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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Linkedin to surpass Facebook's value as professional networks are more useful

A few days ago Facebook Inc announced that the professional version of its social network aimed at businesses will launch in the next few months. I wouldn’t disagree that Facebook is No.1 Internet social network with 1.35 billion monthly users. But we also shouldn’t forget Branchout back in 2010, a Facebook application for professional networking that raised $49 million over three rounds. Today that is the failed startup that attempted to create a “LinkedIn within Facebook” network, but the company’s assets have been acquired by 1-Page, an HR software company based out of San Francisco, listed on the Australian stock exchange. That deal was closed pretty much the same time with Facebook’s official announcement about the new professional network that could be considered as a switch into something new.

However the professional community today, is totally different to Facebook’s approach and envision. For most professionals and executives, Facebook is meaningless or even dangerous and they wont ever connect their Facebook profile with the upcoming professional one. When you meet other professionals all over the world, the first thing you do to keep in touch is to connect via Linkedin and network rather than a Facebook connection that will come later or even never. Linkedin today is where professionals meet globally, joining forums online, finding jobs, acquiring knowledge and create partnerships.

All this value is translated into a 40% share growth in the past 6 months, what investors care about, 20% more than Facebook Inc’s. Linkedin has created its own path, partly based on a typical social network’s principles, gaining full approval from its members that join at a rate of more than two new members per second. Perhaps that was the reason that made Facebook realize that it has to be there and gain market share, even if Linkedin is more robust and sustainable and will be hard to beat.
Based on Linkedin stats, more than 4 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages and in Q32014 total revenues advanced 45% on a Y-o-Y basis.
Concluding, if Facebook Inc plans to offer the professional network, closely attached to Facebook’s platform, it will most likely have limited success as most professionals are already settled with profiles and contacts in Linkedin. I don’t really see how Facebook will motivate this community to give up Linkedin or even add the new platform and a personal profile as we all have limited time to network, to build profiles/reputation and are interested into serious discussions and opinions. Finally Linkedin continuously offers new leading social features, as “Like Post”, “Write Post” that increase engagement and the high value content.

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