LinkedIn

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LinkedIn Corporation
TypePublic
Traded asNYSELNKD
FoundedSanta Monica, California (2003)
HeadquartersMountain View, California, U.S.
Area servedWorldwide
Founder(s)Reid Hoffman
Allen Blue
Konstantin Guericke
Eric Ly
Jean-Luc Vaillant
Key peopleReid Hoffman
(Executive Chairman)
Jeff Weiner
(CEO)
IndustryInternet
Revenue$522 million (2011)[1]
Employees2,447 (2012)[1]
Slogan(s)Relationships Matter
Websitewww.linkedin.com
IPv6 supportNo
Alexa rankSteady 13 (September 2012)[2]
Type of siteSocial network service
AdvertisingGoogle, AdSense
RegistrationRequired
Users175 million[3] (June 2012)
Available inMultilingual
LaunchedMay 5, 2003
Current statusActive
 
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LinkedIn Corporation
TypePublic
Traded asNYSELNKD
FoundedSanta Monica, California (2003)
HeadquartersMountain View, California, U.S.
Area servedWorldwide
Founder(s)Reid Hoffman
Allen Blue
Konstantin Guericke
Eric Ly
Jean-Luc Vaillant
Key peopleReid Hoffman
(Executive Chairman)
Jeff Weiner
(CEO)
IndustryInternet
Revenue$522 million (2011)[1]
Employees2,447 (2012)[1]
Slogan(s)Relationships Matter
Websitewww.linkedin.com
IPv6 supportNo
Alexa rankSteady 13 (September 2012)[2]
Type of siteSocial network service
AdvertisingGoogle, AdSense
RegistrationRequired
Users175 million[3] (June 2012)
Available inMultilingual
LaunchedMay 5, 2003
Current statusActive

LinkedIn (NYSELNKD) (play /ˌlɪŋkt.ˈɪn/) is a social networking website for people in professional occupations. Founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003,[4] it is mainly used for professional networking. As of June 2012, LinkedIn reports more than 175 million registered users in more than 200 countries and territories.[4]

The site is available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Romanian, Russian language, Turkish language, Japanese language, Czech, Polish, Korean, Indonesian, and Malay.[5][6] Quantcast reports LinkedIn has 21.4 million monthly unique U.S. visitors and 47.6 million globally.[7] In June 2011, LinkedIn had 33.9 million unique visitors, up 63 percent from a year earlier and surpassing MySpace.[8] LinkedIn filed for an initial public offering in January 2011 and traded its first shares on May 19, 2011, under the NYSE symbol "LNKD".[9]

Contents

History

LinkedIn Headquarters on Stierlin Court in Mountain View, CA

LinkedIn's CEO is Jeff Weiner, previously a Yahoo! Inc. executive. The company was founded by Reid Hoffman and founding team members from PayPal and Socialnet.com (Allen Blue, Eric Ly, Jean-Luc Vaillant, Lee Hower, Konstantin Guericke, Stephen Beitzel, David Eves, Ian McNish, Yan Pujante, and Chris Saccheri).

Founder Reid Hoffman, previously CEO of LinkedIn, is now Chairman of the Board. Bhushan Kasvekar is Vice President of Products.[10] LinkedIn is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in Omaha, Chicago, New York, London and Dublin. It is funded by Sequoia Capital, Greylock, Bain Capital Ventures,[11] Bessemer Venture Partners and the European Founders Fund. LinkedIn reached profitability in March 2006.[12] Through January 2011, the company had received a total of $103 million of investment.[13]

In 2003, Sequoia Capital led the Series A investment in the company.[14] In June 2008, Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, and other venture capital firms purchased a 5% stake in the company for $53 million, giving the company a post-money valuation of approximately $1 billion.[15]

In 2010, LinkedIn opened a European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland,[16] received a $20 million investment from Tiger Global Management LLC at a valuation of approximately $2 billion,[17] and announced its first acquisition, Mspoke,[18] and improved its 1% premium subscription ratio.[19] In October of that year Silicon Valley Insider ranked the company No. 10 on its Top 100 List of most valuable start ups.[20] By December, the company was valued at $1.575 billion in private markets.[21]

In 2011, LinkedIn earned $154.6 million dollars in advertising revenue alone, surpassing Twitter who earned $139.5 million dollars.[22] LinkedIn’s fourth-quarter 2011 earnings soared due to the company's increase in success in the social media world.[23]

In the spring of 2012, LinkedIn expanded its office space by 57,120 square foot in the Financial District of San Francisco.[24] In May 2012, LinkedIn announced its 2012 Q1 revenues were up 101% to $188.5 million compared to $93.9 million in Q1 of 2011, with net income increasing 140% over Q1'2011 to $5 million. Revenue for Q2 was estimated to be between $210 to $215 million.[25]

In June 2012 cryptographic hashes of approximately 6.4 million LinkedIn user passwords were stolen by hackers who then published the stolen hashes online.[26] In response to the incident, LinkedIn asked its users to change their passwords. Security experts criticized LinkedIn for not salting their password file, and instead using a single iteration of SHA-1.[27]

Acquisitions

On February 24, 2012, LinkedIn announced its acquisition of the start-up Rapportive, which created a browser plug-in that takes contact information from social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and places them into Google's Gmail. LinkedIn has not stated yet how it will use the Rapportive's technology and talent.[28]

On May 3, 2012, LinkedIn announced it had acquired SlideShare, deemed "the YouTube of slide shows" for $119 million. It was stated that the purchase was done to give LinkedIn members a way to discover people through content. At the time Slideshare attracted 29 million monthly visitors.[29]

Membership

With more than 161 million subscribers[30] LinkedIn is ahead of its competitors Viadeo (35 million)[31] and XING (10 million).[32] The membership grows by approximately two new members every second.[33] About half of the members are in the United States and 11 million are from Europe. With 3 million users, India has the fastest-growing network of users as of 2009. The Netherlands has the highest adoption rate per capita outside the US at 30%.[34] LinkedIn recently reached 4 million users in UK,[35] 1 million in Spain,[36] and nearly 1 million in Pakistan.

As of March 2011 the service had 44 million users in the US and 56 million outside.[37]

As of October 2011, LinkedIn has over 14 million students and recent college graduates as members.[38]

Features

One purpose of the site is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people with whom they have some level of relationship, called Connections. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection. However, if the invitee selects "I don't know" or "Spam", this counts against the inviter. If the inviter gets too many of such responses, the account may be restricted or closed.[39]

This list of connections can then be used in a number of ways:

The "gated-access approach" (where contact with any professional requires either an existing relationship, or the intervention of a contact of theirs) is intended to build trust among the service's users. LinkedIn participates in the EU's International Safe Harbor Privacy Principles.[40]

The feature LinkedIn Answers,[41] similar to Yahoo! Answers, allows users to ask questions for the community to answer. This feature is free, and the main difference from the latter is that questions are potentially more business-oriented, and the identity of the people asking and answering questions is known.

Another LinkedIn feature is LinkedIn Polls. In December 2011, LinkedIn announced that they are rolling out polls to their one million groups.[42]

In mid-2008, LinkedIn launched LinkedIn DirectAds as a form of sponsored advertising.[43]

In October 2008, LinkedIn revealed plans to opening its social network of 30 million professionals globally as a potential sample for business-to-business research. It is testing a potential social-network revenue model-research that to some appears more promising than advertising.[44]

Applications

In October 2008, LinkedIn enabled an "applications platform" that allows other online services to be embedded within a member's profile page. Among the initial applications were an Amazon Reading List that allows LinkedIn members to display books they are reading, a connection to Tripit, and a Six Apart, WordPress and TypePad application that allows members to display their latest blog postings within their LinkedIn profile.[45]

In November 2010, LinkedIn allowed businesses to list products and services on company profile pages; it also permitted LinkedIn members to "recommend" products and services and write reviews.[46]

Mobile

A mobile version of the site was launched in February 2008, which gives access to a reduced feature set over a mobile phone. The mobile service is available in six languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.[47]

In January 2011, LinkedIn acquired CardMunch, a mobile app maker that scans business cards and converts into contacts. LinkedIn plans to integrate this functionality into their services in the near future.[48] In August 2011, LinkedIn revamped its mobile applications on the iPhone, Android and HTML5. Mobile page views of the application have increased roughly 400% year over year according to CEO Jeff Weiner.[49]

Groups

LinkedIn also supports the formation of interest groups, and as of March 29, 2012 there are 1,248,019 such groups whose membership varies from 1 to 744,662.[50][51] The majority of the largest groups are employment related,[52] although a very wide range of topics are covered mainly around professional and career issues, and there are currently 128,000 groups for both academic and corporate alumni.

Groups support a limited form of discussion area, moderated by the group owners and managers. Since groups offer the ability to reach a wide audience without so easily falling foul of anti-spam solutions, there is a constant stream of spam postings, and there now exist a range of firms who offer a spamming service for this very purpose. LinkedIn has devised a few mechanisms to reduce the volume of spam, but recently took the decision to remove the ability of group owners to inspect the email address of new members in order to determine if they were spammers. Groups also keep their members informed through emails with updates to the group, including most talked about discussions within your professional circles.[50][53]

Groups may be private, accessible to members only or may be open to Internet users in general to read, though they must join in order to post messages.

Job listings

LinkedIn allows users to research companies with which they may be interested in working. When typing the name of a given company in the search box, statistics about the company are provided. These may include the ratio of female to male employees, the percentage of the most common titles/positions held within the company, the location of the company's headquarters and offices, or a list of present and former employees.

In July 2011, LinkedIn launched a new feature allowing companies to include an "Apply with LinkedIn" button on job listing pages.[54] The new plugin will allow potential employees to apply for positions using their LinkedIn profiles as resumes. All applications will also be saved under a "Saved Jobs" tab.[54]

Reception

LinkedIn has been described by online trade publication TechRepublic as having "become the de facto tool for professional networking".[55] LinkedIn has also been praised for its usefulness in fostering business relationships.[56] "LinkedIn is, far and away, the most advantageous social networking tool available to job seekers and business professionals today," according to Forbes.[57]

International reception

In 2009, Syrian users reported that LinkedIn server stopped accepting connections originating from IP addresses assigned to Syria. The company's customer support stated that services provided by them are subject to US export and re-export control laws and regulations and "As such, and as a matter of corporate policy, we do not allow member accounts or access to our site from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria."[58]

In February 2011, it was reported that LinkedIn was being blocked in China after calls for a "Jasmine Revolution". It was speculated to have been blocked because it is an easy way for dissidents to access Twitter, which had been blocked previously.[59] After a day of being blocked, LinkedIn access was restored in China.[citation needed]

SNA LinkedIn

The Search, Network, and Analytics team at LinkedIn has a web site[60] that hosts the open source projects built by the group. Notable among these projects is Project Voldemort,[61] a distributed key-value structured storage system with low-latency similar in purpose to Amazon.com's Dynamo and Google's BigTable.

See also

References

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External links