Reports of LinkedIn's demise are premature

Facebook's new jobs app isn't the threat that some might fear.

By Jonathan Berr Nov 15, 2012 2:43PM
Man reading job listings copyright Tetra Images, Tetra images, Getty ImagesShares of LinkedIn (LNKD) went on a roller-coaster ride Thursday as investors worried about Facebook's (FB) decision to offer a job search app, challenging one of the core businesses of the social network for professionals. Investors and the media may be overreacting.
Facebook's Social Jobs app, as it stands now, is glitchy and not particularly useful, reports Wired. The app aggregates results from online jobs boards such as (MNST), BranchOut, DirectEmployers Association and Work4Labs. 

Of course, it's early days. Facebook will make improvements based on user feedback and the app eventually will get better. Indeed, it likely isn't the last move that Facebook will make in the area of jobs, but success is far from a given.  

Considering the vast trove of personal information it possesses, it certainly is plausible to imagine Facebook offering job listings that are far more targeted than anything that is currently on the market. The only question that needs to be answered is whether CEO Mark Zuckerberg will buy an existing platform such as Monster, CareerBuilder, craigslist or even LinkedIn. He could also start something from scratch.

As Wired notes, companies already find Facebook a useful way to advertise jobs. This raises many questions for jobseekers because it blurs the line between the private and public. People are already being asked to provide information on their social media habits during job interviews. Some users may feel leery about disclosing even more information about themselves to Facebook. The one big loser from Facebook's move will be newspapers, which have seen their once-formidable classified ad business erode in recent years.

Jobs will likely be a focal point of Facebook's strategy to monetize its mobile business, which Zuckerberg has said is a priority for the company. Many people now hunt for work on their mobile phones and tablets. They also increasingly rely on social networks to find work, which obviously plays into Facebook's strength.

Investors, though, are not ready to give up on LinkedIn yet. For one thing, it remains a formidable competitor. It had more than 187 million members, as of the last quarter, and a very good interface. LinkedIn has also built a strong brand as the social network for grown-ups in contrast to Facebook. It recently posted better-than-expected earnings. Wall Street analysts expect LinkedIn's revenue to surge more than 80% this year, more than double the growth forecast for Facebook.

Wall Street isn't convinced that Facebook has hit a home run yet either and its shares are trading down. LinkedIn has proven to be a better bet for investors this year, gaining more than 56%, while Facebook has dropped more than 42%.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter@jdberr.


Nov 15, 2012 8:06PM
LinkedIn for professionals and adults...
Facebook for McDonalds and kids..
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