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LinkedIn Data Scraping: Legality, challenges & Solution

20-06-2023

Linkedin is the best platform when it comes to finding new clients, new employees, etc. It has around 900M users from more than 200 countries. Data from Linkedin can enrich any data pipeline because it provides fresh information on any individual or company. You can find out who works where, what skills they have, where were they working a year back, where they graduated, etc.

This information helps managers or marketing teams find the best prospects for their product, and hiring or consultancy firms can find the best employee for any job vacancy in their company. There are many use cases for scraping Linkedin. Let’s discuss that in detail.

Use cases of Scraping LinkedIn

  • You can build products that can help marketing teams find leads by scraping Linkedin at scale. Once you scrape any profile you will get information like where he/she works, what experience they hold, how many followers/connections they have, etc.
  • You can scrape LinkedIn Jobs to find the desired sector you would want to go in.
  • You can identify people with just their emails by scraping LinkedIn profiles. This is called enrichment. You can identify who the person is behind a certain email.
  • You can find out sector-wise companies. Then you can target them through cold emails to sell your B2B products.
  • You can find contact details like emails and phone numbers by scraping Linkedin.
  • Investors can find a suitable company for their next investments. They just have to filter out data and they select companies from the list. Like if they want to find companies in Mumbai, India then they can filter it out.
  • You can analyze the sentiments of any individual through his/her activity on LinkedIn. What kinds of comments they make, and what kinds of articles they like can help you identify the person better.
  • Other data like volunteer work can help you identify which prospect has done social work in the past.
  • Certificates can help one identify which person has what kind of specialization.

Is It Legal to Scrape LinkedIn?

Yes, It is legal to scrape LinkedIn if you are doing it ethically. I would help you with this by giving a few examples that have happened in the past that would help you to clear your doubts.

Some companies like Mantheos a Singapore-based company faced the heat from Linkedin for Scraping its data. You can read more about the case over here. Mainly they were using fake cards to bypass their payment system and they were then using the premium plans of Linkedin to scrape prospect details from it. This type of method is of course illegal and the person behind this idea should be punished.

The fact is Google also works by crawling over all the websites/domains. It has large crawlers that keep scraping websites to make its search result algorithm smarter. But they are quite large and they can deal with legal matters very easily as compared to small companies or any individual.

There is another ongoing matter between hiQ and LinkedIn. hiQ was scraping LinkedIn by creating fake accounts. In November 2022 the court said that “hiQ already knew that they were illegally acquiring Linkedin’s data through web scraping”. But but but… in 2022 California District Court found some evidence of the exchange of emails among LinkedIn employees where it was very clear that LinkedIn was aware of this scraping back in 2014 and let it happen until 2017. In the end, both parties agreed to a private settlement.

The conclusion of this whole mess is that you should not do the following:

  1. Do not create fake accounts on Linkedin.
  2. Do not bypass their payment wall with fake credit cards.
  3. Respect server bandwidth.

This is what you can do:

You can scrape everything which is available to the public according to Computer Fraud and Abuse Act(CFAA). This can be concluded by hiQ vs LinkedIn case as both the parties had a very weak allegation against each other.

At Scrapingdog we only scrape whatever data is available in the public domain. Every person has the right to access information that is available in public.

Limitations of Scraping LinkedIn

Linkedin has placed a limit of 50 profiles per user in recent years. This means that you can only scrape 50 profiles in a day. But Linkedin is too smart and it will block your account because of data extraction activity.

Other than this if you are willing to scrape LinkedIn without creating a user then Linkedin will redirect you to either a Login screen or it will through a captcha like this.

LinkedIn Throwing Captcha While Scraping
LinkedIn Throwing Captcha While Scraping

So, it is next to impossible to scrape Linkedin at scale with a normal infrastructure on your own.

Quick Solution To Scraping LinkedIn at Scale

Scrapingdog can help you scrape Linkedin at scale without you getting blocked. By using Scrapingdog you will never face any kind of legal issues as your IP will never be used. You can scrape up to 1M profiles per day and our scraper is capable of bypassing any kind of captcha.

Other than Scrapingdog there is Brightdata which offers Linkedin Scraper but it is too expensive. Our per profile cost is $0.009 and goes below that if you want to scrape more than 100k profiles per month. On the other hand, Bightdata will charge you $0.01 per profile which makes it extremely expensive.

There are other solutions also in the market but they provide data from 2016 and this makes it very old.

Scrapingdog also offers a generous free pack through which you can test the Linkedin Profile Scraper API. Other than this we also offer a Linkedin Jobs Scraping API which can be used for scraping LinkedIn Jobs at scale with a simple GET request.

Also, do check out our compiled list of best LinkedIn Scrapers.

Happy Scraping!!

Additional Resources

Manthan Koolwal

My name is Manthan Koolwal and I am the founder of scrapingdog.com. I love creating scraper and seamless data pipelines.
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