Thursday, 19 July 2012

LinkedIn steps up a gear with Forbes number 1 listing and site revamp. Is there something more to this?

If you've been on LinkedIn today, you'll have been left in no doubt about their news.

One, they launched in Norway which hardly warranted the excitement it seemed to generate sitting in Dublin. I'm delighted for Norway - just thrilled - but that means they didn't have it until now?

Secondly, LinkedIn made number 1 in the Forbes list of high growth Tech companies and the CEO made the Forbes cover.

And how did you know? because seemingly everyone who works for LinkedIn was basically posting away even on pages where they're not linked (isn't that spamming?). I had about 10 posts this morning and they're gone (taken down) by lunchtime. Did they get a reaction I wonder?

Forbes have chosen LinkedIn as the fastest growing technology company. Ahead of Apple, Qlik, Athena Health and Equinix in the top 5. But it's a bizarre list of what is a "tech company" - no Facebook, Google, Microsoft mentions etc. Or possibly what is "fastest growing".

Following from the Twitter fiasco, 
and their June security passwords hack,

So they're trying to get some good news out there. This for example from the normally independent Mashable today too;

LinkedIn isn’t just a digital destination for your resume; it’s a vibrant online hub offering all kinds of useful information, tools and functionality.
If it’s been awhile since you explored the site, check out this list of five things you might not know you can do on LinkedIn. Let us know in the comments below how you find LinkedIn a useful tool.

And then goes on to tell you how you can do 5 new things. Hmmmm. Sounds like PR to me. Unusual to see a Mashable story ending with "let us know in the comments below how you find LinkedIn a useful tool". Kinda' like saying "and tell us how great they are". Surprising.

There's also the Mashable story today again that they've revamped their homepage to make it look "more like Facebook and Google+". In essence a cleaner design with some increased functionality based around giving you the updates you want, instead of the flood you get.

"This simpler and cleaner design makes it easier to navigate the page and quickly find the updates you’re looking for – whether that’s a news article your boss has recently shared or it’s to see who has just started a new job,” writes Caroline Gaffney, a product manager at LinkedIn, in a blog post explaining the move.

LinkedIn launched in 2003 and went public (IPO) mid 2011 achieving about 170 million users as a professional networking site. Shares have leaped 64% this year largely because of the Recruiter usefulness of the site and a 24% surge in mobile traffic. The "bulls eye" as the unfortunately named CEO Jeff Weiner calls it and recruitment is a 27 billion usd industry.

What they're saying is that they're turning your resume, your CV, into cash. Businesspeople have value and LinkedIn makes it easy to reach out to them more than a Facebook ever can.

It would seem that LinkedIn is starting to wake up and moving forward with new design, new features, share growth, new territories and a niche business play. This type of publicity and activity will do their share price no harm.

But it's all happening very quickly - like a PR machine has just got into gear. Is there something afoot?