LinkedIn – a social networking site for business professionals – is a concept originally developed by co-founder Reid Hoffman back in 2002. The site was launched on May 5, 2003, and it has since become one of the leading social networking sites across the globe. Its success was indicated very early on – by the end of the first month, LinkedIn had a total of 4,500 active members on the network. Since then, the site has gone from strength to strength, with approximately one million new members joining every week. To put this membership growth into perspective, it’s the equivalent of a professional joining the site at a rate of more than one member per second.
At the start of 2011, LinkedIn had approximately 1,000 full-time employees based across the world – this was an increase of 500 from the start of 2010. The company uses a combination of highly effective business models – it gains funding via user subscriptions, sales generated via advertising and the provision of hiring solutions. It is now the world’s largest professional network on the web – with over 100 million members based across 200 countries. Interestingly, in excess of half of these members are based outside of the United States – making the site a global phenomenon. In 2010 alone an estimated two billion people searches were performed on LinkedIn.
The company now has headquarters in Mountain View, California, with additional offices in Amsterdam, Dublin, London, Paris, Sydney, Toronto and Mumbai, India. The LinkedIn management team comprises of experienced professionals from leading companies such as Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft and PayPal. Perhaps boosting its popularity even further – LinkedIn is now available in six of the most used languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
The combination of features offered by LinkedIn is clearly proving very popular with a worldwide audience – the site has grown substantially across virtually every market. Using data obtained between March 2010 and March 2011, it can be calculated that LinkedIn has seen an estimated growth of 65 percent – increasing from 48 million members in March 2010 to 79 million members in March 2011.
Location-wise, the site has shown extremely strong levels of growth throughout Latin America – records show an amazing 240 percent increase in visitors across this demographic – from 1.7 million visitors in March 2010 to over 5.8 million in March 2011. North America has also seen an increase, of around 37 percent, and Europe shows a growth of 69 percent. The number of members joining from Asia Pacific areas has increased by 132 percent and user numbers in the Middle East – Africa has jumped by 140 percent over the past year.
From a business perspective, LinkedIn is now a leading power – In January 2011, LinkedIn had members from all of the 2010 Fortune 500 companies, and by March 22, 2011, it was used as a hiring platform by 73 of the Fortune 100 companies. Clearly, a wide range of companies are harnessing the power of LinkedIn, and to date, around 2 million companies have pages on the site. The technology on LinkedIn has also advanced rapidly – thousands of developers are now using LinkedIn APIs to create even more innovative tools and services for professionals.
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