LinkedIn pulls the plug on 'Bang With Professionals' site

'We all knew it was only a matter of time,' the startup's developers said

LinkedIn has shut off its API access to "Bang With Professionals," a Web service that was intended to facilitate more, say, intimate connections among users of the business-oriented social networking site.

The service was designed to allow LinkedIn users to anonymously search for people in their LinkedIn network who would be interested in meeting up for casual sex.

"We all had a good laugh," the founders of Bang With Professionals said Friday on the website, less than a month after its launch. "We all knew it was a matter of time before our API key was revoked."

LinkedIn said it shut off API (application programming interface) access for the free site, which was intended to work on all desktops and mobile devices, because it violated the social network's terms of use in a manner that was "inconsistent with the goals of our developer program."

Among other things, API access isn't allowed for any application that contains or displays adult content.

Data about the site's 6,000 subscribers is safe and all their user IDs have been deleted, the founders said. The only thing that remains now is the site's landing page.

The origins of Bang With Professionals are not unique in the fast-paced social networking landscape. The site was built "by two guys in three days," the landing page says. The total launch cost was US$57: $40 for stock images, $12 for the domain name and $5 for an account on the server CloudFlare.

Although it was started as a joke, there was some amount of thinking that went into the site, judging from a blog post by the founders.

"After all, you spend most of your time at work, so chances are finding someone to hook up with based on your LinkedIn profile might be a good start," the team wrote in a Jan. 31 blog post announcing its launch.

The Twitter handle for the site has since been deactivated, but at press time, the Bang With Professionals blog on Tumblr was still accessible.

The issue of allowing third-party developers access to API data is something that larger social networks such as LinkedIn are increasingly grappling with as competition in the space heats up. Facebook, for example, cut off API access for Twitter's Vine video app just hours after its launch.

Meanwhile, Bang Your Friends, a similar application for Facebook users, remains in operation.

Currently, the Bang With Professionals developers are working on something else, "but it's not nearly as funny," a company representative who didn't want to be named said in an email interview. Still, "With the boilerplate we have today, we could probably create a similar site in a few hours."

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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