Yesterday I posted some tips to help deal with unwanted LinkedIn invitations. Today I received another invitation and, out of curiosity, followed the link anonymously in a chrome incognito window (control-click -> open link in incognito window). This allowed me see what LinkedIn shows someone who is not already a LinkedIn member.
I learned two important things: 1) Each LinkedIn invitation is treated by LinkedIn as an individual direct email to a LinkedIn user’s contact, and 2) despite this the messages are beautifully crafted by LinkedIn to guide the user towards one desired action – to signup/signin. No easily visible alternative (to say no thanks to a specific invitation or to opt out of all LinkedIn mail) is provided at any point through the process.
To say no thanks, hit reply and say no thanks directly to your contact. To opt out, write to email@example.com and ask to be added to their do not contact list.
Step 1: receive invitation email – there is not a hint at what to do with the invitation except to accept it.
At this point if you don’t want to accept it the easiest thing to do is to just delete the message. If you want to stop getting more invitations, you can create a filter to automatically delete LinkedIn invitations. You could also educate your contacts about how they are spamming you by hitting reply and sending them an email to explain that you do not want to join LinkedIn and they should stop sending you invitations.
Your contact then needs to manually log in to LinkedIn, find their invitation to you, and retract the invitation. I explained this cumbersome process yesterday which you can copy-paste into your email to your LinkedIn contact.
Note: The from address you see in your email (like in screenshot below) may be “firstname.lastname@example.org” but the reply-to address is the direct personal email of the person who is inviting you. This is what technically makes it a personal email, not an unsolicited email from LinkedIn.
Step 2: if instead you click link to “view invitation from ..” you will be guided through signin/signup process, no opt out option available.
None of the links on the menu or in the footer provide you with any direct help to opting out of receiving these invitations from LinkedIn.
Here’s the relevant section – the key sentence is bolded.
Section 1, Paragraph C: Contacts Information
In order to connect with others on LinkedIn, you may use the Services to send invitations either to their LinkedIn profiles or email addresses of people you know if they have not registered with LinkedIn. The names and email addresses of people whom you invite will be used to send your invitations and reminders as well as to allow LinkedIn to help expand your network. Please note that when you send an invitation to connect to another User, that User will have access to your email address because it is displayed in the invitation. Your LinkedIn connections will also have access to your email address. You may not invite anyone you do not know and trust to connect with you.
People you may know… is where LinkedIn tricks its users into emailing their contacts
I am still looking into this side of the problem and would welcome insights from others on where LinkedIn is facilitating the process of inviting people to LinkedIn. One place is the People you may know… section showing pictures and names. It is very easy to click on one and send an invitation. This will send them a direct email. What I am not clear on is whether these people are always already users of LinkedIn or not – and I suspect that sometimes they are not.