Search API: By email address

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Anonymous (not verified)
Nov 13, 2009
Search API: By email address

I want to search for a LinkedIn user by his/her email address (hashed email address), but your search API does not support this parameter.We already know the user’s email address (and name), but not necessarily his/her company, location etc.  So if we cannot search by email address, we will:-          Have lots of false positive matches – and possibly still not be in the first 100 max results returned-          Have to do another query on these matches, looking for the user whose email hash matches our email hashAnd this is just unnecessary processing and will cause performance delays.Unless of course there is a better way – if so, please guide me.Ketan

Anonymous (not verified)
Nov 15, 2009

At the moment, we don't have another way to do this. While conceptually and technically, it is possible to provide this, doing so opens a reasonable risk to our user's privacy. Using an API such as this would allow people with long lists of email addresses to quickly validate them and even attach user data to the email addresses. This is not a feature we will support.

John Carini's picture
Joined: 2009-11-23
Nov 23, 2009

This really needs to be done since email is typically the unique identifier that ties things together.Seem like you could allow it for accepted connections only.  Once someone has accepted you as a friend then you have full access to this information so why not allow a search or a way to retrieve email and phone number.THANKSiEnterprises, Inc.

E. Timothy Uy's picture
Joined: 2009-11-23
Dec 2, 2009

Seems like this is a throttling issue, though I suppose by proxies and multiple API keys, this could happen on a massive scale.

Jeroen Sentel's picture
Joined: 2009-11-26
Dec 3, 2009

I can imagine an email address is one of the most, if not the most, valuable asset. Though it's also the only unique identifier known at the client side. Isn't it possibly to match and search on email addresses using md5 or something like that?Grtz J

Axel Schultze's picture
Joined: 2009-11-23
Dec 19, 2009

I also vote for getting an email based search for a number of reasons1) As unique identifyer, this would be the fastes way to get a result and alleviate a lot of search overhead on the LinkedIn side2) Non email based search not only cost overhead on the LinkedIn side but also UI and more overhead on the "application sideother"3) A user may restrict access to his/her data to those who have their email address4) It could be separate method where the only parameter is emailYou may consider something like this:http://api.linkedin.com/...........?email=datastring64 The datastring64 encoded string may contain “as@xeequa.comThat way you don't have emails traveling around the net.ThanksAxel

Aaron Stannard's picture
Joined: 2010-01-19
Apr 16, 2010

Lucian,Have you seen the RapLeaf API? It's able to connect the dots between a user's email address and a LinkedIn profile:http://www.rapleaf.com/apidoc/personDo you know how they've managed to pull this off?

Axel Schultze's picture
Joined: 2009-11-23
Apr 16, 2010

Interesting find Aaron. Did you play with it?Another source we are playing with right now is FlowTown.com they do a pretty ok job getting stuff by matching email addresses.Axelhttp://xeesm.com/AxelS

E. Timothy Uy's picture
Joined: 2009-11-23
Aug 19, 2010

It seems that rapportive is able to map email addresses to LinkedIn profiles.  How is this done?

Axel Schultze's picture
Joined: 2009-11-23
Aug 19, 2010

We are using RapLeaf for now. It is moderately successful. The way they work is that they store presences and data in a big repository. But it isn't a real substitute for matching a LinkedIn profile against an email address.

Saurabh Gupta's picture
Joined: 2010-09-10
Sep 10, 2010

Yup, rapportive is doing it. Any new info on this?

Joined: 2010-10-25
Oct 25, 2010

etacts (www.etacts.com ) is also doing this and its a tremendously valuable service. Any update on this ? Can we retrieve the user's info if we have his email address with the appropriate security for the call ? Seems like a silly limitation of the API

Paul Mennega's picture
Joined: 2009-11-30
Oct 25, 2010

Interesting discussion...  a question for those looking for this functionality, playing devil's advocate; wouldn't allowing any kind of email tie-in with the API be in essence a Spammers dream? Off the top of my head, I could see a very simple script that is tied in with a dummy application and linked to dummy LinkedIn accounts that would generate random email addresses and fire them off to LinkedIn via the API as a way of verifying existance.  Spamers already use this scenario by sending random emails out with embedded images that 'call home' when opened, thus confirming the email address is valid.  Imagine hundreds or thousands of scripts running against the API until they hit their respective throttle limits, and with each email address they confirm they can then tie to real-world names, current jobs, etc...  such a list would be absolutely priceless.

Axel Schultze's picture
Joined: 2009-11-23
Oct 25, 2010

@ 4406923 (not knowing what your name is)In theory that is true. But since you can eaily buy up to 100 Million validated email addresses (yes one hundred million) I'm not sure that the hack would be of any advantage to those kind of people.Option 1LinkedIn verifies who they give access to that featureOption 2Follow what Facebook is doing (as always) and we just have to wait 6 to 12 monthWe are using Facebook's open graph to do that today and works just very nice.All it does is to put facebook further into the driver seat.In regards to spam: Email is dead because of spam and LinkedIn protecting our email addresses is a drop of water into an active vulcano.My name is Axel by the way

Sachin Rekhi's picture
LinkedIn Employee
Joined: 2009-11-28
Oct 25, 2010

Axel,How are you able to do this on Facebook? You can perform a search for a Facebook profile via an e-mail address?Sachin

Axel Schultze's picture
Joined: 2009-11-23
Oct 25, 2010

@Sachin -absolutely. Not a problem. Using their open graph APIhttp://developers.facebook.com/docs/apiWhat it takes is to ask the respective user for permission.So if you create a Xeesm (our application) you can register with your facebook credentials.We check for email match to avoid duplicates and then create a full account with everything we can find.In our particular case, the user needs to agree to share his/her email address.Check it out http://xeesm.com/registerObviously once register we can now use it as single signon and as "sign on with Facebook"This is by the way the biggest problem with the new LI oAuth on JS API - no email no identification.It's almost useless unly good for some toy apps and games.What you CAN NOT do is just scan through their eco system - of course.

Paul Mennega's picture
Joined: 2009-11-30
Oct 25, 2010

Hey, Alex, Paul here... not sure how I got a number for my account name, and I haven't found a way to change it!Good points for sure, and as I said, just playing devils advocate, but I think you are comparing apples and oranges when it comes to the Facebook and LinkedIn.LinkedIn is 'professional', and as such, many people are expecting that their personal information will be treated with a little more care than we've seen out of Facebook.  Facebook can get away with massive negative PR about privacy breaches, etc due to their sheer size and the nature of their user-base.  I would wager that LinkedIn would not fare so well from a user perspective if news broke that millions of email addresses + personal information was now essentially freely available.  And yes, of course there are email lists you can buy, but again, would you sign up for a service like LinkedIn if you knew that meant that your email + verifiable personal information was being provided into the wild?Big picture, yes I agree that releasing the 40+ million email addresses associated with LinkedIn user's into the wild is a drop in the Internet bucket, but from LinkedIn's perspective, losing the trust of their userbase could be pretty devestating/crippling.Option 1 would work, but would introduce other layers of administration and liability that simply might not be worth it from LinkedIn's perspective.And yes, I say all this as someone building stuff off of the API that could do much more with email addresses, but I don't see it ever happening.Paul

Axel Schultze's picture
Joined: 2009-11-23
Oct 25, 2010

It will happen Paul trust me on that one.While many feel Linkedin is the "professional" network and Facebook isn't. Our ecosystem is only business users. And within that category it's primarily sales, marketing, product management etc. Last month the number of Facebook profiles exceeded the number of LinkedIn profiles for the first time.It will happen for a very simple reason:You can NOT seriously integrate LinkedIn into any other application as long as email is the no. 1 method to verify a user and LinkedIn is not providing this point of verification.

Paul Mennega's picture
Joined: 2009-11-30
Oct 25, 2010

Interesting anecdotal info Axel, really!The integration we've done has primarily been with existing userbases, and we simply tie in their accounts with their LinkedIn ID on a one-to-one basis.  I can of course see where building an app purely off of LinkedIn with no pre-existing userbase or user infrastructure would be probematic with no email addresses.  Having a layered approach where the user can grant you secondary permissions to the email address would be a start.  Else, you could always simply ask the user directly for their email when they start to use the app and store that along with their LinkedIn ID...Paul

Joined: 2010-10-25
Oct 25, 2010

I concur with Axel. I think there are many legitimate uses for a lookup via email address; given that Facebook already allows this I am not sure what linkedin is protecting here - all this does is make the devs job harder for legitimate apps; by all means put in strong auth into such a call but unilaterally pulling this makes no sense whatever as a lot of the time an email address is the first identifier for a person

Anonymous (not verified)
Nov 22, 2009

By the way, I tried leaving this as a comment on the Connections API page as well, but the current docs that suggest otherwise should be discounted. The email= search method is not active for any addresses, even the member's own; the id=12345 method suggest that numeric ids from the member-visible profile pages would work when they are actually alphanumeric per-application id that are discovered using the other api calls; and the url= method does not appear to be active as well, since the error messages require a /in/ or /pub/-style pathname but I haven't found one that would work so far. So that rules out a number of approaches that might help members discover or connect with other members just yet -- we'll all see how this evolves over time, of course.

Shreyansh Gupta's picture
Joined: 2011-08-29
Aug 29, 2011

Well one thing I'd like to add in all this privacy hush hush talk...........Just add the email id as a contact in your email id and LinkedIn will search all the contacts in your email id...........and Voila.........

Mike Gilbert's picture
Joined: 2011-11-03
Nov 8, 2011

Xobni also links to LinkedIn profiles specifically by email address. Again, how do they do this? Clearly this sort of search is do-able in spite of LinkedIn saying that it's not possible.

Kirsten Hunter's picture
Joined: 2011-06-30
Nov 8, 2011

This is not available in the Open Developer Program.

Chris Lindstrom's picture
Joined: 2012-02-16
Mar 11, 2012

Kirsten -

Your comment seems to imply that there is a 'non' Open Developer Program. If so, as an application developer with a quality reputation, how would we get considered to get access to that program?

thx
Chris

Kirsten Hunter's picture
Joined: 2011-06-30
Mar 12, 2012

You can fill out the form here:
https://developer.linkedin.com/themes/linkedin-home/form-api.html

To send a message to our business development team.

Chris Lindstrom's picture
Joined: 2012-02-16
Mar 12, 2012

Thank you Kirsten...

Matthew Rutherford's picture
Joined: 2012-04-24
Apr 24, 2012

so it's a matter of 'user trust' that LinkedIn do not offer the same email search functionality on their open API that FB, Flickr, etc already offer without fuss. But if you pay for it...

Jeremy Johnstone's picture
Joined: 2011-04-17
Apr 24, 2012

Hi Matthew,

Nothing mentioned in this thread indicates you can "pay" for additional API access. I hope you can understand the difference between an "independent developer" and a corporation which we have business agreements with and have the ability to apply serious legal ramifications against for abuse / misuse.

-Jeremy

Matthew Rutherford's picture
Joined: 2012-04-24
Apr 25, 2012

I've never met a business development team/person yet that doesn't ask for payment. Your experience may vary.

And besides it's a trivial thing to bind the same agreements to individuals, if the case arises they are not acting on behalf of a company.

Jeremy Johnstone's picture
Joined: 2011-04-17
Apr 26, 2012

Hi Matthew,

Your past experience doesn't make it true in all cases. Furthermore, your latter statement is naive at best.

-Jeremy

Matthew Rutherford's picture
Joined: 2012-04-24
Apr 27, 2012

Ok - what are the rates for API access to search by email and what parts of the legal agreement between API provider and 3rd party would not be applicable to an independent developer, assuming they are not incorporated?

Straight answers would be better than attempts at pithy responses.

Chris W's picture
Joined: 2011-12-17
Apr 30, 2012

What is the average time for getting the application approved? Also is there documentation for these extra features that I can look into while I wait for approval?

Kirsten Hunter's picture
Joined: 2011-06-30
Apr 30, 2012

These questions can't really be answered by the developer relations team, as it's out of our realm of expertise/control. You need to fill out the form (very clearly and completely as it will be reviewed by a business development person) and they will let you know what they can do to work with you. I'm sorry if our answers seem pithy or evasive, the truth is these forums are only for actual support of technical questions and we really don't have any control or influence on the business level decisions.

Simon Ellison-Bunce's picture
Joined: 2010-02-17
May 3, 2012

I've no idea how typical my experience is, but I first entered into a dialog with the BD team in September last year and we're no nearer to getting our product to market than we were then.

My assumption is that priority is given to proposals that will clearly drive *significant* additional revenue to LinkedIn, either directly or indirectly, and if you can provide that then a different set of rules apply. Nothing wrong with that as such, it's their platform - but you might want to set your expectations accordingly.

[I should add we weren't requesting access to non-public APIs, or increased throttle limits, or doing anything that compromised privacy of 3rd party users]

Jason Dickman's picture
Joined: 2012-05-04
May 4, 2012

Hhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..................................

Very interesting to say the least. Why is it that FB allows such simple API function and Linkedin does not. This is a crucial function for many applications. Read this bug post that was resolved by FB >> https://developers.facebook.com/bugs/292220680814266

How do we get the basic function allowed in LinkedIn? We are not asking for anything more than the first and last name of the user and their location and avatar based on an email search, same thing FB allows for their millions of customers using their API. If we already know their email address how would this cause any issues?

Is this already an option and if not how do we get this basic functionality enabled?

Jeremy Johnstone's picture
Joined: 2011-04-17
May 7, 2012

Hi Jason,

LinkedIn is not [insert name of some other API provider]. Expecting every API to do the same thing, especially when some of said sites are well known for not respecting user privacy (something that LinkedIn values very highly), is not a wise move. YMMV!

-Jeremy

Jason Dickman's picture
Joined: 2012-05-04
May 11, 2012

Thank you for your comments Jeremy, why does LinkedIn allow Xobni to do the same thing with LinkedIn's API and allow anyone who signs up for a free Xobni account allow users to pull Linkedin User details using their email address even if they are not linked to that LinkedIn user that they are trying to query the basic details from? Who do we contact to get these simple API features enabled to work with our application like Xobni has and what already works with Facebook and Google + by default? Again this is not asking for more than avatar, first and last name and female or male - nothing more. And again if you already know their email address how would this be an issue if the info is used in applications similar to Xobni?

I guess the proper question is who do we ask to allow this feature for our application and to detail why we need such API feature for our application? What is the proper contact form or email address or other details on how to request such API feature that Xobni already has with LinkedIn?

Jeremy Johnstone's picture
Joined: 2011-04-17
May 11, 2012

Hi Jason,

Xobni is not part of our Open Developer program. If you would like to request additional API access, the form is here:

https://developer.linkedin.com/themes/linkedin-home/form-api.html

The developer relations team has nothing to do with the approval process, so outside of directing you to that form, I can not provide any additional assistance.

Good luck!

-Jeremy

Jason Dickman's picture
Joined: 2012-05-04
May 12, 2012

Jeremy, thank you for the details appreciate all your help will try that and see how things go.

Jeremy Johnstone's picture
Joined: 2011-04-17
May 14, 2012

Hi Jason,

My apologies we can't help further. Hope you get the response you are looking for from them!

-Jeremy

Chris Lindstrom's picture
Joined: 2012-02-16
May 14, 2012

Two months later and still no response from the business development team - so much for supporting the little guy...

Jason Dickman's picture
Joined: 2012-05-04
May 14, 2012

Hello Chris, you had filled out the same form to get the api email function for your application with no responce?

Joined: 2011-02-13
May 14, 2012

Don't feel bad, I filled out a form last April...crickets. You really need to know somebody or be a big fish I guess.

Jason Dickman's picture
Joined: 2012-05-04
May 31, 2012

Jeremy Johnstone I have not received any reply as well to my request not even a denial of request. Seems like allot of people have the same problem here. I would even be willing to pay Linked In to allow my API request. What other avenue can I use since the one provided seems to be a dead end for me and others?

Adam Trachtenberg's picture
LinkedIn Employee
Joined: 2011-06-30
May 31, 2012

Hello everyone --

I've talked with our BD team about this. As you might expect, they get a ton of requests. They do read and evaluate them all. If they think there's a potential match, they always reach out. If they think there may be a match in the future, they file it away for later.

When they do the evaluations, it's mostly a question of the current strategic fit for our business and platform. So, you may have a great idea, but we may not be interested (maybe not at this time) unless it's something we know the company can get behind to enable your success with the full support you need.

But they can't always personally respond to every message. It's just not scalable. Unfortunately, I think this creates the perception that they're not reading them, which isn't true. I will see if we can do a better job setting expectations explaining this when people fill out the form. And I've asked them to see if they can at least set up a general message that can be efficiently sent out when we don't think there's a match. Then at least you have a confirmation that your request was read.

Thanks for understanding.

-adam

Jason Dickman's picture
Joined: 2012-05-04
May 31, 2012

Hello Adam, thank you for your detailed explanation on this item. As you can see from this thread this is an option many require and one already available with other social networks such as Facebook. This also has been made available by LinkedIn to Xobni and I am trying to find the right avenue to get this feature enabled for our product. I believe it should be available to all but if LinkedIn is not ready for such how to we get special privileges to the API function that services like Xobni already has?

Jeremy Johnstone's picture
Joined: 2011-04-17
May 31, 2012

Hi Jason,

I think the point Adam is making is that if the BD team feels it's a strategic partnership to LinkedIn, they will reply. If they don't, well.... I think you get the idea. We in developer relations have nothing to do with this process, so beating us up on the forums doesn't change anything about your situation. I really wish I could help more, but there isn't anything we can do.

-Jeremy

Jason Dickman's picture
Joined: 2012-05-04
May 31, 2012

Hello Jeremy, thank you for your reply. I apologize if you think I am giving you a hard time that was not my intention. It is a shame LinkedIn does not have a better solution for such requests for strategic partnership with small business owners.

Michael Dickman's picture
Joined: 2012-06-18
Jun 18, 2012

My brother and I are developing a business email service that LinkedIn users will love... Please LinkedIn consider this functionality again...

Ilya Nikitin's picture
Joined: 2012-06-18
Jun 18, 2012

Search by email will be a great addon to Linked API, no doubt.
Please, consider adding this feature in the near future - other social networs already have it and it is extensively used by many developers around the globe

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