Ralf Haller October 14, 2009
LinkedIn, the professional contact social network, is somewhat in the shadow of its much more visible rivals Facebook, Myspace or – recently – Twitter. For business users LinkedIn is in my opinion the strongest public social network tool I can think of. I also tried out XING, its German rival, but dropped it after finding little other than job seekers in it. LinkedIn on the other hand becomes a very very strong tool once you have 100+ or so contacts as you can then get in contact via InMail with many people that you might want to do business with. And with every new contact you sign on the network grows exponentially. What most people don’t know is that LinkedIn was started also by a German: Konstantin Guericke. Recently LinkedIn has been trying to also include more social communication features such as e.g. a status line on what you are working on.
I think they could easily also include more of what Facebook and Twitter have to offer and with that get the network growing some more. One key difference is that LinkedIn are far less willing to share their API with developers; this may be a benefit in some ways but it does limit the ways that LinkedIn can be tied into the user’s life. Another way they might expand is that they could start a LinkedIn Junior or something like that to attract younger folks as well. But whichever way you look at it, LinkedIn is a big success story and all the folks who have been involved deserve a lot of respect.
Ralf Haller March 23, 2009
2009 will be the year where more and more businesses take a serious look at how they can make use of the intelligence found in social media platforms. Now salesforce.com, the leading online CRM software, is also looking at Twitter, and has included it into their Service Cloud offering, after also doing this for Facebook. Missing from the list so far are LinkedIn and XING, but as these professional contact lists will include more features to network (e.g. what you are working on) this will change, I think.
Ralf Haller August 14, 2008
Having tested XING over many months, Germany’s biggest newspaper FAZ came to this conclusion (in short): XING is a place to discuss all kinds of subjects, an entertaining, comprehensive place for dating and hobby forums where you can find friends and your partner for life maybe. But as a business contact tool it is not suitable at all.
“Das Web-2.0-Konstrukt Xing, glauben wir, hat die besten Zeiten schon hinter sich. Aus unserer Sicht ist es ein unterhaltsames Panoptikum für alle Themen der Welt, ein vielseitiges Flirt- und Hobby-Forum, in dem man Freund und Lebenspartner finden kann. Für berufliche Zwecke erscheint uns Xing kaum geeignet, denn Kontrakte und Kontakte machen wir immer noch persönlich und am Telefon. Daran hat auch Web 2.0 nichts geändert. Die virtuelle Gemeinschaft vermittelt nur das Gefühl, ein wenig näher am Geschäft zu sein. Das Gegenteil ist der Fall.”
I agree with this statement, having just unsubscribed from it as well. While it was possible to find certain contacts in the IT community, having used it for one of our clients in business development, I saw little prospect of bottom line results with it. I think that the members are mostly freelancers and job-seekers who use it as an inexpensive tool to maybe some day land a freelance or full-time job, and then it pays for itself. If nothing comes of it, and that is probably the case for most people, it does not do any harm either, as expectations are anyway very low. An analogy would be installing a low-cost software package and testing it on your PC — if it is not exactly what you were looking for you simply de-install it. The very same business model is what the XING people seem to be after…
Ralf Haller June 20, 2008
LinkedIn announced a new round of funding at $1 billion valuation. As usual the investors like to brag about how cool and cheap this investment has been. No difference here. Now they seem to be coming to Europe and will then for sure give XING a run for their money. Will be interesting to see who wins this race. I can already see that LinkedIn has a much larger community even in Europe. They don’t have the same depth of contacts yet in Europe but in 12-24 months this might look entirely different. Maybe XING will become an acquisition target by then?