SEO

Europe’s Xing.com – The LinkedIn.com Killer?!

It was not too long ago when the European Business-Networking Service OpenBC.com announced their planned name change to Xing.com.

OpenBC.com is no longer and all links to OpenBC.com, including the links to profile pages, are being redirected to Xing.com. The reason for the name change is the plan to aggressively expand worldwide and to use this as a chance to redesign the whole website.

OpenBC stands for Open Business Club which might be fine for most English language speaking countries and also Germany, where the company behind the Service, OPEN Business Club AG, is located. However, the word “Open” was a concern for the expansion into the American market where “open” has also the aftertaste of being “uncertain” and “uncontrolled”. The Abbreviation BC was also considered a problem because it also stands for “before Christ”, “something OpenBC has as much in common with as Coca Cola with Koala Bears” the German newspaper “Hamburger Abendblatt” wrote in their issue from 10/13/06. No, an artificial name had to be it, so Xing was born. Xing.com is more generic and neutral I guess and proofs that they are not kidding when they say “aggressively expand worldwide”.

They are aggressive alright. US Leader LinkedIn.com gets a run for its money and better does something before OpenBC, excuse me Xing.com will roll over them before they even knew what happened. Xing is dominating Europe already and I don’t know anybody in Germany who does NOT have an account there. 1.7 million users as of last month does not sound too dramatic, compared to the 8 million users of LinkedIn.com, but consider this.

Have a look at my LinkedIn profile and then at my profile at Xing.com (OpenBC).
Mhh.. too bad that I don’t have a picture of the same page at the old OpenBC.com Site, but I can tell you that the page looks now much more like the LinkedIn page than it did just a few weeks ago.

Okay, now the important question. What is different between LinkedIn and Xing?

The Free Services

Lets start with the price for the professional/paid services. Both offer free accounts where I have to say that Xing offers a lot more than LinkedIn. Just during minimal usage of LinkedIn was I reminded about the fact that I am practically using a “Demo” account as long as I don’t pay a penny. Much different to that was OpenBC/Xing.com where I had to check the page where they compare the free with the paid pro account to get an Idea of what I am missing out on while I am not paying for anything.

Paid Services/Memberships

The Pro Account or premium as Xing calls it, is € 5.95 / 7.28 $ per month. That’s it. No further levels. Just Free or $7.28 per month.

LinkedIn offers a whole selection of paid services starting from $5 per month for the Personal Plus to $200 per month. The Personal Plus level does not even allow Internal email communication which becomes accessible with the Business Level Account which is already a whole lot more expensive. $19.95 per month. The difference between the $19.95 Business, $50 Business Pro and $200 Pro account is only the number of available inMail emails that can be sent and the number of open introductions at any time. see details. With Xing can you do it or not, no limit in usage. So the Xing Premium account can be compared to all pro LinkedIn.com Account Levels or in other words, the more you use LinkedIn today, the more you would save if you could use Xing instead.

Groups

Xing also offers Groups which are less strict than LinkedIn. Anybody can suggest a Group, which does not have to be an Organization or Company. If you provide valid arguments why your suggested group would be a benefit, then it will be approved. Groups can be made public or require an application and approval by the group moderator. Some Groups are only accessible to premium members.

LinkedIn also offers groups, but you better have some paperwork ready to prove that you are an organization or legal entity before your group application is even considered. Groups can only be joined by people that are already associated with the entity behind the group. Here goes the idea of opening a Search Engine Journal – Search Engine Marketing Group. Damn it.

Profile and other things

Xing profiles are much more detailed and have a lot more options when it comes to deciding which of your information is accessible to whom. This can basically be configured on an individual contact level if you want to. To make the premium service even more attractive to customers, offers Xing a lot of special and exclusive deals to their premium members. Things like 3 Months of Skype Voice Mail and 30 Skype out minutes for free (that’s about the price for the membership for one month right there), 20% off Alibaba.com’s TrustPass (TP) or Free Silver status Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts, Park Inn Hotels, Country Inns & Suites! and a lot more offers like that.

Conclusion

If you do already business in Europe and wondered why your business partners overseas have no LinkedIn account at all or one that seems to be abandoned for months, look for them at Xing.com. Also for anybody who is using LinkedIn.com today is Xing.com a service worthwhile to check out.

I paid my LinkedIn Business Account for one year in advance, paying $199.50. I just purchased my annual premium membership at Xing for 71.40 EUR which included a 13th month for free and less than half than the LinkedIn Business Membership and more than 20 times less than a Pro Membership would have cost me. We will see what LinkedIn will do during the coming months to keep their ground. They better do something or chances are that I will not renew my membership and fall back to a free but limited account next year.

Cheers,
Carsten Cumbrowski
Internet Marketing Articles, only one of many free industry resource provided by Cumbrowski.com.

e6149739a0ceadb8fde822225838bd26 64 Europes Xing.com   The LinkedIn.com Killer?!
Carsten Cumbrowski has years of experience in Affiliate Marketing and knows both sides of the business as the Affiliate and Affiliate Manager. Carsten has over 10 years experience in Web Development and 20 years in programming and computers in general. He has a personal Internet Marketing Resources site at Cumbrowski.com. To learn more about Carsten, check out the "About Page" at his web site. For additional contact options see this page.

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18 thoughts on “Europe’s Xing.com – The LinkedIn.com Killer?!

  1. Excellent account of Xing.com Carsten, I found your experience and comparison quite informative. I’ll definately recommend Xing.com to my friends who are doing business in Europe.

    As for the LinkedIn Group, we’re working on building an interactive marketing organization right now, when launched, will be perfect for LinkedIn.

    Hopefully some more news to come on tht by 2007.

    Best, Loren

  2. Hi Loren,
    You might want to consider Xing.com for creating a group for the interactive marketing organization. You might be able to create multiple groups.

    One for members only and one for supporters or people that are just interested in what you are doing. The ladder is not possible with LinkedIn but as far as I can tell, possible with Xing.com.

  3. I think buttons to Xing and LinkedIn profiles would be perfect for the SEJ Author Profiles which will be available after the new design. I’ll have to put together a Xing profile shortly, wonder if they have a LinkedIn info import?

  4. Loren,

    Xing.com has buttons here:

    http://corporate.xing.com/index.php?id=12&L=1

    LinkedIn here (requires sign-in)

    http://www.linkedin.com/profile?promoteProfile=&trk=mypro_badges

    I created a Xing.com Button that looks similar to one of the LinkedIn ones for layout purposes. You can see than on my site, like here on the contact page (right column).

    http://www.cumbrowski.com/contact.asp

    Xing.com and LinkedIn have Plugins for MS Outlook and others. You can’t “connect” automatically to people in one network if you are connected with them in the other. The approval step from the other party is always required. But it’s fairly easy (if your outlook/windows address book is not as messy as mine hehe)

  5. Actually, Xing’s number of users was 1.45 mil at the end of September. This is down from 1.5 mil in July (per their own press releases), so there is momentum, but in the wrong direction :-)

    Also, most Xing members are in Germany, so there is not much left for the rest of Europe – let alone Asia or US. In contrast, LinkedIn has 3 million members in Europe.

    Another important difference is what you get with your free account. Xing only makes money from subscribers, so they really try to push the paid accounts and don’t offer much with the free account. Unless you pay, Xing’s search is crippled (can’t even search by company name or title) and you can’t send a message to anyone without paying.

    On LinkedIn, free members enjoy full search capabilities, and you can contact anyone within three degrees free of charge–and for many, that is more than Xing’s total membership of 1.45 million . . .

  6. The 1.7 was per end of October, anyhow. I planned already a follow up post with some more information. I did not realize that I posted by coincident less than 24h after their official re-launch :)

    If found a lot more data and info. some from cached pages in the search index since not all pages from openbc were moved to xing.com, especially the corporate pages. They “Americanized” them with their relaunch. slick and pretty looking, but less information :)

    I dare to speculate that there is more to their re-launch than the “international expansion” plan.

    Thanks for the comments.

  7. Carsten,
    I think we’re comparing apples to oranges here. I actually brought your forum up on my Xing forum and you can find the discussion here;
    https://www.xing.com/app/forum?op=showarticles&id=2895963&offset=0

    While Konstantin’s observations correct about paid vs free, he is also biasing the argument towards LinkedIn by using half-truths. No suprise there as it’s coming from LinkedIN exec :) And besides Xing went profitable in the 3rd month while LinkedIN took 3 years :)

    I wrote quite a bit on the redesign from openBC to Xing.com at this blog entry; http://sachistudio.com/blog/2006/11/22/deconstructing-the-redesign-of-openbc-to-xingcom/
    and in the last paragraph, I talk about the shakeout b/w all 4 major SNS- Ecademy, LinkedIN, openBC, and Ryze. Apparently, some of the employees at Xing were impressed with the critique that they passed it on and took note of some of my suggestions about the usability and accessibility part.

    While I like your entry and analysis, I believe the major flaw here is to compare LinkedIN [a passive social networking model] to Xing [an open SNS, much like Ryze and Ecademy].

    Both LinkedIN and Xing will do just fine. To make the assertion that there can only be one left standing in the space of business focused SNS is not quite kosher. If anything, there is room for more.

    Having said that, I look forward to the war to come. As I said on my forum, some of us who are users of Xing and LinkedIN look foward to the battle ahead :)

    Look forward to your follow up.

  8. Thoughtful article Carsten,

    I am personally glad that you enjoy our services and hope that you also enjoy the future improvements we are making. As our goal is to provide value to all our members it is great to see such feedback.

    Warm regards,
    Bill Liao

  9. Thank you Bill.

    My little weekend post I believed to me neat but did without having any special intentions seems to have started having a life of it’s own :).

    I did not realize that Xing just launched when I posted it (which coincidentally timed it well). I just happened to go that day to Xing because of a notification about a connection request and noticed that I was redirected to Xing.com and that OpenBC.com is no more.

    I blogged about the name change in September at my blog at ReveNews and thought that it would be nice to follow up on that. I spent an hour or so looking over new interface and collected some links with pricing and service details and wrote what I thought about the two services personally plus did some speculating about the future without going over statistics or corporate backgrounds first.

    I am not a professional reviewer, just a regular user who uses services like LinkedIn and Xing for my daily business.

    But I feel now that I should make a follow up post after all the feedback, comments and obvious interest in this story.

    I collected already a lot more data and plan to post something next week or so.
    Cheers,
    Carsten

  10. Well written Carsten and also informative. Online networking is a critical activity in today’s world & all about how one takes these popular sites seriously and build there own Network, which really gets helpful in multiple ways. My experience says,its sure to reach higher level in coming years.

  11. Tried Linked In for about six months. I found most members were likely already past subscribers. And, there were WAY too many limitations for the cost. XING has been much better value for my money.

  12. I’m of the belief that open social networking wheels will be the future.

    While there’s always room for a “private club” which charges outrageous fees in order to deter the average person and thus create some exclusivity for the wealthy who prefer to avoid the great unwashed masses, I think most professional people will eventually find it somewhat silly to pay money for what is essentially a glorified Yahoo profile or rough equivalent.

    Currently, these networks are artificial gates and nothing more. I think most people join out of some ignorance and by referral. It should work out that, as more people find other costless networks (including interest groups, charities, religious, etc) they will decreasingly opt to buy their way into clubs, except -I suppose- in matters of status.

    It might take a time to shake out, but I’m confident that will be the eventual direction for the vast majority of folks in the long term.

  13. Xing is dead. Check Alexa: More than 80 percent of Xing users are only in Germany. In almost every other country in Europe, LinkedIn has higher traffic rankings. LinkedIn has double the page views. And more than half of LinkedIn users are from _outside_ the US.

    Xing’s mistake was in clinging too long to the notion of a class-conscious club, both in name (BC Open Club) and in its old-school revenue model that delivered insufficient value for non-paid users. However, if you have a niche requirement to reach elites within German-speaking countries, Xing could be helpful.