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Tell HN: LinkedIn's API will be restricted next week
78 points by zthomas on May 8, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 42 comments
LinkedIn will be drastically limiting their API next week. The grace period ends on May 12th. https://developer.linkedin.com/support/developer-program-transition

One of the major restrictions is limiting the access of the r_fullprofile fields to only explicit LinkedIn partners. This is used by a lot of startups to create a great onboarding UX and minimize user data entry.

While this is a disruption to developers who will now have to adapt their onboarding, more importantly, it's a major setback for millions of LinkedIn users. LinkedIn is heightening their walls and there will no longer be an easy way for LinkedIn users to export their profile data out of LinkedIn and use it for other purposes.

We build an online resume/portfolio creation tool and are offering all our premium plans for free when users signup with LinkedIn until our API access to LinkedIn profiles gets turned off on May 12: https://www.visualcv.com/?ref=freeLinkedIn

Before the LinkedIn API grace period ends, we would love to hear from any more startups that are currently relying on the LinkedIn API for signups and are offering a promo to their services one last time. Please list your startup in the comments below.

I wrote a nightmare (high level wrapper for phantomJS: https://github.com/segmentio/nightmare) plugin for navigating linkedin: https://github.com/lambtron/nightmare-linkedin

Exposes a few methods. Main use case was just to traverse linkedin results.

Contributors welcome!!!

That's why I hate working with these so-called APIs, they release it then cut it down or stop it. Never rely on these APIs to build anything significant

We built Prezence an app that showed you the LinkedIn profiles of the people around you https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftw...

For us LinkedIn integration was obviously critical. We think we can still go forward with what API's are available but we knew full well we were building a business on top of another business's API. So it is what it is. Can't really say it's unfair, they built the platform. Oh well.

Have you tried contacting them and requesting access?

What I'm wondering about is, what will happen if you request certain permissions (e.g. w_messages / rw_groups ) as part of the oauth process, but do not actually call API endpoints that require them.

The documentation just mentions the limitation in API endpoints, but I'm a bit worried whether it could make the oauth login fail due to permissions requested that you can no longer use.

Guess it is answered... yes... this breaks your auth flow... It is now mentioned on: https://developer.linkedin.com/support/developer-program-tra... as well, don't remember reading that before.

Tangent: I'm slowly working on a toy site, and I want to provide API access (nowhere close yet).

I had thought to use LinkedIn as one of a few APIs to learn from and to prompt thinking.

Anyone recommend a few good API-backed sites to learn from? Is HN's API particularly good, or simple, or something?

Anything else?

Reddit. Append '.json' to any path and you'll get JSON. It's a thing of beauty.

Ex: https://www.reddit.com/r/programming.json


Why yes, that is beautiful. :)

Reddit's API is pretty easy to get started with. Find a page within Reddit that contains the data you want, add ".json" to the URL, and chances are very good that you'll get exactly what you need.

So many apis. facebook, twitter, gdelt, soundcloud, forecast, archive.org, product hunt, pinterest, reddit, etc.

My main gripe with LinkedIn is that the API is not even available for a fee through their partner programs.

Yahoo! mail recently launched integration with LinkedIn data, and Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics have integration, but no other CRM is allowed to have access.

Glad you are calling attention to this. We (https://jobboard.io) offer a feature for our users where they can have a profile database as part of their job boards (example: http://www.railsjobs.com/profiles) - Profile creation is super easy via LinkedIn, but we've had to strip back use of r_fullprofile. A huge pain for job seekers. We "applied" to get the permission to use it but were denied without explanation. Sad state of affairs.

We also have a jobs marketplace and they killed our access.

Like Twitter and other Tech 'Giants', this is insane.

These corporations assume they can do it all on their own, as they have billions of dollars and great engineers.

Still, it's quite useless: greed is what really drives true innovation.

Good luck Linkedin

I can see Twitter, they are struggling trying to monetize themselves, and I believe they still aren't making a profit. LinkedIn on the other hand, I'm surprised, I thought they made most of their earnings by selling greater access to recruiters. I'm wondering what they are trying to capture here, that they think they'll be able to make revenue from.

I can see Twitter too, they never make any money as far I as I can tell.

Yea but Twitter's clients also suck and their management and engineering team seem completely incapable of developing interesting, innovative or easy to use clients. Their one size fits all clients also don’t accomodate power users, many of whom are the people who generate a lot of the interesting streams that draw users.

This should be a golden age of software but its increasingly resembling a wasteland. Most software is being herded in to app stores which Apple and Google completely control and dominate, and which has reached a saturation level of app developers.

Interesting companies keep putting out awesome API’s, lure in suckers . . er . . developers, only to crush them after the developer has sunk a bunch of time and and money developing for them and about the time the company has developed enough momementum that they don’t need third party developers unless they are fully monetized partners.

And then of course there are the patent trolls.

I suspect these changes are prompted by lawyers and/or investors, more than engineering.

Huh. Is there some specific reason you think so?

If something like this is driven by lawyers, that's ridiculous: they advise, not prescribe.They are tools, not the brain manipulating the tool.

Investors .. maybe. But, why would investors be so myopic? Or rather, do such myopic investors have enough control to push this?

To me it sounds like linkedin leadership saw how much they were making from recruitment and decided to open up the sales side of the business too. And, instead of competing for sales data enrichment, they decided to make it a one-player game.

Whatever. Time to buy linkedin stock, and set a reminder to sell in 1-2 years.

Don't make your product depend on other products. It's pretty simple, really.

Follow that rule and you won't need to worry.

This is literally throwing the baby out with the bath water. If we couldn't depend on other products to make our own product, then the computer industry is pretty much dead and we'll all have to go back to farming the land (and, if you're in SoCal like me, even then you'll have to depend on the mercy of our northern neighbors for water).

I think what you mean to say is "don't build a product that depends on LinkedIn", and to that, I absolutely agree. LinkedIn, with its chain email spamming and forced mass invites, is literally the post-child for internet dark patterns and unethical behavior. Furthermore, the sheer volume of people on there automatically force recruiting agencies to use bots (or at least copy-and-paste) to spam folks on there, and in general leads to bad returns for the recruiter and tons of spam for you the programmer.

No he did not mean just don’t depend on LinkedIn. He meant don’t place the fate of your software and company in the hands of any third party. The list of companies who have burned developers includes Twitter, Apple and Google just to name the three spectactular examples. Facebook has been somewhat better to their developers though there have been a few instances there too.

Unless you have an ironclad contract with whomever you are partnering with(whose API you are using) and know exactly what you get from them and they get from you and for how long, you should not be depending on them.

If you want to spend a few weekends writing to some API and don’t care if the rug gets pulled out from under it, and all your users then fine. If you want to support an API in a product that will survive without that integration that is also fine. Just don’t gamble your entire product and your future user base on API's that can disappear overnight when some dickhead MBA decides he isn’t making his numbers and the free loader third parties aren’t worth it any more.

Facebook cut their API heavy when they phased out v2 last month. No access to friend data and limited access to user profile. LinkedIn is following FB's lead.

Figuratively, not literally.

But to your point, LinkedIn's practices can be a little pushy, but the site still provides decent value to me (it got me my current job). I can put up with ignoring mass invite requests, recruiter messages, and configuring my notification settings to maintain this professional network. It may get me my next job in 5 years, so for me it's totally worth it.

Figuratively, not literally.

Maddeningly, at least one dictionary disagrees: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/literally (2)

Most products depend on other products. e.g. Apple computers use components from other manufacturers.

Name one product that doesn't rely on another product.

If a component from one manufacturer becomes unavailable (or that manuf. isn't playing "fair"), another one can usually be sourced.

That said, I think that: "don't make your service depend on other services without some sort of contract or agreement to provide" is a better rule of thumb than the one above.

Additionally, the same model may be sourcing parts from multiple vendors (for instance, laptop displays)

Don't rely on free APIs to stay free. : P

It's not the same concept, at all.

Building your company around the core business of LinkedIn/Facebook/etc is dumb, because you are nothing more than a complement to their core mission. Best case, you become a commodity and achieve modest success, but the oxygen gets cut off at any time.. If you're very successful, you become a feature of the mother product.

When you're Apple buying memory from Samsung, that's different. Samsung's output is memory chips... that's the business. If nobody buys memory chips, they lose money.

On the other hand Apple, Google, Faceobook, Twitter, Amazon and LinkedIn are increasingly sucking all of the oxygen out of the rest of the software ecosytem. Software developers are increasingly being painted in to a corner where all the users are sitting on those platforms all the time and unless you are there too its really hard to get eyeballs to look at your software.

Developing for the open web and trying to get people to websites in the current mobile/social era is increasingly brutal unless you are willing to be completely dependent on a handful of big companies.

The difference is that the core competence of Intel is providing chips to other businesses. It's not a stretch to say everything that goes into an Apple product is made by companies that specialize in selling components to other companies. If some supplier doesn't work out, there are a dozen others to pick up the slack.

Basing your product on top of LinkedIn? The core of their business isn't anywhere near providing that API.

ConferenceCloud: A virtual attendance platform for professional and industry conferences. We use LinkedIn as a part of our login stuff, more specifically the fullprofile to help us understand our attendees and add to our "Contextual Networking" features which enables us to recommend other people at an event that you should connect with.

Really saddened to see LinkedIn restricting this API access. It won't cause any significant disruption to our platform, but destroys the convenience of using LinkedIn.

It looks like LinkedIn is having the illusion that the profile data is "owned" by them. Well... it isn't. If I cannot share my profile information with the platforms I choose, LinkedIn will loose it's sympathy factor for jobseekers. LinkedIn's decision triggered us at https://www.wematchit.nl to work on a better solution. A world where LinkedIn will no longer be needed :-)

I think I'm correct in saying that for anyone who is just using `r_basicprofile`, you won't be affected, and you do get quite a lot of information just from that:


Sounds like Twitter all over again. How soon till they are floundering and begging developers to come back?

My app (Bubbler) used LinkedIn pretty heavily as a data source. There seem to be enough market demand that someone might be able to step in and be the new source of professional profiles.

Does the OP have an API for taking data out for Virtual CV users?

Right now we just have simple exports in various formats like Google Doc or a PDF resume. We are looking to embed structured data with the PDF that we are creating for users so that the data is always tied to their application and it makes for really simple resume parsing.

Clearbit's person lookup API might be a suitable alternative for a number of cases: https://clearbit.com/docs


I used to feel this way and eventually deleted my LinkedIn account. I eventually created another when we started fundraising and it's actually turned out to be a somewhat useful tool.

I completely ignore my timeline and I only connect with people I've met. LinkedIn's been helpful when I find a potential donor (or someone else I want to talk to) and I can see who's connected with them. If I have a 2nd degree connection with them, then I begin my research to actually see the best way to get in touch with them. Far too many people connect with people they don't know for LinkedIn alone to be a useful tool.

I used LinkedIn still, although I don't do much on there. I find it useful for finding a job seeing as I'm new to the industry and don't have a connection at every company I might want to apply to. For startups I use AngelList but for big companies I've found it difficult to get an interview by just applying through their website; it's usually easier to find a recruiter and even easier if you were initially contacted by one.

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