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LinkedIn Corporation
Logo of LinkedIn

LinkedIn homepage as of July 2011
Type Public
Traded as NYSELNKD
Founded Santa Monica, California (2003)
Headquarters Mountain View, California, U.S.
Area served Worldwide
Founder(s) Reid Hoffman
Allen Blue
Konstantin Guericke
DJ Patil
Eric Ly
Jean-Luc Vaillant
Key people Reid Hoffman (Chairman)
Jeff Weiner (CEO)
Industry Internet
Revenue $1.52 billion (2013)[1]
Net income $26 million (2013)[2]
Employees 5,000 (2013)[3]
Slogan(s) Relationships Matter[4]
Written in Java[5]
Alexa rank positive decrease 9 (April 2014)[6]
Type of site Social network service
Advertising Google, AdSense
Registration Required
Users 277 million
Available in Multilingual
Launched May 5, 2003
Current status Active

LinkedIn /ˌlɪŋkt.ˈɪn/ is a business-oriented social networking service. Founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003,[3] it is mainly used for professional networking. In 2006, LinkedIn increased to 20 million viewers.[7] As of June 2013, LinkedIn reports more than 259 million acquired users in more than 200 countries and territories.[2][8]

The site is available in 20 languages,[2] including English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Romanian, Russian, Turkish, Japanese, Czech, Polish, Korean, Indonesian, Malay, and Tagalog.[9][10] As of 2 July 2013, Quantcast reports LinkedIn has 65.6 million monthly unique U.S. visitors and 178.4 million globally,[11] a number that as of 29 October 2013 has increased to 184 million.[12] In June 2011, LinkedIn had 33.9 million unique visitors, up 63 percent from a year earlier and surpassing MySpace.[13] LinkedIn filed for an initial public offering in January 2011 and traded its first shares on May 19, 2011, under the NYSE symbol "LNKD".[14]


LinkedIn Headquarters on Stierlin Court in Mountain View, CA

LinkedIn's CEO is Jeff Weiner,[2] previously a Yahoo! Inc. executive. The company was founded by Reid Hoffman and founding team members from PayPal and (Allen Blue, Eric Ly, DJ Patil, Jean-Luc Vaillant, Lee Hower, Konstantin Guericke, Stephen Beitzel, David Eves, Ian McNish, Yan Pujante, and Chris Saccheri).

Founder Reid Hoffman, previously CEO of LinkedIn, is now Chairman of the Board.[2][15] LinkedIn is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in Omaha, Chicago, New York, London, and Dublin. It is funded by Sequoia Capital, Greylock, Bain Capital Ventures,[16] Bessemer Venture Partners and the European Founders Fund.[17] LinkedIn reached profitability in March 2006.[18] Through January 2011, the company had received a total of $103 million of investment.[19]

In late 2003, Sequoia Capital led the Series A investment in the company.[20] In June 2008, Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, and other venture capital firms purchased a 5% stake in the company for $53 million, giving the company a post-money valuation of approximately $1 billion.[21]

In 2010, LinkedIn opened an International Headquarters in Dublin, Ireland,[22] received a $20 million investment from Tiger Global Management LLC at a valuation of approximately $2 billion,[23] and announced its first acquisition, Mspoke,[24] and improved its 1% premium subscription ratio.[25] In October of that year Silicon Valley Insider ranked the company No. 10 on its Top 100 List of most valuable start ups.[26] By December, the company was valued at $1.575 billion in private markets.[27]

2011: IPO[edit]

LinkedIn filed for an initial public offering in January 2011 and traded its first shares on May 19, 2011, under the NYSE symbol "LNKD", price of IPO was $45 per share. Shares of LinkedIn, which rose as much as 171 percent in their first day of trade on the New York Stock Exchange, closed at $94.25, more than 109 percent above IPO price. "Shortly after" the IPO, the site's underlying infrastructure was revised to allow accelerated revision-release cycles.[2]

In 2011, LinkedIn earned $154.6 million in advertising revenue alone, surpassing Twitter, which earned $139.5 million.[28] LinkedIn’s fourth-quarter 2011 earnings soared due to the company's increase in success in the social media world.[29]

In the spring of 2012, LinkedIn expanded its office space by 57,120 square feet in the Financial District of San Francisco.[30] In May 2012, LinkedIn announced its 2012 Q1 revenues were up 101% to $188.5 million compared to $93.9 million in Q1 of 2011, with net income increasing 140% over Q1'2011 to $5 million. Revenue for Q2 was estimated to be between $210 to $215 million.[31]

In June 2012 cryptographic hashes of approximately 6.4 million LinkedIn user passwords were stolen by hackers who then published the stolen hashes online.[32] This action is known as the 2012 LinkedIn hack. In response to the incident, LinkedIn asked its users to change their passwords. Security experts criticized LinkedIn for not salting their password file, and instead using a single iteration of SHA-1.[33]

In November 2012, LinkedIn released their third quarter earnings, reporting earnings-per-share of $0.22 on revenue of $252 million. In result of these numbers, LinkedIn's stock was up, trading at roughly $112 a share.[34]


In July 2012, LinkedIn acquired 15 key Digg patents for $4 million including “click a button to vote up a story” patent.[35]

Number Acquisition date Company Business Country Price Description Ref.
1 August 4, 2010 mspoke Adaptive personalization of content  USA $0.6 Million[36] LinkedIn Recommendations [37]
2 September 23, 2010 ChoiceVendor Social B2B Reviews  USA $3.9 Million[38] rate and review B2B service providers [39]
3 January 26, 2011 CardMunch Social Contacts  USA $1.7 Million[36] Scan and import business cards [40]
4 October 5, 2011 Connected Social CRM  USA - LinkedIn Premium [41]
5 October 11, 2011 IndexTank Social search  USA - LinkedIn Search [42]
6 February 22, 2012 Rapportive Social Contacts  USA $15 Million [43] - [44]
7 May 3, 2012 SlideShare Social Content  USA $200 Million give LinkedIn members a way to discover people through content [45]
8 April 11, 2013 Pulse Web / Mobile newsreader  USA $90 Million Definitive professional publishing platform [46]


As of 2013, LinkedIn has more than 259 million members in over 200 countries and territories.[2][8] It is significantly ahead of its competitors Viadeo (50 million)[47] and XING (10 million).[48] The membership grows by approximately two new members every second.[49] With 20 million users, India has the fastest-growing network of users as of 2013.[citation needed]

In January 2014, the countries with the most LinkedIn users were:[8][50]

Country Users Penetration
United States 93 million 29.90%
India 24 million 2.02%
Brazil 16 million 7.69%
United Kingdom 14 million 22.41%
Canada 9 million 25.82%
France 7 million 9.91%
Spain 6 million 11.54%
Italy 6 million 9.88%
Mexico 6 million 4.72%
Australia 6 million[51] 23.88%


One purpose of the sites is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people with whom they have some level of relationship, called Connections. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection. However, if the invitee selects "I don't know" or "Spam", this counts against the inviter. If the inviter gets too many of such responses, the account may be restricted or closed.[52]

This list of connections can then be used in a number of ways:

  • A contact network is built up consisting of their direct connections, the connections of each of their connections (termed second-degree connections) and also the connections of second-degree connections (termed third-degree connections). This can be used to gain an introduction to someone a person wishes to know through a mutual contact.
  • Users can not upload their resume any more. This was a feature but became redundant in late 2012.
  • It can then be used to find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in one's contact network.
  • Employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates.
  • Job seekers can review the profile of hiring managers and discover which of their existing contacts can introduce them.
  • Users can post their own photos and view photos of others to aid in identification.
  • Users can now follow different companies and can receive notifications about the new joining and offers available.
  • Users can save (i.e. bookmark) jobs that they would like to apply for.
  • Users can "like" and "congratulate" each other's updates and new employments.
  • Users can see who has visited their profile page.

The "gated-access approach" (where contact with any professional requires either an existing relationship, or the intervention of a contact of theirs) is intended to build trust among the service's users. LinkedIn participates in the EU's International Safe Harbor Privacy Principles.[53]

The feature LinkedIn Answers,[54] similar to Yahoo! Answers, allowed users to ask questions for the community to answer. This feature was free, and the main difference from the latter was that questions are potentially more business-oriented, and the identity of the people asking and answering questions is known. As of January 31, 2013, the LinkedIn Answers feature is no longer supported. LinkedIn cites a new 'focus on development of new and more engaging ways to share and discuss professional topics across LinkedIn' as the reason for the retirement of the feature.

Another LinkedIn feature is LinkedIn Polls. In December 2011, LinkedIn announced that they are rolling out polls to their one million groups.[55]

In mid-2008, LinkedIn launched LinkedIn DirectAds as a form of sponsored advertising.[56]

In October 2008, LinkedIn revealed plans to open its social network of 30 million professionals globally as a potential sample for business-to-business research. It is testing a potential social-network revenue model-research that to some appears more promising than advertising.[57]

On May 31, 2013 LinkedIn added two-factor authentication, an important security enhancement for preventing haxors from gaining access to your account.[58]

On July 23, 2013 LinkedIn announced their Sponsored Updates ad service. Individuals and companies can now pay a fee to have LinkedIn sponsor their content and spread it to their user base. This is a common way for social media sites such as LinkedIn to generate revenue.[59]


In October 2008, LinkedIn enabled an "applications platform" that allows other online services to be embedded within a member's profile page. Among the initial applications were an Amazon Reading List that allows LinkedIn members to display books they are reading, a connection to Tripit, and a Six Apart, WordPress and TypePad application that allows members to display their latest blog postings within their LinkedIn profile.[60]

In November 2010, LinkedIn allowed businesses to list products and services on company profile pages; it also permitted LinkedIn members to "recommend" products and services and write reviews.[61]


A mobile version of the site was launched in February 2008, which gives access to a reduced feature set over a mobile phone. The mobile service is available in six languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.[62]

In January 2011, LinkedIn acquired CardMunch, a mobile app maker that scans business cards and converts into contacts.[63] In June 2013, CardMunch was noted as an available LinkedIn app.[2] In August 2011, LinkedIn revamped its mobile applications on the iPhone, Android and HTML5. Mobile page views of the application have increased roughly 400% year over year according to CEO Jeff Weiner.[64]

In October 2013, LinkedIn announced a service for iPhone users called "Intro", which inserts a thumbnail of a person's LinkedIn profile in correspondence with that person when reading mail messages in the native iOS Mail program.[65] This is accomplished by re-routing all emails from and to the iPhone through LinkedIn servers, which security firm Bishop Fox has serious privacy implications, violates many organizations' security policies, and resembles a man-in-the-middle attack.[66]


LinkedIn also supports the formation of interest groups, and as of March 29, 2012 there are 1,248,019 such groups whose membership varies from 1 to 744,662.[67][68] The majority of the largest groups are employment related,[69] although a very wide range of topics are covered mainly around professional and career issues, and there are currently 128,000 groups for both academic and corporate alumni.

Groups support a limited form of discussion area, moderated by the group owners and managers.[70] Since groups offer the ability to reach a wide audience without so easily falling foul of anti-spam solutions, there is a constant stream of spam postings, and there now exist a range of firms who offer a spamming service for this very purpose. LinkedIn has devised a few mechanisms to reduce the volume of spam,[71] but recently took the decision to remove the ability of group owners to inspect the email address of new members in order to determine if they were spammers. Groups also keep their members informed through emails with updates to the group, including most talked about discussions within your professional circles.[67][72]

Groups may be private, accessible to members only or may be open to Internet users in general to read, though they must join in order to post messages.

Job listings[edit]

LinkedIn allows users to research companies with which they may be interested in working. When typing the name of a given company in the search box, statistics about the company are provided. These may include the ratio of female to male employees, the percentage of the most common titles/positions held within the company, the location of the company's headquarters and offices, or a list of present and former employees.

In July 2011, LinkedIn launched a new feature allowing companies to include an "Apply with LinkedIn" button on job listing pages.[73] The new plugin will allow potential employees to apply for positions using their LinkedIn profiles as resumes. All applications will also be saved under a "Saved Jobs" tab.[73]


LinkedIn allows users to endorse each other's skills.[when?] This feature also allows users to efficiently provide commentary on other users profiles – network building is reinforced. However there is no way of flagging anything other than positive content.

LinkedIn solicits endorsements based on algorithms that generate skills members might have. Members cannot opt out of such solicitations, with the result that it sometimes appears that a member is soliciting an endorsement for a non-existent skill.[74]


The LinkedIn Influencers program launched in October 2012 and brings together 300+ of the world's top thought leaders to share their professional insights with LinkedIn's 259 million members. Influencer is an invite-only program that features notable leaders from a vast range of industries including Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Greg McKeown, Rahm Emanuel, Jamie Dimon, Martha Stewart, Deepak Chopra, Jack Welch, and Bill Gates.[75][76]

Business units[edit]

LinkedIn derives its revenues from three business divisions:

Talent Solutions: Recruiters and corporations pay for:

  • Branded corporate page on LinkedIn, complete with careers section.
  • Pay per click-through Job ads that are targeted to LinkedIn users who match the job profile.
  • Access to the database of LinkedIn users and resumes.

Marketing Solutions:

  • LinkedIn advertisers pay for pay per click-through targeted ads.

Premium Subscriptions: LinkedIn users pay for:

  • LinkedIn Business for business users
  • LinkedIn Talent for recruiters
  • LinkedIn JobSeeker for unemployed LinkedIn users looking for a job
  • LinkedIn Sales for Sales Professionals.

Some elements of the various subscription services are also on a pay per use basis like InMail.


LinkedIn has been described by online trade publication TechRepublic as having "become the de facto tool for professional networking".[77] LinkedIn has also been praised for its usefulness in fostering business relationships.[78] "LinkedIn is, far and away, the most advantageous social networking tool available to job seekers and business professionals today," according to Forbes.[79]

International restrictions[edit]

In 2009, Syrian users reported that LinkedIn server stopped accepting connections originating from IP addresses assigned to Syria. The company's customer support stated that services provided by them are subject to US export and re-export control laws and regulations and "As such, and as a matter of corporate policy, we do not allow member accounts or access to our site from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria."[80]

In February 2011, it was reported that LinkedIn was being blocked in China after calls for a "Jasmine Revolution". It was speculated to have been blocked because it is an easy way for dissidents to access Twitter, which had been blocked previously.[81] After a day of being blocked, LinkedIn access was restored in China.[82]

In February 2014, LinkedIn launched its Simplified Chinese language version named "" (pinyin: Lǐngyīng; literally "leading elite"), officially extending their service in China.[83][84] LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner acknowledged in a blog post that they would have to censor some of the content that users post on its website in order to comply with Chinese rules, but he also said the benefits of providing its online service to people in China outweighed those concerns.[83][85]

SNA LinkedIn[edit]

The Search, Network, and Analytics team at LinkedIn has a web site[86] that hosts the open source projects built by the group. Notable among these projects is Project Voldemort,[87] a distributed key-value structured storage system with low-latency similar in purpose to's Dynamo and Google's BigTable.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement action[edit]

  • In January 2012, the SEC charged an Illinois-based investment adviser with offering to sell fictitious securities on LinkedIn and issued two alerts in an agency-wide effort to highlight the risks investors and advisory firms face when using social media.[88] Anthony Fields offered more than $500 billion in fictitious securities through various social media websites. For example, he used LinkedIn discussions to promote fictitious "bank guarantees" and "medium-term notes".

Surveillance and NSA Program[edit]

In the 2013 global surveillance disclosures, documents released by Edward Snowden revealed that that British GCHQ infiltrated the Belgacom network by luring employees to a false Linkedin page.[89]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]