LinkedIn continues to see strong growth

December 10, 2007 12:00:00 AM PST
It's been called MySpace for the business world and it's one of the hottest sites in Silicon Valley. It's called LinkedIn, and starting today the business and social networking site is getting a few high profile upgrades.

"Everybody's on it, everybody's on it," said Eric Eldon, 'Venture Beat,' reporter.

On LinkedIn -- a fast-growing, free online social network for professionals. Eric Eldon, a reporter for 'Venture Beat' -- a news website about private companies and the venture capital that fuels them -- has been keenly following LinkedIn's growth. Since this venture-backed company launched in 2003, it's become a hotbed for business networking - growing itself from its Silicon Valley headquarters in Mountain View.

"One of the reasons all that software is coming out around here that helps people do that is because people have a strong need to know who each other are," said Eric Eldon.

"What LinkedIn allows you to do is realize the power of this network that you have, and it's based on the six-degrees of separation concept, so you're connected to one degree and then they're connected to somebody else," said Dan Nye, CEO LinkedIn.

CEO Dan Nye says more than 17-million professionals from around the world have joined LinkedIn, including executives from all of the Fortune-500 companies. Just this year, LinkedIn has expanded from 60 to 200 employees. Its success stories seem to fuel its growth.

"We call them the 'a-ha' moments, we've heard about an investment manager who had a multi-million dollar client come to him simply because somebody had recommended him on LinkedIn," said Dan Nye.

Four years in the making, LinkedIn is turning a profit and chugging away at getting better -- it's just redesigned its home page with more customizable tools for users to connect with people, jobs and answers about business issues. Another section even delivers specialized news articles about your company, competitors and industry. And that's not all -- a new program will now enable third-party developers to build applications that run inside LinkedIn - One new partner is Google's open-social. BusinessWeek.com is another valuable new partner integrating LinkedIn data.

"So as you read about a company there is a little button that says "in", like our little LinkedIn here, that will tell you how know that company, who in your network has a relationship to that company, and then you can share the story back out onto LinkedIn," said Dan Nye.

As for competition LinkedIn faces some from other online social networks like MySpace and FaceBook.

"A lot of us in blogosphere are wondering - 'okay is Facebook going to progressively build out their features for business people?' " said Eric Eldon.

So far though, LinkedIn reigns as champion of a far more focused, business-oriented network.

"I think it will be a challenge for anybody to catch up," said Eric Eldon.

Perhaps this success is what fueled recent talk of a takeover by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, which also owns MySpace. LinkedIn's CEO tells ABC7 News "no comment" about any such sale and reassures the plan is to continue growing independently, for now.


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