LinkedIn CEO: We're adding a new user every second

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


SAN FRANCISCO (CNNMoney.com) -- LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner spilled some new statistics Wednesday highlighting the business networking site's rapid global growth.

LinkedIn is adding one new user per second, Weiner said, and about half of all new accounts are created overseas. China and Brazil are the fastest growing regions. The site now has 85 million users -- and the latest 1 million signed up within the last nine days.

"On our site it's not about passing the time, it's about saving time," Weiner said at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. "So we're not looking at the time spent on the site. We have a pretty traditional way of measuring [user engagement]."

That approach to building and serving a member base is very different from Facebook's, conference moderator John Battelle pointed out. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg boasted Tuesday that half of all Facebook users visit the site every day.

"People tend to lump us in with Facebook and Twitter," Weiner replied. "But we're three very different things. Facebook is massive in scale and scope. Twitter is a public communication forum, but if I'm following you, you're not necessarily following me. LinkedIn is, simply, a professional network."

While Facebook users may "friend" people they barely know, and Twitter users can follow celebrities they've never met, LinkedIn pushes people to connect only with people they know well. Those social connections typically track one of three close relationships, Weiner said: personal, family and professional.

"The difference between social sites and business networking can be said in two words: keg stands," Weiner said.

"Or it could be bong hits!" Battelle replied. "Look at Michael Phelps."

"Well, I guess that's the difference between the East and West coasts," Weiner laughed.

Battelle continued to press Weiner for his thoughts on other companies, focusing on the Web search field. Weiner, who was once an executive at Yahoo, said simply: "I don't think the game is over, that it's [Bing] or Google and that's it."

Weiner admitted LinkedIn has lagged behind Facebook and Twitter, especially in building connections to external sites. For example, a Facebook user can "recommend" a CNNMoney article, and a Twitter user can tweet the article link to followers. LinkedIn has only recently begun cultivating such connections. (CNNMoney added a LinkedIn button to its stories last month.)

"We want to work wherever our users are, so we need to push out our connectivity," Weiner said. "We're investing in our APIs so we can get that service to our users. They want it."

Weiner also mentioned LinkedIn Signal, a product the company announced in late September that is still in beta but will go public in about a month. Signal adds Twitter-like capabilities to LinkedIn, letting users view and search status updates in real time.

Like most tech CEOs at the conference, Weiner stayed mum about the possibility of an IPO: "You don't necessarily have to go public to get to the next level." To top of page

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