April 14, 2008


LinkedIn's good-to-have problem

The rise of LinkedIn in last couple of years has been phenomenal. They have grown from 5 mn in March, 2006 to 20 mn users 2 years later. While these numbers may appear small compared to Facebook, the comparison may not be entirely fair. Acquiring a new user on LinkedIn is far more difficult as the barrier of creating complete profile is considerably higher. It's almost your resume.

While champagne bottles may get uncorked to celebrate 20 mn users, the achievement has its own set of problems, the ones which are classified as "nice-to-have." The foremost problem is the site is terribly s-l-o-w. It takes like forever to load user landing page. I smell a lot of DB queries running behind. LinkedIn is not IRCTC that I'll wait for 20 seconds for a page to load. If the same experience continues, my visits to the site will drop further, which is not very high to begin with.

The second problem, which is not as scary as the first one, is quality, or lack thereof, of questions posted in Tech section. I've subscribed to the feed for web development and I see a lot of generic queries being thrown around. Many of them need to read, patiently, ESR's howto. May be they should have a rating system for questions and provide ability to subscribe to queries with a certain minimum acceptance.

LinkedIn is headed to be really big, if they iron out these minor problems. We may hear some eye-popping number as their valuation in 2008. It may not be as high as Facebook's $15 bn, but my guess is it would be higher than YouTube. Reason? Well they have tons of users who are ready to swipe their credit cards if a useful service is available. How may sites can boast that?

BTW, India seems to be hooked up with LinkedIn.


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