LinkedIn‘s IPO is obviously big news. It’s one of the most important social networking sites and venture-backed startups out there.
Many people think/hope that LinkedIn and other huge social startups like Zynga going public could unleash a new wave of IPOs. That would be a very welcome development for the startup ecosystem.
But people are calling it the first “social” or social network IPO on Twitter — important people like Idealab Founder Bill Gross.
That’s not true.
The first IPO of a social network that we know of is XING, which is the biggest professional social network in Germany. XING went public waaaaay back in December 2006 and is still around, with a market cap hovering around $270 million.
Again: this doesn’t mean that LinkedIn’s IPO isn’t a big deal. But calling it the first “social”, “social network” or even “professional social network” IPO is just incorrect.