Social Networks as a Business

After my post of yesterday, a colleague and friend (who was probably the first and only reader) called me to ask if I could give him some additional information on LinkedIn as a business, its structure, business model, etc. Instead of sending the information only to him, by email, I decided to post it here with the assumption that others may be interested in these “factoids”. All data is from the LinkedIn® corporation and can be retrieved on their corporate website and press releases.

Structure, Management, Business Model:

  • Started in 2002, the site did not officially launch until May 5, 2003.
  • The management team is comprised of (not surprisingly) veteran Silicon Valley and internet execs from companies such as Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft, TiVo, PayPal and Electronic Arts. The CEO is Jeff Weiner.
  • As of September 30, 2011 (the end of the third quarter), LinkedIn has 1,797 full-time employees located all around the globe.  
  • Following its recent IPO, the company is now publicly held
  • Business model: revenue streams come from 3 sources: “hiring solutions”, “marketing solutions”, and “premium subscriptions”.

Physical and Cultural Footprint: 2o offices and 11 languages

  • LinkedIn has 5 U.S. offices: its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, plus offices in Chicago, New York, Omaha and San Francisco.
  • LinkedIn has 15 overseas offices in Amsterdam, Bangalore, Delhi, Dublin, London, Melbourne, Mumbai, Munich, Paris, São Paulo, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto. (Emerging market presence highlighted in bold above).
  • LinkedIn is currently available in 11 languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Russian, Turkish and Romanian.


  • After only one month of operation LinkedIn had 4,500 members in the network.
  • As mentioned yesterday, it now has 135 million members around the world (count at November 3, 2011).
  • What I did not mention yesterday is the rate of acquisition of members. At September 30, 2011, 2 new members  are signing up…every second. You do the math: 120 members per minute, or 7200 new members every hour. It would be interesting to see if that rate is going to be maintained, if it will accelerate or decelerate. Any guess?

Where are these 135 million members? Scattered throughout 200 countries and territories around the globe, roughly as follows:

  • 59 % are currently located outside of the United States.
  • 31m+ members in Europe as of November 21, 2011
  • 6m+ members in the UK
  • 3m+ members in France as of November 29, 2011
  • 2m+ members in the Netherlands
  • 2m+ members in Italy 
  • 2m+ members in what LinkedIn calls (why?) the “DACH” region = Germany, Austria and Switzerland 
  • 1m+ members in Spain
  • 1m+ members in Belgium
  • 20m+ members in Asia and the Pacific as of November 21, 2011
  • 11m+ members in India
  • 3m+ members in Southeast Asia as of November 21, 2011
  • 4m+ members in Canada
  • 6m+ members in Brazil
  • 2m+ members in Australia

LinkedIn and Business

  • Its corporate hiring solutions are used by 75 of the Fortune 100 companies.
  • More than 2 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages.
  • More than 40,000 developers are using LinkedIn APIs to create innovative tools and services for professionals.
  • There are over 180,000 unique domains actively using the LinkedIn Share button on their sites to send content into the LinkedIn platform.
  • Referrals from LinkedIn to publisher sites around the Web are up more than 75% between June 30, 2011 and September 30, 2011.
  • Members are sharing information and knowledge through over 1 million LinkedIn Groups.
  • As of September 30, 2011, mobile page views account for more than 11 percent of total member visits to LinkedIn.
  • There were nearly two billion people searches on LinkedIn in 2010. Based on third quarter 2011 metrics, LinkedIn members are on pace to do more than four billion searches on the LinkedIn platform in 2011.
  • According to comScore, unique visitors (including both members and non-members) averaged 87.6 million in the quarter. In September 2011, LinkedIn ranked as the 34th most visited website worldwide, according to comScore, up from 54th just one year ago.
  • ComScore measured 7.6 billion page views in the third quarter.

LinkedIn Financial Metrics (all data from Q3 2011):

  • Total revenue grew 126% year on year to $139 million. This was LinkedIn’s eighth straight quarter of accelerating top line growth and its fifth straight quarter of more than 100 percent growth.
  • Hiring Solutions revenue was $71.0 million, increasing 160% compared to the year ago period.
  • Marketing Solutions revenue was $40.1 million, a 113% increase over the prior year. 
  • Premium Subscriptions revenues ended the quarter at $28.4 million, up 81% year-over-year.

For additional information:


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