrade before the end of the month.  The original content will be extended to additional apps and partners in the coming months.

“Great decisions are made by taking something that is complicated and simplifying it to its primary moving parts. When a banker can do that, he or she offers a more clear understanding and a more fluid and productive conversation. Vertical IQ has simplified the process of analyzing industry risks for the commercial banking world. It is long overdue.”

David Nicholson, Founder of Credit Training, Inc.

Industry-specific financing topics that were already available in the service include discussions of working capital, capital financing, business valuation, and financial benchmarks.

The new content is available within the core service at no additional charge.  However, by extending the value for credit underwriting at banking and commercial finance, Vertical IQ will be improving its seat penetration within those segments.

Vertical IQ has had a busy summer. Along with the credit underwriting solution, they announced integrations with RelPro for banking and Seismic for Sales Enablement.

Rhetorik NetFinder+

Rhetorik launched NetFinder+, its expanded, multi-national platform for technology sales and marketing intelligence.  The new portal provides company, contact, and technographic details for 18 EMEA countries spanning Benelux, Nordics, Iberia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Poland, and Switzerland.  The U.K. and Ireland were already supported, with Greece in development.

CEO Meredith Amdur emphasized the value of having a local, specialist vendor that understands the nuances of European regulations and markets.  “One of the challenges for these vendors is that the country called ‘Europe’ doesn’t exist.  They need a partner like Rhetorik that understands the complexities of Europe, market by market, and language by language, to help them navigate and exploit a region with enormous growth potential.  And they need a service like NetFinder+ that provides current, accurate, and compliant data related to individual IT buyers and influencers across the region to target better prospects, expand into new markets, fill the marketing funnel, and capture the attention of their next best customers.”

In short, said Amdur, Rhetorik offers “accuracy, completeness, and compliance across Europe.”

NetFinder+ sports a new taxonomy with a five-fold expansion in the number of technology categories spanning cloud, enterprise and vertical industry applications, system software, and middleware applications.  The new Rhetorik Technology Classification (RTC) system “refreshes and structures the categorization of business technology assets, services, and products.”

Rhetorik captures up to 164 data fields per site spanning contacts, firmographics, and technographics.  Contact data, which is “compliant with all relevant data privacy and security regulations,” includes name, title, email, and phone number.  When screening, titles are mapped to a broad set of functions and sub-functions, allowing for prospecting by keyword, business role, or technology role.

Coverage spans 277,000 contacts, 275,000 emails, 98,000 sites, and 77,000 companies.  Technographic data covers nearly 2.3 million installations.

Rhetorik emphasizes that contact data is collected subject to the location-level data privacy rules of each jurisdiction and subject to the “Robinson lists” of various jurisdictions (e.g. The CTPS phone opt-out list in the U.K., DNC in Ireland).

“As the total addressable market gets bigger – as illustrated spectacularly by Zoominfo’s IPO declarations – we’re seeing a growing demand for specialized solutions that the biggest U.S.-based players can’t distract themselves to address.  A typical pain point for our customers is they need a multi-territory solution that isn’t easily addressed by “one-size-fits-all” products.  A customer might want a parallel opt-in and opt-out campaign in Europe, plus data discovery in South America, plus cleansing and enriching for an outdated house list encrusted with proprietary taxonomy, and a single point of contact for all of it.”

Rhetorik CEO Meredith Amdur

The service includes a Compliance Centre that contains details on GDPR compliance processes supported by Rhetorik along with customer compliance process recommendations.

Technographic coverage details installed IT assets such as telecoms equipment, networking devices, and server and desktop hardware; software products from traditional enterprise applications; operating systems; cloud platforms; vertical industry applications; services; and consumables suppliers.

Firmographic data is licensed from Dun & Bradstreet and local registries.

As a V1 service, there are a few limitations.  The service is English only and does not yet support any CRMs or MAPs.  Enterprise software connectors are in the works.

The layout follows a traditional sales intelligence user experience; however, the service is mobile adaptive.

NetFinder+ includes a market analytics module that helps product management and competitive intelligence groups evaluate their market position by category and country.  It can also be used to assess complementary partner market share (by installation).

As Rhetorik has historically served the marketing department, the price is determined primarily by the volume of licensed data with “a modest increase” based upon the number of seats.  Firms may license the full Rhetorik+ database or a subset segmented by technology, country, industry, etc.  Full database access begins at £80,000 and includes five seats.  There are no downloading limits.  

CCPA Now in Effect

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into force this week, but enforcement will be delayed for six months.  “We’re going to help folks understand our interpretation of the law,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.  “And once we’ve done those things, our job is to make sure there’s compliance, so we’ll enforce.”

Microsoft indicated that CCPA will be used as a national standard. Microsoft has already extended EU GDPR compliance globally and called privacy “a fundamental human right.”

“CCPA marks an important step toward providing people with more robust control over their data in the United States,” wrote Microsoft’s Chief Privacy Officer Julie Brill.  “It also shows that we can make progress to strengthen privacy protections in this country at the state level even when Congress can’t or won’t act.”

CCPA requires firms to be transparent in how they collect and use consumer data.  Individuals also have the option to block sales of personal data.  However, “Exactly what will be required under CCPA to accomplish these goals is still developing,” wrote Brill.

Microsoft supports a national privacy law which cover “more robust accountability requirements” including minimizing data collection, transparency around how data is being used, and “making them more responsible for analyzing and improving data systems to ensure that they use personal data appropriately.”

Facebook is hedging, saying “we do not sell people’s data” without acknowledging that its business is based on monetizing member data and that it has a poor history of controlling partner data collection on its platform.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff called Facebook the “new cigarettes for our society,” which undermines societal trust.  On CNN’s Reliable Sources, Benioff called for Facebook to be regulated or split up.  “They’re certainly not exactly about truth in advertising.  Even they have said that.  That’s why we’re really in squarely a crisis of trust, when the core vendor themselves cannot say that trust is our most important value.  Look, we’re at a moment in time where each one of us in every company has to ask a question: What is our highest value?”

“I expect a fundamental reconceptualization of what Facebook’s role is in the world,” continued Benioff.  “When you have an entity that large with that much potential impact, and not fundamentally doing good things to improve the state of the world, well, then I think everyone is going to have it in its crosshairs.”

LinkedIn Restates Its Members-First Principles

LinkedIn Logo

In a blog titled, “Maintaining the Trust of our Members,” LinkedIn recommitted itself to a members-first approach.  The Microsoft subsidiary frames its decision-making with the question, “Is this the right thing to do for our members?”

Along with a members-first policy, LinkedIn employs four principles to frame decisions:

  • Members maintain clarity, consistency, and control over their data. This goal is manifested in a broad set of privacy settings, observing the stated wishes of each member, and protecting their data.  Microsoft employs a global GDPR standard and does not transfer member data to other companies.  For example, LinkedIn Sales Navigator limits data access to member-data view-only access, which displays profiles within CRMs and other partner applications but does not transfer data to those platforms.
  • LinkedIn will remain a safe, trusted, and professional platform.  The firm removes content which violates their Professional Community Policies and removes fake profiles, jobs, and companies.
  • LinkedIn is committed to removing unfair bias from its platform so that individuals with equal talent have equal access to opportunity.  “To achieve this goal, we are committed to building a product with no unfair bias that provides opportunity to all of our members.  There is a lot of work still to do, but we are focused on working across our company, with our members and customers, and across the industry to close the network gap.”
  • As a global platform, they are committed to respecting the laws that apply to them and “contributing to the dialogue” about legal frameworks.

LinkedIn Advertising is subject to an initial review.  LinkedIn vets ads to ensure they are non-discriminatory:

“Even if legal in the applicable jurisdiction, LinkedIn does not allow ads that advocate, promote, or contain discriminatory hiring practices or denial of education, housing, or economic opportunity based on age, gender, religion, ethnicity, race, or sexual preference.  Ads that promote the denial or restriction of fair and equal access to education, housing, or credit or career opportunities are prohibited.”

Blake Lawit, LinkedIn General Counsel

The statement of principles comes at a time when other social media firms are struggling to develop rules and policies around political advertising. LinkedIn does not carry political advertising and also restricts adult content, illegal, health, gaming, weapons, multi-level marketing, alcohol, tobacco, and financial (payday loans, cryptocurrency) products.  

LinkedIn continues to grow its customer base with 660 million members across 200 countries and 30 million companies.  The top countries are the United States (165M members), India (62M), China (48M), Brazil (40M), and the UK (27M).

LinkedIn maintains offices in nine US cities and 24 international locations. The platform supports 24 languages.

LinkedIn Concerned about Tech Regulations

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner raised concern about a tide of tech regulation following recent data privacy scandals.  Of particular concern is the impact of removing tech company immunity for the content shared by users under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.  If the Section were removed, social networks would be forced to proactively censor posts.

“Even if the [technology] industry were to do greater self-regulation, you’re going to see more regulatory oversight.”

Just as the wide use of algorithms has provided a megaphone to misinformation and fringe social media, regulation can have unintended consequences.  “The unintended consequences work both ways,” said Weiner.  “Companies make decisions only with the best of intentions, and there are unintended consequences of those decisions.  But from a regulatory perspective, I think it’s the same thing.”

“You could stifle a lot of innovation.  You could stifle a lot of openness.  You could stifle a lot of the things that create value by virtue of changing these liability rules and laws. That is just almost a canonical example of where these unintended consequences would really proliferate.  The things companies would need to do to ensure that they were protected is going to hurt the way in which people can communicate with one another.”

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner

LinkedIn operates in China where it is subject to censorship.  The firm decided to enter the market as it’s mission is to create economic opportunity globally.  “The censorship issue in China is always a painful one,” he said.  “It has to be navigated and managed in the context of the broader vision.” While LinkedIn is advocating for Section 230, its parent company has taken a pro-regulatory view on data privacy, calling for an American version of GDPR.  Microsoft has built GDPR into the infrastructure of its platforms.

Artesian ARCH Compliance Released

ARCH combines firmographics, compliance flags, and credit insights into a unified company profile.
ARCH combines firmographics, compliance flags, and credit insights into a unified company profile.

Artesian Solutions, the UK Sales Intelligence vendor, has been teasing its Artesian Risk and Compliance Hub (ARCH) compliance service for over a year.  The new offering, now Generally Available, “enables relationship managers, underwriters and frontline teams within banks, insurance companies, and other financially regulated industries to quickly assess and better understand their corporate clients at the start of the customer journey and throughout the life of the customer.”

Financial services generally perform KYC / AML (Know Your Customer / Anti-Money Laundering) processing during onboarding, but ARCH moves initial processing to frontline staff at the top of the sales funnel before a client is signed.  This “distributed compliance,” helps expedite the process, sets client expectations when processing may take longer than normal, and allows relationship managers to avoid prospects that will have arduous compliance processing or which may not meet the institution’s “appetite.”  

ARCH flags risks which may require additional information from the client.  By flagging them at the outset, the RM can request the missing data before it delays onboarding.

ARCH performs event-driven reviews which begin before onboarding and continue through the life of the loan or policy.  Thus, KYC is no longer subject to periodic reviews but is performed dynamically as new information about the client is ingested by ARCH.  Instead of client reviews determined by the calendar, events can trigger full client reviews as needed.

ARCH supports commercial insurance policy writing “with a combination of data and sophisticated rules, bringing efficiency, consistency, and accuracy so that underwriters can focus on underwriting.  Decisions can be recorded whilst both justified in the future and used for decision analysis and pricing optimisation.”  Artesian’s fine-grained taxonomy and assisted machine learning help to identify potential underwriting risks “according to the predetermined definitions of an insurer.”

By moving compliance reviews to front-line workers, commercial insurers can perform a KYC check and risk evaluation prior to quoting a policy.  “One reason for using it is that they might want to look at what gets declared to them by the new customer compared to what they can see from ARCH,” said Artesian VP of Risk Solutions Matt Elsom.  “To do that they can have a look at some of the fraud-focused data sources and financial data.”

A January survey by Fenergo of global financial services executives found that poor onboarding negatively impacts client experience and reduces the lifetime value (LTV) of clients.  36% acknowledged losing customers due to onboarding issues and 84% tied the onboarding experience to reduced LTV.

“The Cost of Poor CX,” Fenergo, January 2019. N-=250 global Financial Services executives (Source: Artesian Solutions) 

Figure 2: “The Cost of Poor CX,” Fenergo, January 2019. N=250 global Financial Services executives (Source: Artesian Solutions)

Artesian noted that KYC compliance team workloads have “grown beyond all expectations” due to the availability of international ownership linkages and ultimate beneficial ownership data.  “The overall effect of this is an MLRO [Money Laundering Reporting Officer] and board being put under pressure to reduce onboarding delays whilst maintaining adherence to regulation – and the only effective solution has been to recruit more compliance analysts.  The cost associated with this approach has become unsustainable as the work queue continues to grow simply to maintain current levels of new business.”

According to Artesian, “ARCH is not only an innovative new technology, but a huge leap forward in the drive for ‘distributed compliance’ – the ability for central teams to distribute KYC and AML tasks to their frontline colleagues who are best placed to engage with the client and solve issues in the fastest, most productive way.  It places compliance and powerful risk data at the heart of the business – front of mind for every member of staff, informing every decision, instructing every interaction and shaping every relationship from pre-screening prospective new customers through to ongoing tracking and long-standing client development.”

The “configurable decision engine” monitors real-time credit risk and KYC data sets and applies bank or insurer policies to the compliance decisions.  Each client determines which data sources to ingest and “applies custom policies to that combined data in the form of multi-dimensional rules” which are screened and interpreted based upon institutional policies.  Flagged issues are delivered through a browser interface or loaded into other compliance systems via an API.

“We have the great privilege of serving 80% of the UK’s major banking institutions, providing powerful sales engagement insights to relationship managers.  We asked what we could do to make our software even more useful and the answer was ARCH. Almost two years of engineering and millions of pounds later we’re announcing ARCH’s general availability for customers.  We believe this puts Artesian in a unique position to be able to combine customer engagement capabilities together with credit and risk in one single application delivered through a browser or mobile device.”

We’ve built a strong team of specialists to extend our core competencies and have worked closely with our key partners at Experian, LexisNexis, and Refinitiv (Thompson Reuters) with more partnerships to come.  This allows our customers to select the data sources they already rely upon and trust and easily integrate them into ARCH”

Artesian Solutions CEO Andrew Yates

During a beta test with a top UK bank, ARCH decisioning was fully consistent with existing bank processing while flagging 14% more “critical risk” issues than current bank processes.  ARCH also reduced average case time from two hundred minutes to eight, “allowing relationship managers to know more, know sooner and save time – enabling them to focus on delivering a better customer experience.”

PwC recently added ARCH to its eleven-week incubator program Scale InsureTech which is “aimed at identifying and developing fast-growth technology companies in the insurance sector.”

Artesian financial services clients include RBS, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, EY, and Marsh.

North American sales intelligence firms do not normally support client onboarding and risk assessment, but UK and European firms support these functions due to a richer set of registry data.  European vendors such as DueDil, Bureau van Dijk, and Artesian support sales, marketing, and regulatory compliance.

GDPR First Anniversary (Is Your Data More Secure?)

EU Flag

As GDPR hit its first anniversary on Saturday, Microsoft once again called for a US privacy law which shifts the onus of data privacy from the individual to corporations.  Today, Americans operate in an opt-out regime which requires them to find and manage their privacy settings.

“This places an unreasonable — and unworkable — burden on individuals,” wrote Microsoft’s Deputy General Counsel Julie Brill.  “Strong federal privacy should not only empower consumers to control their data, it also should place accountability obligations on the companies that collect and use sensitive personal information.”

Microsoft prefers a single federal standard to piecemeal state-level laws such as California’s CCPA.  Brill said the legislation should be interoperable with the GDPR to help reduce the “cost and complexity of compliance.”  This framework should reflect ”the changing understanding of the right to privacy in the United States and around the world.”  The proposed legislation should “uphold the fundamental right to privacy through rules that give people control over their data and require greater accountability and transparency in how companies use the personal information they collect.”

“For American businesses, interoperability between U.S. law and GDPR will reduce the cost and complexity of compliance by ensuring that companies don’t have to build separate systems to meet differing—and even conflicting requirements—for privacy protection in the countries where they do business,” said Brill.

According to eMarketer analyst Ross Benes, the US ad industry has shifted from a call for self-regulation to supporting national privacy regulations, fearing ”a patchwork of different rules” as “legislation looks increasingly inevitable.”

A TrustArc/Ipsos survey of UK adults (16 – 75) found a 36% improvement in trust concerning personal data since GDPR went into effect.

Source: TrustArc / Ipsos GDPR Survey of 2,230 UK adults (May 2019)

A Snow study found that 39% of global business professionals believe their data is better protected since GDPR passed, with the biggest increase in the APAC region (48%).  40% of Europeans also believed their personally identifiable information is more secure, but only 30% in the US held the same belief.

74% of surveyed professionals believe that the technology industry needs more regulation with 83% of APAC and 72% of US respondents wanting additional tech regulation.

The EU has yet to strictly enforce the law with only one large fine ($56M) versus Google in France. However, Google and the social media and advertising companies are all subject to ongoing suits:

The latest investigation — the first by the Irish watchdog into Google — brings to 19 the number of open cases by the regulator targeting big U.S. tech companies. They include probes into Apple Inc., Twitter Inc., eight probes into Facebook Inc., plus one into Instagram and two into WhatsApp.

Los Angeles Times, “Google could face hefty EU fine over possible privacy violations,” May 22, 2019

“What is important to recognize is that the EU is taking GDPR very seriously, with fines being established for any breach,” said Ben Feldman, SVP of strategy and innovation at NYIAX.  “I would expect that the first six-to-nine months of any new regulation action would be spent working out the kinks and processes of implementation.  It is quite likely that we will see more fines in the coming months.”

Quora: Does LinkedIn Sell Your Info?

The following is a Quora post answering the question, “Does LinkedIn Sell Your Info?”


This is likely to fall into a semantics question. If data is employed in the aggregate and your personally identifiable information is not disclosed, then I would argue that your information is not sold. Likewise, if you are presented an ad because your LinkedIn profile conforms with a target audience definition, your data is also not being sold.

I can’t answer for LinkedIn Recruiter, but can answer in the Sales and Marketing context.

LinkedIn offers a sales product called Sales Navigator. Users can view company and contact information on Navigator just as they can on the free service. It even supports viewing this data within third-party SNAP products. However, Navigator and SNAP are view only. Sales reps cannot download your profile or sync it with any of their partner platforms. They also restrict display of your email and phone information to your direct connects as well as other content you flag as restricted.

LinkedIn Marketing sells advertising on LinkedIn and Bing based upon your profile attributes. Advertisers define their target audience across a broad set of firmographic, career, and location variables, but these segments are not provided directly to the marketer. Instead, they are used for advertising display. Thus, your data isn’t sold, just your eyeballs.

LinkedIn treats its member’s data with respect. Microsoft, its parent company, has called for a US version of GDPR, the European data privacy standard. CEO Satya Nadella stated that “privacy is a fundamental human right” on an April 2018 earnings call and said that the firm has implemented an “end-to-end privacy architecture” which is GDPR compliant.

The LinkedIn SNAP AppExchange connector displays LinkedIn content and functionality within Salesforce, but does not sync any company or contact data with SFDC.
The LinkedIn SNAP AppExchange connector displays LinkedIn content and functionality within Salesforce, but does not sync any company or contact data with SFDC.

Artesian Risk and Compliance Hub

Artesian will be launching its Risk and Compliance Hub, which supports front-line KYC checks, in 2019.
Artesian will be launching its Risk and Compliance Hub, which supports front-line KYC checks, in 2019.

Artesian Solutions CEO Andrew Yates published a year-in-review blog and a preview of their upcoming Artesian Risk and Compliance Hub (ARCH).  The new ARCH capabilities will extend their social selling platform into Know Your Client (KYC) reviews at UK banks. ARCH is in early testing.

ARCH leverages Artesian capabilities around interpreting structured and unstructured data ”to create useful flags and to drive appropriate actions.”  Artesian already is on the desktop of relationship managers (RMs) at most of the major UK banks.  “This puts us in a unique position to make insights regarding financial and KYC risks available to the front-line as a pre-screen, to ensure that corporate banking relationships begin with an appropriate understanding of risk.”

Arch supports an automated audit trail and storage of evidence.  Early tests found ARCH to be “100% accurate in reflecting policy in pre-screening.”  Arch also reduced the time spent in gathering risk assessment data by 90% and identified 14% more risk issues compared with manual processing.

By providing a pre-screen at the front-end of client discussions, RMs can focus on new clients that will pass muster during the onboarding review process.  This process makes both relationship managers and compliance professionals more effective.  RMs will no longer be spending time with prospective clients that won’t pass compliance review while compliance professionals can focus their attention on more complex reviews which require their skill and expertise.

“ARCH gives companies control of a sophisticated decision engine to enable data being accessed to have rules applied and flags created. It means that Relationship Managers can see a summarised view of what their central risk teams assessment of a potential client would be, before spending time and money engaging with them. The automation aspect of this is fundamental as it brings efficiency, consistency and control to the areas it transforms.

But more than that, it places compliance at the heart of the business – front of mind for every member of staff, informing every decision, instructing every interaction and shaping every relationship from pre-screens for new customer prospecting through to long-standing client development.”

Artesian CEO Andrew Yates

Yates cited McKinsey research which notes that the risk function at financial institutions is being transformed “with the detection, assessment, and mitigation of risk” being transferred to all employees by 2025.

Risk and Compliance tools are a greater focus amongst European sales intelligence firms due to the availability of private company registry data.  While US private companies provide only minimalist filings with Secretaries of State offices (with a few exceptions in insurance, banking, and nonprofits), UK company registration data includes directors, shareholders, and financials.  Other UK compliance data includes sanctions lists, Politically Exposed Persons (global government officials and relatives), disqualified directors, gazettes (shuttered business and those in receivership), and traditional credit reports.  Vendors such as Artesian, DueDil, and Bureau van Dijk have recently emphasized compliance and risk tool development over sales intelligence offerings.

Artesian reached 30,000 users in 2018 with their user base tracking over 800,000 companies.  According to Yates, Artesian customers “have received 12.5 million actionable insights, 2.5m unique computational matches each week, automated the equivalent of 2 trillion Google searches per week (13bn per hour), and have made 523,813 useful connections using Artesian data.”

Artesian staff provided over 350 training sessions, webinars, and workshops to more than 3,000 users in 2018.  Artesian Academy delivered an additional 1,200 multi-media tutorials, certification modules, role-based tips, and social media best practices overviews.

LinkedIn Email Downloading

LinkedIn users can block connections from downloading their emails.
LinkedIn users can block connections from downloading their emails.

LinkedIn added the option to restrict downloading of emails by their connections.  LinkedIn does not generally allow profile downloading or CRM synching except for permissioned connections.  Users now have the option to permit connections to view their emails but block them from downloading emails.  By default, emails are not downloadable unless users change their settings to permit downloads.

While the change is pro-privacy and consistent with GDPR, TechCrunch took a negative view of the new setting.

A win for privacy on LinkedIn could be a big loss for businesses, recruiters and anyone else expecting to be able to export the email addresses of their connections.…[The new option] could prevent some spam, and protect users who didn’t realize anyone who they’re connected to could download their email address into a giant spreadsheet. But the launch of this new setting without warning or even a formal announcement could piss off users who’d invested tons of time into the professional networking site in hopes of contacting their connections outside of it…

On a social network like Facebook, barring email exports makes more sense. But on LinkedIn’s professional network, where people are purposefully connecting with those they don’t know, and where exporting has always been allowed, making the change silently seems surreptitious. Perhaps LinkedIn didn’t want to bring attention to the fact it was allowing your email address to be slurped up by anyone you’re connected with, given the current media climate of intense scrutiny regarding privacy in social tech. But trying to hide a change that’s massively impactful to businesses that rely on LinkedIn could erode the trust of its core users.


Josh Constine, TechCrunch

TechCrunch overstates the loss.  Member control their data, not LinkedIn or LinkedIn connections.   Second, there are multiple ways to reach users from within LinkedIn including InMail, messaging, and PointDrive.  Unless the email is blocked on the profile, connections still have access to emails from within LinkedIn.  Finally, most emails in LinkedIn are personal emails, not business emails (an issue they should address by allowing both and setting privacy and messaging rules around multiple emails), so reaching out to individuals on their emails only makes sense for friends, family, and recruiters on LinkedIn, not businesspeople networking with colleagues and clients.

While LinkedIn wasn’t transparent about the privacy change, it enhanced the privacy of its members.  As such, looking for nefarious reasons for the enhancement is a reach.