Yesterday in Kara Swisher’s allthingsd.com blog http://bit.ly/e5QFen it came out the LinkedIn.com will likely file an S-1 for an IPO. This was confirmed late Thursday – http://nyti.ms/hZTvLp . Some interesting stats from the article were that LinkedIn has more than 90 million members in over 200 countries and territories. It has 1,000 full time employees. Also Sequoia Capital is involved and they are not often associated with IPO rumors.
The idea that LinkedIn could be worth more than $ 2 billion actually was surprising to me as I thought it would be higher. After all Facebook was valued at more than $ 50 billion (25 times more than LinkedIn) but LinkedIn has fewer than 7 times as many members. Part of the reason is that LinkedIn members are not nearly as consumer-ish and buying oriented as those on Facebook.
I’m a big proponent of LinkedIn as I have noted on my blog in the past in two separate posts, http://bit.ly/f1v1HU and http://bit.ly/grhp8R . Since more and more people are using LinkedIn it gains value for its subscribers every day. While I use the paid version that offers more access, the free version is useful all the same even though the folks at LinkedIn will surely find a way to gain more paid subscribers for obvious reasons.
I have a Plaxo.com account as well, although I almost never use it. Occasionally Plaxo will send me an email with updates but I pretty much ignore them entirely. Why would I need two accounts that have similar missions when LinkedIn is much more utilized and simply better? I suspect Plaxo will be toast before long.
LinkedIn does sell advertising and the model is a sound one. You can advertise to specific groups by purchasing display ads. The advertising CPM’s are surprisingly expensive but that market has been created on demand so I am certain that if they did not perform for advertisers the rates would or will drop.
From Computerworld.com and Sharon Gaudin January 6, “LinkedIn would be the first social networking company to go public and it will be a good test of how valuable these companies might be,” said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. “While LinkedIn isn’t Facebook or Twitter, they do have something like 85 million users and a business plan that is at least as developed, or hazy, depending on your perspective, as those at Facebook and Twitter.”
So LinkedIn being the first social network to go public would be something of a coup particularly in view of all the noise made by Facebook’s on again off again IPO news. I hope it will not end up being a Jeopardy answer years from now – ‘The first social network to go public’.
If you are in business you should be on LinkedIn and use it all the time. If you are not on LinkedIn I’d love to know why (because I have a hard time understanding that).
This one will be a winner I think. What do you think?