Full Profiles of 3rd Degree LinkedIn Network No Longer Free?


Do you use LinkedIn for free?

Can you still view full profiles of your 3rd degree network?

You may have read about some recent changes that have affected some LinkedIn users here and here with regard to 3rd degree profile visibility.

Prior to both of those articles, I had a recruiter who I used to work with at a past company reach out to me the other week asking me if I had seen that LinkedIn is no longer allowing free users to view full profiles of 3rd degree connections.

Now, like many people, I’ve been wondering for quite some time when LinkedIn would start making changes to limit the data available to free users, so I immediately went to LinkedIn to see what he was talking about and I was able to view full profiles of 3rd degree connections, so I asked him to send me some screenshots to see what he was seeing.

Here’s one:



For those who are affected and are currently not premium account holders, this has a major impact – the 3rd degree network is of course the largest portion of anyone’s LinkedIn network. This means that those who are affected no longer have the ability to view, in some cases, for well connected people, millions to 10’s of millions of profiles.

Of course, you can still X-Ray search LinkedIn via Google or Bing to find any public LinkedIn profile.

However, LinkedIn’s advanced search interface is vastly superior to Google or Bing when it comes to enabling the surgical retrieval specific LinkedIn profiles.

Remember, you can always use LinkedIn with a free account like I do for the most part (although I now benefit from access to LinkedIn Recruiter), which is through running highly effective searches using LinkedIn’s advanced search interface, and when viewing a 3rd degree profile (or even “private” profiles beyond your network),  leverage unique phrases or combinations of terms in Google or Bing to review the full public profile.

For example – this is a profile that was used in the SocialTalent article:



Take some info from the profile and ask Google or Bing if they’ve seen that information before.

In this case, Google replied, “Yes Glen, I have seen that combination of terms before, on this public LinkedIn profile.”

What? Google doesn’t speak to you in your head?

Notice I didn’t even have to use the site: command.



Of course, you can also upgrade your LinkedIn account, which I am sure many people will do.

Don’t Hate – Appreciate

I am sure many people who have been holding out and using LinkedIn for free without ever paying a dime for LinkedIn’s data are not pleased by this change.

To those of you who are outraged, reflect on how you have benefitted from free LinkedIn data over the years and appreciate the fact that you were able to do so. In some cases, there are recruiters and companies who have made hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars (or avoided similar amounts in executive search fees) without paying for LinkedIn access.

Also – let’s remember that LinkedIn is now a publicly traded company, and like any other such company, they are responsible for consistently increasing revenues and profits for their shareholders.

Even if you pay for LinkedIn’s most expensive premium account, if you use it effectively, the ROI in terms of revenue and profit generated for staffing companies or agency fees avoided for corporate customers can be quite high.

Have You Been Affected?

To date, I can still view full profiles of my 3rd degree LinkedIn network for free.

I know that LinkedIn rolls out changes a little bit at a time and they typically don’t make changes that affect their entire network all at once. I know several people who have been affected by this particular change, but many still have yet to be affected.

Can you still view full profiles of 3rd degree connections with your free account?