LinkedIn facts, direction, highlighted in Oakland Tribune article

A recent profile of LinkedIn in the Oakland Tribune highlights some of the more interesting facts about the site, as well as their future direction.

Some of the highlights include:
– “While is a free site, and intends to keep providing a free service in the future, it plans to launch a premium service that would have additional features around the end of the year.”
– LinkedIn users accept 83 percent of referrals
– 840,000 members.
– 10,000 are venture capitalists.
– Bay Area is the densest concentration of users, with 120,000 members there.
– Most members tend to be between 30 and 55 years old.
– 97 percent of LinkedIn users join based on invitations from existing members.

One low point is an inaccurate generalization from Aberdeen Group analyst Chris Selland:

“They’re using it for personal business. They’re not looking for sales leads. They’re looking for job leads.”

Actually, only about 25% of LinkedIn users are job seekers. Another 25% are hiring managers and recruiters. But about 30% are using it for sales and business development purposes. It’s not the reporter’s fault, but that statement just isn’t accurate.

The most valuable thing in this piece for LinkedIn users is a quote from Konstantin Guericke, their VP of Marketing:

“This is not the sort of place where you build a network. It’s where once you have one you can leverage your existing network.”

This is a key point I think many people misunderstand about LinkedIn, especially those whose primary exposure to online networking has been through sites that allow direct contact and have public interaction spaces. Think of LinkedIn like a map that lets you navigate your network when you need it.