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LinkedIn, The Media Company?

By - March 13, 2012

Quick, what’s LinkedIn? If you’re like me, the first thing that comes to mind is “a professional social network.” Perhaps “a place to get a job, or find someone to fill a job.” Or maybe “the place my professional resume lives.” And certainly “a very successful Internet IPO.”

But over the two years or so, LinkedIn has quietly built itself into a significant media business. It’s added a newsfeed, status updates, and “top stories today” features. Late last month, it added “following”  as well. And I’ve begun to notice the LinkedIn share button popping up all over the web – it isn’t quite the attention engine that Twitter has become, but its power is rising. (Yep, I’ve got one on this site too).

All those media bells and whistles combine to create a robust advertising business, complete with a Facebook-like self service platform driven by your social graph. That business has been scaling right along with its core recruitment and jobs posting revenue, accounting for about a third of the company’s topline.  Given that LinkedIn added more members last year than in the prior 6 – about 60 million, for a global total of 150 million, I predict it won’t be long before LinkedIn becomes a “must buy” for any marketer who targets professionals. And that’s a lot of marketers.

It doesn’t hurt that the business has been killing it – beating Wall Street expectations and outperforming most recent Internet IPOs.

The man steering LinkedIn, CEO Jeff Weiner, will join me onstage next week at our Signal San Francisco show. We’ll have one of our trademark conversations, and I’m inviting you to help me interview him. Given Signal focuses on the media and marketing business, we’ll certainly cover off on that part of Weiner’s purview.  But what else might you want to hear from Weiner? He’s always a fun interview, and usually shares very candid opinions of other players in the Internet ecosystem (he was a top executive at Yahoo and Warner Brothers prior to joining LinkedIn).

Join us at Signal to hear Jeff, along with a killer lineup that includes Adam Bain, President of Global Revenue at Twitter, Tom Bedecarre, CEO of AKQA, Michele DiLorenzo, CEO of Jumptime, Konrad Feldman, CEO of Quantcast, Ross Levinsohn, EVP Yahoo, Alison Pincus, CEO of One Kings Lane, Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram, Tina Sharkey, CEO of BabyCenter, and many, many others. It’s a wonderful group, so register now!

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  • Sara Howers

    Hi John – afraid I can’t make it to the session, so please would you ask Jeff when Linked In are going to make it easier for us to pull off stats for our BPA audits! It’s real easy getting these stats off Facebook & Twitter, but LI just isn’t set up for this yet. Many thanks & have a great session, Sara

    • Anonymous

      Sure, will do. To be clear, BPA audits in what sense? What do you wish them to do?

      • Sara Howers

        Hi John – on the BPA Brand report publishers can now include social media stats such as Twitter followers, Facebook Likes & Linked in group memebers – which we use for events and product forums – Linked In doesnt have any kind of reporting frame for getting counts of group members, so our tech team has a diary note to log in & take a screen shot with a date/time stamp on the last day on every month – so very clunky & easy to miss – just not optimal.

        • Anonymous

          ah i see. OK thanks.

  • tacanderson

    Great minds… or something. I asked this exact question last year, I'll be interested to hear what Jeff’s answer is. 

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Tac. I’ll try not to pretend it was my idea!

      • tacanderson

        I have no doubt you were thinking it long before either of us wrote it since you tend to view every company as a content company :)  

        • Anonymous

          True that

  • j-son

    I would kill a man for a LinkedIn iPad app.. ask him why they don’t have one.

    • Anonymous

      Now now, let’s keep it friendly here! I will.

  • Adam Sullivan

    My question: Navigating through LinkedIn’s groups can be tedious and unproductive, how does Jeff see groups evolving as they move forward? (If they have plans to change how you navigate through groups, that is.)

    • Anonymous

      Any ideas from your experience about what’s wrong/could be fixed?

      • Adam Sullivan

        This will sound harsh, but it’s the truth (as far as my experience has been with it anyway). I think the entire group model, the way it’s designed now, needs to be rethought. It’s simply too old fashioned, it’s fragmented and inefficient. I feel like LinkedIn groups are subpar social networks within a social network. There isn’t a real notification system on LinkedIn either – if there was, it’d probably drive more conversation. I think LinkedIn could be one of the most powerful social networks on the web/have the most impact in the real-world.

  • George

    Big believer in Jeff and the LinkedIn Team; curious if he would classify their business as a media company or social networking? I took the headline hook…


    • Anonymous

      I’ll ask!

  • Sreee

    Do they have plans to have ‘verified’ accounts like in twitter


      I second that!

  • Jill Smith227

    Considering he hired Dan Roth from Forbes, answer to your question John is, ‘uh, Yeah!’

    • Anonymous

      Yes though one hire a media company does not makeŠ..

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