Like other social networking services, this is an internet location for connecting with like-minded people, sharing ideas, and for collaboration. LinkedIn however, is for professionals from a wide range of industry, business, academic, government, and non-profit organizations to share ideas, provide a platform for finding work and promoting professional achievements. Founded in December 2002 the site launched on May 5, 2003, and as of January 2013, LinkedIn reported 200 million users from more than 200 countries.

LinkedIn is headquartered in Mountain View, California and has offices in Chicago, Omaha, New York, London, and Dublin. It is funded by Sequoia Capital, Greylock, Bain Capital Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and European Founders Fund. LinkedIn began turning a profit in March 2006.

In January 2011, LinkedIn filed for an initial public offering and traded its first shares at $45 per and closed at $94.25 on May 19, 2011, under the NYSE symbol “LNKD.” In its first year they earned $154.6 million dollars in advertising revenue alone, surpassing Twitter which earned $139.5 million dollars.

Countries as of January 2013 with the most LinkedIn members are:

United States: 74 million
India: 18 million
United Kingdom: 11 million
Brazil: 11 million
Canada: 7 million
Australia: 4 million
UAE: 5 million

LinkedIn can be used in a limited form as an advertising platform for business, but is mostly used to find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in their contact network. Users can upload their resume and design their own profile in order to showcase work and community experiences. Employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates. And the gated-access approach the system is based on existing or referrals which builds trust among users.

LinkedIn also supports the formation of interest groups, and as of March 2012 there were 1,248,019 of varying number of members. The largest of these are employment based where topics covered are mainly around professional and career issues. LinkedIn also has approximately 128,000 groups whose focus is for academic and corporate alumni. Groups may be private/members-only or open for anyone to read, though users must join in order to post messages.

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