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LinkedIn buys professional content sharing platform SlideShare

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner.jpg

LinkedIn recently announced that it is acquiring professional content sharing platform SlideShare for USD119 million in cash and stock.

According to Audrey William, Head of ICT Research for Frost & Sullivan Australia & New Zealand, social media is gathering a lot of momentum in the business space and this is a very strategic acquisition for LinkedIn simply because it has always been a professional networking platform.

"Now that content can be shared, uploaded, viewed amongst liked minded individuals, LinkedIn will be the strongest social media network for professionals," she commented.

LinkedIn, whose shares have more than doubled since its initial public offering in May 2011, said membership has increased to 161 million from 150 million in the fourth quarter. CEO Jeff Weiner is pushing mobile technology to woo more professionals to its subscription services and attract advertisers who want to reach the growing user base.

"The company has in recent years done quite a few amazing things to its portal including allowing for twitter feeds to be sent via LinkedIn and that itself has brought about a lot of discussion amongst professionals," said William.

LinkedIn is in a very unique position at this juncture, as not many companies out there have such a model. LinkedIn is now starting to take away revenue from traditional recruitment and headhunting agencies that charge high fees for the recruitment of professionals.

"In years to come it will be very common for companies to move away from such agencies and place advertisements through LinkedIn. Companies will be able to get information about candidates through their profiles, interactions, twitter feeds as well as forums they are on. That is a pretty attractive way for a HR manager or recruiter to identify candidates," added William.

LinkedIn’s model seeks revenue via various areas such as premium membership, recruitment fees and advertising. Frost & Sullivan expects this to continue and see LinkedIn grow their revenues effectively via these models.

"It will become an attractive platform for advertising and recruitment and will be the ‘Facebook’ of the professional networking world,” said William.

Jake Wengroff, Frost & Sullivan’s Global Director, Social Media Strategy & Research blogged his thoughts when the news broke saying, "the numbers are clear, 9 million presentations have been uploaded to SlideShare, and the site received 29 million unique visitors in March.  These numbers fit in nicely with LinkedIn’s 161 global members.  SlideShare has been an app available through the LinkedIn interface for quite some time.  Bringing the service in-house will only strengthen the alliance. LinkedIn is clearly on an acquisition streak – aiming to become a B2B or professional social network powerhouse – and injecting the principles of social business to every endpoint it touches".

In late February, the company acquired Rapportive, a Gmail plugin that makes both consumer Gmail as well as enterprise Gmail via Google Apps or Google Apps for Business more social. Wengroff said, "The Rapportive and SlideShare acquisitions both make sense.  In a world of social CRM, in which professionals in any department inside an organisation are mining social networks for signals, content and messages from their clients, prospects, partners, and employees, a repository of content and a socialised inbox clearly point to the future". 

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