When you're reading an article online, do you ever wish you could quickly reach out to someone at the company you're reading about? BusinessWeek.com is betting that you do, whether it's because you're looking for a new business partner or possibly a new job. That's why the company has decided to share what it calls "actionable business information" with social-networking giant LinkedIn.
The partnership works in two directions. First, BusinessWeek.com and Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's) provide data to LinkedIn's Company Profile feature. So, for example, if you have a contact at Motorola, clicking on the company name will bring you to a sketch of the company's products and services, key statistics about the company (74-percent male, median employee age 33), as well as your contacts there. You'll even get to see new hires, recent promotions, and learn which companies Motorola employees typically come from (and where they go when they leave).
Helping Businesses Reach Out
"Networking for SMBs (small and midsize business) is a critical element in bringing on new customers and partners and extending their reach," said Scott Roberts, LinkedIn's senior director of business development. "This initiative of offering profiles not only for individuals but also for companies is going to help small businesses as much or more than large businesses."
Given the number of users and readers, the networking extension could be vast. LinkedIn claims to have more than 20 million professionals in its network, including "executives from all 500 of the Fortune 500," while BusinessWeek.com says it has 8 million unique users.
The LinkedIn Water Cooler
You can expect more LinkedIn widgets to appear on BusinessWeek.com and other sites as LinkedIn rolls out its News feature. One will be a "share" widget, Roberts told us, which goes beyond the simple ability to e-mail an interesting article to a friend. Roberts said it will allow LinkedIn to serve as the water cooler around which employees chat. LinkedIn is "creating an environment where you can actually distribute this to a predefined set of people, or on the fly create that group, and then actually start to engage people in the dialogue."
"If you see a news story, you can click on it and start a discussion about it, and that discussion can take place within your company," Roberts said. "Over time, we will facilitate the ability to have those discussions take place within different groups -- your company, the school you went to, special interest groups or groups you create yourself." He said this functionality will be available within six weeks.