Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Wanna get Xinged or LinkedIn?!

Quick update: Carsten, thanks for your comments.

I tried once again to post a comment on Search Engine Journal and it gave me the same error:

Sorry, but your comment has been flagged by the spam filter running on this blog: this might be an error, in which case all apologies. Your comment will be presented to the blog admin who will be able to restore it immediately.
You may want to contact the blog admin via e-mail to notify him.

Let me know if I need to register at your site and if so feel free to send me the link. I look forward to continuing the conversation. Now, back to my original post…


As web 2.0 heats up, you see a lot of start ups from across the globe creating business networking sites. One such company is Xing.com, which has been getting some recent press owing to its similarity to LinkedIn.com, one of my favorite web 2.0/business networking sites (access my LinkedIn profile link in the “About” box to your right). I recently read a well-crafted essay by Carsten Cumbrowski over at Search Engine Journal comparing Xing and LinkedIn.com.

Given below are a few snippets from Carsten’s post and my observations:

1. Free Service:

Both offer free accounts where I have to say that Xing offers a lot more than LinkedIn – Carsten Cumbrowski

I guess user satisfaction stems from what you’d like to accomplish with the service. Personally, for over 2.5 years, I’ve benefited from the free LinkedIn service in the three areas of jobs, business development and networking. LinkedIn has helped me generate & qualify valuable leads towards the completion of business deals. I recently tried Xing.com, but was turned off by the fact that I couldn’t view any member profile without becoming a premium member.

2. Paid Service (Apples vs. Oranges?)

I paid my LinkedIn Business Account for one year in advance, paying $199.50. I just purchased my annual premium membership at Xing for 71.40 EUR which included a 13th month for free and less than half than the LinkedIn Business Membership and more than 20 times less than a Pro Membership would have cost me – Carsten Cumbrowski

In my opinion, the primary value-add in services of this nature is accessibility to an extensive, well-qualified network. So, the larger the network is, the more value ought to be attached to accessing it.

So, while its ~$95.00 USD at Xing vs. $199.00 USD at LinkedIn for premium access, with LinkedIn, you can probably access over 5 times the the number of business users (1.45 million members at Xing vs. 8 million members at LinkedIn.com). Of course, with LinkedIn you can also choose to pay more, for greater access, with two other membership categories — Business & Pro.

Another important issue to consider is Xing’s German centricity as evinced by user comments on TechCrunch & /Message.

It definitely will be interesting to watch further developments from social networking sites as they evolve. What do you guys think of business networking sites? How has your experience with them been?

Once again, thanks to Carsten for a thought-provoking post. He’s also mentioned that he’d be posting Part II of his analysis shortly. I look forward to a continued blog conversation.

Also, Carsten, despite 3 attempts to post a comment on your blog, the system kept kicking me out (Both IE & Firefox). I guess it thought I was spam! :(

Just a heads-up. I’m not sure if other readers faced a similar problem?

Filed under: Uncategorized

10 Responses

  1. Hi Mario,

    I’ve personally had some success with LinkedIn – so I don’t think that I will be changing:) But I do think that it is always good for upstart companies to get out there to challenge the market leader…

    As you noted, the real value of the network is in the quality contacts & not the price. I think a lot of companies think price is always the answer to getting more customers, when the value for a paid product is actually in what the customer perceives it to be. How many of us pay more for a car because it makes us look good, even if we don’t use all the bells and whistles? It is also important to note that customers will always pay more for better service (think 4-5 star hotels) when cheaper options are out there (discount hotels).

    Disclaimer: I used to work with some of the folks over at LinkedIn (PayPal alumni).

    Sorry if my post is choppy…I was in the sun for a good portion of the day & probably lost the few brain cells I had left:)

    Like

  2. […] Mario is providing some analysis on Xing and LinkedIn (including the paid premium service), be sure to read Damon’s comments in the post, he echos the quality over quantity theory. […]

    Like

  3. Mario Sundar says:

    No, Damon, your post doesn’t sound choppy, but don’t party so hard, buddy!

    I couldn’t agree more with you that quality is the dividing factor when it comes to long-term brand affiliation. You can gain a few customers with the price trick but to create long-standing evangelists you definitely need a much more nuanced product.

    Thanks for your insightful thoughts, D.
    Mario

    Like

  4. Hanno says:

    Hi,

    “I recently tried Xing.com, but was turned off by the fact that I couldn’t view any member profile without becoming a premium member.”

    Sorry, but this is wrong. You can view every member profile without becoming a premium member. However, you cannot use most of the extended search services as a non-premium member.

    Like

  5. Mario Sundar says:

    I’m sorry, “Hanno”, did I get your name right?

    Even the day before yesterday, when I tried accessing specific member profiles that showed up for a specific search, I wasn’t able to view the entire profile — the Xing system prompted me to sign up for premium membership.

    I’d appreciate it if you’d kindly let me know the process for accessing “every member profile without becoming a premium member”.

    Also, are you a member from Europe or from USA?

    Thanks for your response.
    Mario

    Like

  6. Miguel says:

    Hi Mario,
    Thanks for visiting my blog! Looks like you’ve been studying LinkedIn…

    Like

  7. Jason Alba says:

    It seems to me that any of the 200+ social networking sites (as per Wikipedia.org) would add value to you depending on what you are looking for. LinkedIn obviously has a huge base, and is growing rapidly. I wonder how many of the Xing users are also on LinkedIn (and Epiphany, etc.)? And the ones that aren’t on LinkedIn, is there a common philosophy amongst them??

    If I were doing business outside of the US I’d definitely get on more than just LinkedIn… and if I’m doing business in the US (or want to do business in the US) I’d definitely get on LinkedIn.

    Of course, your post doesn’t even touch on the idea of “having an account” and “using it effectively” :p

    A post you might find interesting is what’s missing from social networking on my blog.

    Like

  8. Mario Sundar says:

    Hi Jason,

    My post specifically addresses business networking sites, which I think is a niche category within the 200+ social networking sites. From Wikipedia, here are the services (w/ numbers) that this post talks about:

    Ecademy – Unknown
    LinkedIn – 7.5 million
    Neurona – 650K (Spain & Italy)
    Passado – 4.7 million (Europe)
    Ryze – 250K
    Xing – 1 million (Germany)

    …& I guess we can add Jibber Jobber to that list. I’m not sure how many members you currently have? You may have also heard of newer sites like Jobster, Zoodango, etc… in similar categories.

    Also, as I’d mentioned in my post, I believe the most value one can get out of these sites is the capability to access the largest qualified network of professionals, and so I don’t think we can assume equal benefits from all these services.

    I guess my post did specifically address my experiences of “having an account” and the benefits I accrued from it. I can definitely address “effective usage” in future posts.

    I have added your blog to my blogroll and look forward to interesting conversations ahead.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Miguel,

    Thanks for a response. Added you to my blogroll too.

    Like

  9. Hi Mario,

    Thanks for the comments.

    Sorry to hear that you had problems commenting on the blog (which is not mine btw, I am just one of the editors who help out Loren Baker who owns SearchEngineJournal.com).

    The Blog requires an account to be created before comments can be posted. It’s using WordPress and the interface is the same as if you create a free blog at wordpress.com.

    Were you able to create an account or did you have problems after being you verified the account and logged in?

    I wanted to post part two this weekend, but another more important issue used up some of my time instead.

    You can find the post about it here

    http://www.searchenginejournal.com/?p=4059

    I hope to get around to sort all my notes and references and finish my follow-up post to Xing and LinkedIn within the next days or so.

    Cheers,
    Carsten

    Like

  10. Mario Sundar says:

    Hi Carsten,

    Good to hear from you. I just read your most recent post. I’m impressed with your patient fact-checking attitude towards “breaking news” in the blogosphere.

    As for the comment posting; all I was asked for were 4 details: Name, Mail, Website, and Spam Protection — no account creation code. Anyways, if & when it happens again, I’ll keep you posted.

    Mario

    Like

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