Recently I’ve been engaged in discussion with a number of virtual assistants and resume writers who are concerned about people getting disciplined from LinkedIn because they are logging into their client’s account, with permission, to do stuff for them.
Resume writers will login for their client and then make changes to their Profile. The client asks them to do this, pays them to do this, and wants them to do this.
Virtual assistants will login for their clients and do various things, including respond to invitation requests.
The problem is that LinkedIn thinks that no one should ever log in for someone else. I don’t know where this antiquated thinking comes from, but it’s caused a stir recently. Here’s a snippet from their user agreement (Section 2, #4):
The first part of #1 is to keep your password secure… you can do this if you trust a professional resume writer or VA to access your account, in my opinion.
The second part of #1 is to keep your password confidential. I think sharing it with the right professional, who you might even have a confidentiality agreement, is still okay and within the bounds of this agreement.
#2 says you will not permit others to USE your account. This is were it gets hairy, I think.
I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not LinkedIn, but in my opinion letting someone update or edit your Profile is not letting them “use” your account.
I think that getting an agent (that is, someone to act on your behalf), to do things for you, which is common practice in business around the world, is different than what I’m guessing LinkedIn intended.
I think their intention was that you don’t let someone login as you and do searches on your network (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.). In other words, don’t build anetwork and then share it with your entire sales team… each person on the sales team should build their own network….
I think THAT is what “USE” means.
The problem is that resume writers and virtual assistants have been handslapped (disciplined, and made to promise they won’t do it again) for logging in as their clients.
How come you can get a legal document to act on behalf of someone else for things as serious as ending life, making financial decisions, etc., but LinkedIn won’t let these professional service providers meet their clients needs and login as them to act on their behalf, or update their Profile?
Having it in the terms of service is one thing (seriously, no one really reads that, or cares), but since LinkedIn started enforcing it with their own ridiculous interpretation, it’s time they reevaluate.
Please call Tim Ferriss and ask him for 20 minutes of consulting time to learn about virtual assistants. Stop handicapping professionals from doing their job.
Not to mention the people who ask for the services… my heavens this is so out of touch.
(By the way, if you are going to start penalizing LinkedIn members for allowing others to login as them, start with Obama, Romney, Bill Gates, Sarah Palin and others who I can almost guarantee aren’t in there, or haven’t been in there, to do their own stuff. Yeah, like that will happen… then treat the rest of the members with the same respect!)