LinkedIn revamps Profile, seeks higher engagement

LinkedIn has made the Profile page more visually appealing and easier to edit

LinkedIn has redesigned the Profile page of its members' accounts, tweaking the layout and adding features in order to simplify viewing and editing as well as increase engagement among users.

LinkedIn, whose site is used by about 175 million members worldwide for professional networking, started rolling out the new Profile on Tuesday, and expects to reach everyone in a few months.

LinkedIn users will soon start seeing a redesigned profile page. Unveiled on Tuesday, the refresh is one of the biggest in years for the professional networking site and is an attempt to get people to share more and stick around longer.

"LinkedIn is about connecting talent with opportunity at a massive scale," LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said during a webcast press conference, adding that the Profile is at the center of the site to help members connect.

LinkedIn has tried to make the Profile more visually appealing and thus help members better highlight their professional experience. The new Profile features inline editing, intended to simplify and make more convenient the process of updating information in its different sections.

The Profile will now also make more prominent relevant information about people on members' networks, such as shared interests, to foster increased and better-informed engagement.

Weiner said that the current annual run rate for searches on LinkedIn is 5 billion, and that the motivation behind those queries goes beyond people looking for job opportunities and networking, and includes salespeople scoping out leads, journalists doing reporting and entrepreneurs seeking investors.

The new Profile is the latest in a string of recent feature rollouts at LinkedIn that have been made possible by a rearchitecting of its product development and deployment systems and processes, he said.

"We're now innovating faster than ever," he said.

However, Altimeter Group analyst Susan Etlinger said that the Profile update isn't a revolutionary change for LinkedIn, but rather more of an evolutionary improvement.

"What's interesting is that it brings some of the untapped value of LinkedIn to the front," she said.

LinkedIn's weak spot has been that it's not as fun and easy to use as Facebook, Twitter and other social networking and social media sites, so it's a good move to make the Profile page more enticing and to proactively show people points of common interest with others, she said.

"There's a lot more visualization of the data, and more focus on making relationships and social graph data visible to people," she said.

LinkedIn, which was launched in 2003, is now expanding its user base at a rate of about two new members per second, Weiner said.

A free LinkedIn account lets members create profiles detailing their professional experience with a resume, biography and lists of skills, build a network of contacts, post comments and links, join groups, check out job postings and view news relevant to them.

Paid accounts give subscribers more features and capabilities, primarily in the area of job hunting. LinkedIn also offers paid accounts tailored for professional recruiters and for sales executives.

In the second quarter ended June 30, 2012, LinkedIn increased its revenue year over year by almost 90 percent to $228.2 million, while net income fell 38 percent to $2.8 million. The company's shares closed at $111.20, up $0.35, or 0.32 percent, on Tuesday.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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