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.
The Pro Account or premium as Xing calls it, is â‚¬ 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.
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.comâ€™s TrustPass (TP) or Free Silver status Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts, Park Inn Hotels, Country Inns & Suites! and a lot more offers like that.
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.