Today, I would like to share my initial comments about the NEW (or improved) Services section on Linkedin. Linkedin provides a list of users (service providers), who have been endorsed by other members. The more endorsements... the better the ranking, and the more visible... the more opportunities!
Visible Remark: The idea for Linkedin is to leverage its existing base of users, urge more users to use its excellent recommendation feature which help create trust and credibility, again demonstrate the efficiency of its trusted relationships. Also, it will help Linkedin further increase its number of users.
This is not a revolution in social networking though: Ziggs introduced its professional directory a couple of months ago (starting with photographs).
Please find below a screenshot (17/10/2006)
There are 4 ways to display the recommendations, based on the degree/distance with the members: from Recommendations from you to Recommendations from all Linkedin users.
From the homepage of the Services section, only the most recent recommendations are displayed.
When you click on a specific category, by default it is also the most recent recommendations which are displayed. Nevertheless, you can choose to display the service providers sorted by Top Results.
Can you recommend... ?
LinkedIn urge their users to recommend people they trust, and help those great people get new contracts.
There are two main steps:
1) Enter the name and email address of the service provider you want to recommend.
2) Create your recommendation
First, you need to select a category of service, a year (date when you used the person's skills), precise if you have used her services more than once, and where the person lives.
Next, you need to select 3 key attributes which describe the service provider.
Then, you have to write a recommendation.
Available categories (so far)
Currently, there are 6 main categories of services, plus "other".
* Art, Creative and Media
(Graphic/Web Designer, Photographer, Writer/Editor)
(Business Consultant, IT Consultant)
* Employment Services
(Career Coach, Recruiter)
* Financial & Legal Services
(Accountant, Attorney, Financial Advisor, Insurance Agent, Real Estate Agent)
* Health & Medical
(Dentist, Doctor, Personal Trainer)
* Home & Garden
(Architect, Gardener, General Contractor, Handyman, House Cleaner)
* Other Professional Services
(Child Care Provider, Travel Agent, Veterinarian)
Visible Remark: on one hand, this is a good initiative from Linkedin. It will help them to insist on one of their key differentiators, the endorsements, and go beyond their reputation as a highly efficient recruitment tool. Well done LinkedIn!
On the other hand, I am a bit confused. They are some challenges which LinkedIn will probably face soon:
1) Maintain its "quality"
as far as I am concerned, one of the key benefits of Linkedin is to be able to find professionals from various industries and especially very senior people in the organization. Will those people keep registering if Linkedin further "open its doors" to everybody?
2) More SPAM?
Most poeple are not used to social networking. They don't know how to do it... or more precisely they don't know how to do it WELL! The core of LinkedIn users are probably "sneezers" (thanks to Seth Godin for its "Purple Cow"), people interested in new technology and the web, curious about networking: some of those users are already sending or forwarding "very average" requests... So another potential consequence could be an increased number of contact requests, and more SPAM...
3) Confuse its members / no clear strategy?
First, there are quite a lot of websites/market places whose goal is to help service providers build a credibility online, and be rewarded. Those sites are more targeted to the consumer market, are more for SMEs, and are not B-to-B where I believe Linkedin stands (or at least used to stand initially...)
Will I use LinkedIn to find a service provider... I am not sure about that!
4) Too US centric?
I wonder what the situation will be in the next 6 months, especially regarding providers included in the 3 last categories. I wouldn't be surprised if most of those providers were based in the United States...
Technorati: socialnetworking, businessnetworking, linkedin