Though the company hopes to be profitable by the first quarter of 2006 and already boasts a sizable job advertising segment, the move should help preserve the site’s reputation as a place to informally connect. Many members use LinkedIn to search for colleagues or find new professional opportunities, says company co-founder and vice president Konstantin Guericke. That has made the site a prime haunt for recruiters, some of whom go to extremes to fatten their own network. Not everyone appreciates getting requests for contact from strangers, especially if the connection goes beyond the “first degree” of a trusted colleague.
The new business accounts, priced at $15 and $50, will allow recruiters to contact as many as 10 people per month, but they won’t have to go through intermediaries. Rather, they’ll be able to search the entire network for prospects. They won’t be able to see contact information, however, only the details of professional experience the individual has posted. In addition to greater anonymity, LinkedIn has introduced a feedback function for users to report whether a recruiter’s query was useful. And users can opt out of the paid search, which removes them from the recruiters’ reach but continues to let members request an introduction with people in their contacts’ networks at no charge.