Sell Hack is a browser extensions that lets users see anyone’s email address on LinkedIn. Marketers have been using this tool to find new people to spam.
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Yahoo Tech was the first to notice this new browser extension called Sell Hack. Easy to install and use, it lets you Hack into other user’s profile on LinkedIn and uncover their email address, even if the two are not connected through the network. According to a blog post, Sell Hack has been created for marketing professionals “as an internal email finder tool for us to use when prospecting.” Although creators say that their Hack tool isn’t mining private data on LinkedIn, revealing an email address that normally stays hidden for a reason is just that.
Sell Hack takes publicly visible data such as your name and work information, then references that other publicly available data across the web to find your email address. Basically, with this tool you don’t need to get LinkedIn premium account to use InMail. I cannot see how authors can justify that, but they say they aren’t doing anything illegal. Well, LinkedIn has sent them Cease and Desist letter, so we shall see how it works out.
“We advise LinkedIn members to protect themselves and to use caution before downloading any third-party extension or app. Often times, as with the Sell Hack case, extensions can upload your private LinkedIn information without your explicit consent,” LinkedIn Senior Manager of Corporate Communications Krista Canfield said. “LinkedIn members who downloaded Sell Hack should uninstall it immediately and contact Sell Hack requesting that their data be deleted.”
I went to Sell Hack website to check it out and there was this nice image showing LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner, and a button to Hack In his profile. To test it out, I tried using the extension on one of my friend’s profiles since we weren’t connected yet. After 1 minute, her work email was showing nicely, not her personal one. Imagine getting tons of spam emails in your inbox, just because someone thought it would be nice to earn by letting people avoid a paid service.
Professional marketers mine data all the time, it’s part of their job, though tools like Sell Hack are not used often. There is a difference between getting data from reliable services and obtaining emails through dodgy ways. The tool is currently free and in Beta. Everyone who has it should uninstall immediately. If nothing else then to save the reputation of their company. Once users realize they are getting spam from @yourcompany.com they will start blocking an entire domain and you will lose numerous potential customers. Have a look at few tips on how to improve your email security and stay on the safe side.
If Sell Hack seems tempting to ease your marketing work, think of what data it can retrieve from your account. As much as you might believe that it was developed to help you get potential buyers, if it can mine their email address with one click, what information can it retrieve from your computer?
Dolores is SEO and Digital Marketing consultant who has been completely hog-washed into doing this site by KC.