NBS – LinkedIn Jail

Prevention is far better than cure

When you are new there is a lot to absorb.
However, it’s definitely worth saving frustration by learning how to avoid LinkedIn’s limits and restrictions!

Avoiding LinkedIn’s “Commercial Limits

On the free version of LinkedIn, there is a limit to the number of Searches you can do per month.

When you reach the limit, you are limited as described below and LinkedIn will suggest you upgrade to a paid version.
However, a paid version of LinkedIn will cost you in excess of $700 per year!

LinkedIn does not tell us what their commercial limits are. However, we believe the limit to the number of Searches you can do per month on the free version is around 15 searches. In practice, this is usually not a problem because we can collect 1000 names from a search using Phantombuster.

However, the following copied from an online blog gives a good explanation of Commercial Limits:

“The limit is calculated based on your search activity from the first of every calendar month.
A progress bar (like the one shown above) will appear in your search results when 30% of your searches are left and will continue to remind you in 5% increments until you’ve reached the limit.
After you’ve reached the limit, you’ll continue to be able to search, but you’ll only see a very limited number of results.
Your free monthly usage will only reset on the 1st of each calendar month.

We don’t know how the “Commercial Limit” is calculated.
However, we do know that the number of Searches you do in LinkedIn is a big factor!

You should keep the number of Searches you do to about 15-25 per month.

In other words, when you use the tools we provide, you don’t need a commercial version of LinkedIn (saving you $700+ per annum)

LinkedIn Restrictions

LinkedIn algorithms are watching you!

A General Note on LinkedIn’s Policies

LinkedIn’s policies are written for people who operate in the ‘normal’ business paradigm of connecting for immediate transactional benefit rather than building long-term trust relationship (which will ultimately lead to advocacy from many others).

  • This is important to understand because you are actually doing the best thing for other LinkedIn members!
  • Even though you don’t know them yet, you are willing to meet them, get to know them and make introductions to relevant others
  • In most cases, you have nothing to sell them or directly gain by meeting them
  • Most people you contact will look at your profile and appreciate that you are contacting them to help them find relevant contacts if they are interested in doing the same for you

The main restriction you may have to deal with is:

Being required to enter the email address of the person to whom you are sending a connection request

If you get restricted in this way, it effectively means you can’t send invitation requests to people you do not know.

Following is what LinkedIn has to say about this – officially:

“There are several reasons why you may be asked to enter an email address when you send invitations:

  1. The recipient’s email preferences are set to only receive invitations from members who know their email address.
  2. A number of recipients have clicked I don’t know [name] after getting your invitations.
  3. An invitation has already been sent to the member.

Note: You can include a personal note to remind people who you are and explain why you want to connect.”

We suspect there are many other reasons (other than I Don’t Know this person) that will cause you to have to enter an email address before you can send the connection request!

For example, we know builders are sending out a very large number of connection requests to people they don’t know.
Yet these people do not get restricted because they are engaging with posts, articles, comments, shares etc.
As a result, they have a large number of people sending them invitation requests (we call these inbound connection requests)

LinkedIn use a “point system”

From our experience, we believe LinkedIn algorithms use a “point system” to evaluate a number of factors in deciding whether to restrict you.
This restriction is will be applied automatically (without human intervention).

Delete Pending invitations every week

One thing the LinkedIn algorithms look at for sure (as advised by LinkedIn when they do restrict you) is the number of outstanding invitations requests you have.
These are invitation requests you have sent which have not been answered.
You need to keep this below 500.
See how to reduce Pending Invitations below

How do you know when you have been restricted?

When you attempt to send a connection request, LinkedIn may ask you to enter the email address of the person you are attempting to send a connection request as shown in the following screenshot

In most cases, this is because the person you are attempting to connect with has set their profile setting so that only people who know their email address may attempt to connect with them.

However, it may also be that LinkedIn algorithms have decided you should be “restricted”

Reduce the chance of being restricted by regularly removing “pending requests”

Keep the number of pending sent connection requests (people who have ignored your connection request) down to around 300.

This is done using the LinkedIn “Manage invitations” function. A direct link to this function can be found at the top of the Agenda sheet in your activity Workbook.

Note: You can see the above by selecting My Network (top Menu) then ‘Manage all’ as shown in the following screenshots:

Then choose Sent as shown in the following screenshot:

What to do if you are restricted

Withdraw some pending connections requests as described above.

Then every day for up to 4 days, check to see if the restriction has been lifted.

If not, you may have to contact Linkedin customer service (and be repentant – silly isn’t it?)
Before taking this step, talk it over with your coach to get the wording right – Sorry, didn’t realise, what have I done etc..

And they may allow you to continue but now you are on their radar and you will only get 2 more chances – after that, you may be permanently restricted (however, there are still things you can do if this is what happens – speak with your coach)

How to contact Linkedin customer Service (it’s buried deep – wonderful customer service!)

Click on your profile photo and follow the following screenshots:

When you go into Help Centre, scroll to the bottom and select as follows:


Sometimes, the above links seem to be missing from Linkedin pages so worst case,
try the following link (make sure you are first logged in to Linkedin so that they know who is contacting them)

Note: There is no option for you to phone someone at LinkedIn

How to prevent yourself from being restricted

Work on adding “Brownie Points” (see below)
Many of the following tips have additional advantages such as:
> Greatly increasing your inbound requests (you are in a better position to move forward with someone who has reached out to you rather than the other way around).
> Building brand you – people can tell what you stand for by the posts and articles you post, share and comment on.

Your goal is to have more people connect with you for the same number of invitations you send out.

If you sent out 100 invitations to connect and all were accepted, you would not have to be worried about LinkedIn restricting you.
On the other hand, if you sent out 100 invitations to connect and no one connected with you, you will almost surely get restricted.

Here are some ways you can improve your chances of people connecting with you:

  • Revise your profile summary to be all about them rather than about you (read the notes about how to structure your Profile)
    • People are always most interested in ‘What’s in it for them’.
    • If they look at your profile and think you may be able to help them or connect them with someone who can help them; if they like the sound of the way you go about things; if they like the articles you have posted, they are much more likely to accept your invitation to connect or better yet ask you to connect with them
  • Refine your boolean searches so that you are likely to find people who are like-minded and therefore more likely to connect with you
  • Consider endorsing selected people
    • Note that an endorsement is different a recommendation (it’s more like a Facebook “Like”)
  • If someone says: “Thanks for endorsing me”, it’s an opportunity to engage in conversation and suggest that you “connect” and continue the conversation
  • Consider congratulating people who have had a promotion or changed jobs
  • Wish people “Happy Birthday”
  • It is amazing what works!

Publishing or sharing articles and posts on LinkedIn

Publishing or share articles authored by Linkedin members (including yourself) on your LinkedIn profile.
This gives you ‘Brownie Points’ because you are seen (by LinkedIn algorithms) as adding value to the LinkedIn community.

Note, however, that you receive no brownie points (in fact you are penalised) for including links to articles which are external to the LinkedIn platform.
However, you can include external links in your messages to people (as distinct to links in articles and posts) without being penalised.

Click Here for an overview on how to post and share content on LinkedIn.
Click Here for an article on how to publish or share articles on LinkedIn.

Withdraw your pending Linkedin connection requests.

It is a must to regularly do this (say once a week)
Keep your ‘not yet accepted’ sent invitations down to no more than about 500.

The easiest way to do this is:

Select ‘My Network and then ‘Manage all’ as shown in the following screenshot:

Then select ‘Sent’ as shown in the following screenshot:

Scroll right to the bottom of the screen and click on the last page as shown in the following screenshot:

When you click on the last page, you will get a screen that looks like this:

Select all on the last page (these are the oldest) and Withdraw (as shown) above.

Repeat the process for all until you are down to about 500

Keep your activity within ‘acceptable’ Limits

LinkedIn don’t tell us what is ‘acceptable’. It’s all part of their secret ‘points’ formula.

However, we do know that high levels of activity make you look suspiciously like an automated process (and Linkedin software may assume you are a ‘Spammer’ using an automated process).