How To Respond To LinkedIn Competitors – AKA – WSJ

So the web is a-flutter with reports that the Wall Street Journal is looking to grab LinkedIn’s market.

That’s an interesting proposition.

But really – what are their prospects of doing so?

First – the plan

The WSJ is part of the News Corporation tree, and News Corp also happens to own MySpace…  So there’s some potential there to get a workable product out.

But the real question is – will it catch on?

Let me go out on a limb and suggest that there are new and different ways to build a professional networking site, and that the WSJ will be successful in creating one.

But will it really matter?

Current LinkedIn competitors

The market already has some sites that could claim to be as good or better than LinkedIn:

  • Bebo
  • Fast Pitch
  • Naymz
  • Plaxo
  • Spoke
  • VisualCV
  • Xing

And I’m not making a value judgment on any of them – except to say that I’ve actually heard of these ones – there are plenty more that I have not heard of…

Can you top 40 million users?

LinkedIn has been doubling in size every year for the past several – and has more than 40 million users now.

What incentive do users have to do it all over again on another platform?

It’ll have to be much more attractive – and even if LinkedIn does nothing in response, I’m not sure anyone can offer anything that is going to be that much more attractive.

The December 2007 rumor…

Back when the LinkedIn Personal Trainer was just a few months old I heard a rumor that the News Corp was interested in buying LinkedIn. In a flash I thought of a great tie-in.

What if the company announced the acquisition with a special edition of the book containing a forward by Murdock himself – letting all of the current News Corp employees learn how to make their way through this new site that was now part of the family? (And recall – at the time there were only 2 books on the market about LinkedIn)

And true to form, I found that I knew someone who knew someone who knew Murdock directly!

Alas it never happened.  But perhaps the interest was genuine – and is coming back now in the form of this new effort by the Wall Street Journal.  It did give me a bit of excitement for a few weeks;-)

Wait and see

People that know me will say that I am an optimist – but also practical.

I’m not going to write off anyone’s effort to come up with a LinkedIn killer – but this will take years.

So – use LinkedIn now and just keep your eyes open.  Perhaps somewhere in the future I’ll title an article “The LinkedIn Personal Trainer moves to __________” and then you’ll know what I think about somebody’s new product!

But until then – keep reading here for more advice on how to use LinkedIn effectively.

To your continued success,

Steven Tylock

Fast Pitchxxxxxxxxxxxx