LinkedIn Shuts Down Headhunting App: How Open is Open?

Adam DuVander
Jun. 21 2012, 01:50PM EDT

The business social network LinkedIn is shutting off access to its LinkedIn API for one company over what LinkedIn calls a terms of service violation. Headhunting app Pealk released a notice that it "will be no more" by next week. It raises the importance of reading the legal details, as well as the different definitions of open.

The team of at least four at Paris-based Pealk emailed a press release, as well as posted a major notice on the company website. The message claims LinkedIn is not being open enough:

It is true that we are extremely surprised by LinkedIn's decision, since such conclusion contradicts LinkedIn's statement to open their platform to outside innovation through their API. Given Pealk's recent success, we believe that this decision also goes against the interests of number of LinkedIn members lacking a productivity tool to search, sort and engage professionals on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn's statement makes clear the service is being shut off for violations:

We have an ecosystem of 60,000 developers who access the LinkedIn platform everyday as part of our open developer program. We regularly monitor the developers of this program to ensure they are following our terms of use. In this case, this developer is in clear violation of LinkedIn's terms of use and is abusing the guidelines we've put in place to protect our members' data. They were notified in advance of this shut off.

There is no further information about exactly what terms the Pealk is violating. "I won't be going into the details," LinkedIn's Julie Inouye said. "The important point is that they were and continue to abuse the guidelines we have in place to protect member data."

Based on previous discussions with LinkedIn and the nature of Pealk's service, I'd guess the application may harvest more data than is allowed, perhaps caching responses, another no-no. There does seem to be a disconnect between many developers and API providers on exactly what open means. Most terms make it clear that downloading the whole database is not the purpose of an API. However, where a company sits along that continuum is one that has more to do with business model and infrastructure scaling than the ideal of a completely open web.

When I spoke with LinkedIn's Adam Trachtenberg about LinkedIn's big year he said the company takes a member-centric approach to its rate limiting and other terms of service. "Our goal is to enable the most successful integrations possible while making sure that all members are having a fantastic experience," Trachtenberg said.

It's unlikely that this recent issue is about rate limits, as LinkedIn gave at least a week's notice to the developer.

When the LinkedIn platform launched we wrote it was "opening wide." Yet, last year several apps were shut down for violations. Earlier in 2011, the developers of CubeDuel ran into LinkedIn usage limits, though the company extended those limits twice.

LinkedIn is one of 735 social APIs in our directory, which also lists 47 LinkedIn mashups.

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact editor@programmableweb.com Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.

Comments

Comments(4)

User HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

Hi,

I'm Boris, CEO @ Pealk. Thank you for covering the event and raising further questions on the matter of API &amp; openess! That's indeed a key matter for the next years...

I'd like to react on something in this article. LinkedIn states "they were and continue to abuse the guidelines". This might be a misleading statement for readers, as one can believe that we have been warned and that we did not obey to orders from LinkedIn.

The truth is we have been given no chance to survive. We proposed to negotiate, to kill messaging feature... or anything to save our app! LinkedIn's answer has been extremely clear: NO. We will cut off your API access.

Is it really a good treatment of an API ecosystem? Why waiting 2 months to "realize" that? Why never mentioning this during our multiple discussions together?!

I'd be happy to answer your questions if you want to have the full picture.

Kind regards,

Boris

[...] LinkedIn Shuts Down Headhunting App: How Open is Open? (programmableweb.com) Like it? Share it!ShareFacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponEmailPrintLinkedInTumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in LinkedIn and Social Media Articles and tagged Business, Communication, Edenchanges, Facebook, Linkedin, Networking, Open networking, Social media, Training. [...]

[...] LinkedIn Shuts Down Headhunting App: How Open is Open? (programmableweb.com) Like it? Share it!ShareFacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponEmailPrintLinkedInTumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in LinkedIn and Social Media Articles and tagged Blogging, Business, Communication, Edenchanges, Facebook, Linkedin, Networking, Open networking, Social media, Training. [...]