How Did LinkedIn Measure Up in 2006?

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653305_ten.jpgOutgoing LinkedIn VP of Marketing Konstantin Guericke recently posted on MLPF and LinkedInnovators (and maybe somewhere else – sorry if I’m leaving anyone out) a wrap-up of what LinkedIn did in 2006. While they didn’t quite hit the 10 million mark they projected at the beginning of the year, they still impressively more than doubled in size to over 9 million members. Konstantin attributed the slightly slower growth to their decision not to localize to other languages to increase growth in Europe and Asia but focus on new feature development instead.

Konstantin listed some of the major upgrades LinkedIn implemented in 2006 (with links so you can explore any you don’t already know about):

  1. Profile updates on home page (http://www.linkedin.com/mbox?displayPup=)
  2. Re-connect with classmates (http://www.linkedin.com/edurec?display=)
  3. Profile upgrades: Web profile, buttons, live links, show recommendations made, etc. (http://www.linkedin.com/myprofile)
  4. A whole new services marketplace (http://www.linkedin.com/services) focused on service providers with client recommendations
  5. Great control over recommendations you have given (http://www.linkedin.com/recommendations?prs=)
  6. Highlight connections who added a new connections and ability to see just the new connections (http://www.linkedin.com/connections)
  7. Configuration settings brought together in one place (https://www.linkedin.com/secure/settings) and more controls (for groups, job notifications, etc.)
  8. A smarter LinkedIn: find similar people when looking at a profile, see similar searches, see recommended candidates for an open position
  9. Outlook toolbar allows you to merge new email addresses into Outlook contacts, shows profile previews inside of Outlook (http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=outlook_toolbar_download)
  10. IE/Firefox toolbars show profile previews inside of Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, etc. (http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=browser_toolbar_download)

And some other minor ones:

  1. Non-members can search
  2. Ability to break connections on your own without customer service intervention
  3. Use InMail to reach people in second degree
  4. See when address book contact joins LinkedIn on home page and sort address book by LinkedIn join date
  5. Improved forwarding of profiles
  6. Seeing new classmates on home page
  7. Find top correspondents without having to download the Outlook toolbar
  8. Search for entire US at once
  9. Quick link navigation footer and search on every page
  10. Enhanced “your network” page

That’s a pretty impressive list for a year — good work, guys! I do think that the ability to break connections on your own without customer service intervention may not be high on the list in terms of increasing productivity, but it’s huge in terms of reducing a nuisance factor as well as a major sticking point with many critics.

What’s coming for 2007? Konstantin was a bit elusive…

Our engineers have been working on something big for the past three months, and I think you’ll love what is coming up. It has been the improvement I’ve felt for several years will be the single biggest change in making LinkedIn more useful, and I can’t wait to use it.

…but I suspect what he’s referring to is this little gem I picked up in a brief mention in Bambi Francisco’s Marketwatch column:

Linkedin is rolling out a service similar to Yahoo Answers, whereby members can ask questions and other members can answer or offer up their expertise.

Sounds intriguing. I have to admit that I probably wouldn’t have envisioned that as a major new direction for LinkedIn, but now that I see it, it does seem like a great fit. Rather than getting answers from total strangers, why not get them from people you know and trust, the people they know and trust, and so on? It’s also very consistent with LinkedIn’s transaction-oriented approach — focusing on helping busy professionals get their job done.

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