LinkedIn's Questions to ask of 'Social Networking' Providers

Following is some marketing material from LinkedIn. Of course, no surprise, this is written in such a way that all the answers make LinkedIn look good. I reprinted this because these are valid questions to ask, and worth thinking about. Courtesy of Patrick Ewers.

8 Important Questions To Ask When Evaluating “Social Networking” Providers

1. Does the service publish information on your members without their consent?

In contrast to many opt-out services, LinkedIn does not publish information on individuals without their consent.
LinkedIn protects the privacy of everyone – both users and those who have not joined the service. LinkedIn’s opt-in approach is also the key to its effectiveness: 83% of all contact requests on LinkedIn are endorsed and accepted, because every individual involved has opted in to the process.

2. Is the service easy for your members to use – and easy on their computers?
LinkedIn for Groups is an easy-to-use Internet service. Because LinkedIn’s platform is a standalone Internet service and does not run in the background uploading information from users’ local machines, LinkedIn for Groups consumes no CPU or memory resources beyond those needed to run a standard web browser.

3. Does the service require the administrator to upload a list of your members’ email addresses before receiving permission to do so from users?
Unlike most other providers, whose invitation process may violate privacy regulations and your group’s privacy policy, LinkedIn for Groups provides group administrators with a safe and secure method for inviting prospective users to join a group without the need for an administrator to upload email addresses to LinkedIn’s servers. LinkedIn’s process still ensures that only authorized invitees can join a group.

4. Is the vendor’s service compliant with European Union privacy laws?
Because LinkedIn strictly protects the privacy rights of both users and non-users, LinkedIn complies with international privacy regulations, unlike several other providers. LinkedIn has received official EU Safe Harbor Certification.

5. What is the vendor’s revenue model?
Offering a service to groups and associations that gathers data on individuals in order to build profiles or dossiers available as part of an enterprise software product sale is a serious conflict of interest. LinkedIn does not sell information or software to enterprises. Our revenue model is based on premium service subscriptions.

6. What kind of professionals does the vendor’s service target?
We designed LinkedIn to be used for the kind of business most professionals need to do via their trusted networks: hiring employees and finding jobs, finding business partners and industry experts, engaging services providers and contractors, or for sales.

7. How many actual registered users does the vendor’s service have?

LinkedIn has over two million active registered users, more than five times the number of users of the next closest provider of group networking services. The size of a user base is a good indicator of which service individual members prefer, and we suggest surveying your members to find out which service they prefer and are already using today as individuals.

8. What does the press have to say about the vendor and its service?
LinkedIn is recognized by the press as the leading network platform for business. LinkedIn’s recent press coverage includes accolades from PC Magazine, Time Magazine, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, PC World, US News & World Report, CNN, the New York Times, and dozens of other leading publications.
LinkedIn is the only professional
network tool provider that has won PC Magazine’s “Top 100 Sites You Can’t Live Without” award and the Red Herring 100 award.
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