Xing & SocialMedian – BSN a 2HR?

Note:  these are just my quick thoughts on the acquisition.

First and foremost, congrats to the team at Social|Median for getting acquired by Xing.  I’ve been watching them grow (its been less than a year!) and am impressed on how regularly and rapidly they iterated new features to drive community growth and how they parlayed partnerships to drive customer acquisition.  I referenced them regularly when people were talking about the impact of Social Media on the Election, as I was more interested in the question of the impact of the election on Social Media startups.  What really has me interested is that they really hit on what I think is a critical component in the next wave to the web (not mentioned here), but I’m curious what you think drove their early/rapid success?

So, where does this acquisition take the Business Social Networking (BSN) category?  While I’m no category expert, I am a LinkedIn poweruser and I’ve used Xing sporadically (the IBM alumni group started on Xing so that is how I was exposed to Xing).  I’m not going to provide a comprehensive comparison of Xing vs LinkedIn, as I’m sure it either already exists or someone is working on it.  What I will offer are my thoughts on the impact this event could have on the category – Xing’s acquisition of Social|Median is a step toward making business/professional social networking a closer two horse race (2HR).

I think this is the next step toward competing more aggressively with LinkedIn.  Jason, the CEO and founder of S|M appears to know a thing or two about acquisition having completed several in the growth of Jobster.  He and the team clearly have insights into the nuances of social media.  Bringing the experience in both social media and job/recruiting space to a business social network is sharp.  So, here are a few things I will be watching for:

  • More acquisitions – I’d be looking for two or three other lynchpin acquisitions to bolster Xing’s positioning and offering as more utilitarian than others (see below).
  • An open platform – Something more like Facebook where they let competing applications battle it out for users letting the community vote with installs and usage.  Maybe let app developers put up apps for a specified period of time and if they don’t get suitable traction, they come down (that would force a little more thought about time invested in building random apps)?
  • More contextual input – Real relationships are about context and this is key to understanding a network.  I’m looking for more room for tagging and notes to help me better ‘leverage’ my business social network.  I think this is huge – that’s all I’m saying for now.
  • A hybrid of SN and CRM – there is more to managing business relationships than just having an email address.  As these platforms become powerful tools for getting business done, I think there are use cases that call for more CRM like features, particularly for business developers, sales and startup folks.  Think of for the social space (hmm, maybe salesforce acquires Xing next year – my first 2009 prediction?)

So, I think it is going to be fun watching Xing moving forward.   What do you think?

Note:  I think this looks like a good deal economically for all involved (entrepreneurs, investors, users and acquirer ) – congrats again.

2 Responses to “Xing & SocialMedian – BSN a 2HR?”
  1. Sarik says:

    good summary, agreed but one thing: your 2009 prediction. My 2009 prediction: XING will stay on the buyers side.

  2. gammill says:

    @sarik thanks for the comments. Your prediction is a good one – I’ll agree and push them as a target out to 2010. Cheers!

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