LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing professional networks. LinkedIn enables you to connect with people and exchange information, opportunities and ideas. The website was launched in May 2003 and now has over 120 million registered users worldwide. The website receives over 50 million unique visitors daily. A new member joins the website every second and it is available in multiple languages. It reaches more than 175 countries worldwide. LinkedIn is a public limited company and their shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The company’s headquarters is located in Mountain View, California. Jeff Weiner is the Chief Executive Officer.
Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Jean Vaillant, Eric Ly, Ian McNish, David Eves and Yan Pujante were the founding members. Sequoia Capital provided the seed capital for the company in early 2003. It took almost 3 years for the company to reach profitability. As of today the company has received investments of over $150 million from Bain Capital Ventures, Greylock, Bessemer Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital and is valued at over $8 billion.
Every registered user of LinkedIn can create a professional profile on the website. This gives an online identity to the person. LinkedIn also enables you to stay in touch with your relatives and friends. You can find experts who can solve your business problems. You can even explore career opportunities and build your professional reputation online. Employers can list their requirements and look for potential candidates. Job seekers can look at the profiles of recruiters. Members can also bookmark jobs.
LinkedIn also allows members to do basic research on companies before they consider working for them. LinkedIn Answers allows members to ask questions and get a response from the community. LinkedIn Polls enables users to find answers regarding market research and business. These features have set aside LinkedIn as a more professional social networking site than its peers.
In early 2008, LinkedIn warned members regarding the dangers of ‘frolleagues’. A ‘frolleague’ is a slang term that refers to a person who is your friend and who also works in your office. LinkedIn introduced a new set of guidelines to prevent members from damaging their professional careers by mixing friends and professional contacts online. It claimed that more than 50% of the users are mixing their professional and social lives by accepting invitations from frolleagues. LinkedIn also recommended members keep important information like social security numbers, date of birth, residential address and contact numbers private to avoid identity theft.