As expected, LinkedIn launched a personalised news site this morning, and while it’s not going to replace Twitter, it could give LinkedIn users reason to visit the site a lot more often.
That could help LinkedIn earn more money from advertising as it prepares for its IPO this year.
The site is called LinkedIn Today, and it looks a lot like any other news aggregator — think Google News. The difference is that news stories are selected and given prominence based on your industry interests, stories that are popular among members of your LinkedIn network, and stories that are popular across the entire LinkedIn network.
Using the site takes a lot less work than something like Google Reader, which requires users to subscribe to feeds manually. It’s also a lot more focused than Twitter — it’s about news stories, not random commentary or links to anywhere on the Web.
The site could solve two problems for LinkedIn:
- Most users tend to visit LinkedIn a lot during specific periods — when they’re looking for a job or trying to build contacts — but it’s not a daily destination. Adding curated news could change that.
- LinkedIn needs to make more money from advertising — it only earned about $18 million from ad revenues in the third quarter of last year — but advertisers have been disappointed in the company’s ad products so far. That’s probably because most users simply aren’t going to click on ads while they’re trying to look for a job (except help-wanted ads, of course). News content is a much better vehicle.
Here’s what the site looks like. A dropdown box lets you personalise stories by industry:
Stories are ordered in part based on how many people in your LinkedIn network shared or tweeted them.
Like other news aggregators, LinkedIn Today lets you subscribe to your favourite sources, but you don’t have to go through this just to use the site.