LinkedIn, a social network for business professionals, has expanded into product and service reviews.
LinkedIn executives today said they will allow businesses to list products and services on company profile pages. And LinkedIn members will be able to "recommend" offerings, and then add comments. "Recommendations are the most trusted form of advertising," said Steve Patrizi, VP, marketing solutions, at LinkedIn. "We've turned this into a platform for marketers…we're helping people make fast decisions to do business [with your company], helping your customers bring you more customers."
Ryan Roslansky, director, product management, at LinkedIn, said company executives deliberated before selecting the word, "recommend," on products and services pages, instead of other options such as "like."
A spokeswoman said a business can delete comments or respond to them.
LinkedIn's display advertising will permit marketers to feature recommendations. "If you know someone who recommended the product, we'll include that person in the ad," Roslansky said.
LinkedIn, which has 80 million members, said Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, StrongMail, Kodak, and JetBlue were among the first 40 companies to set up a products and services page on the business network.
"They've taken the best from Yelp and from Facebook, but they added a B2B spin," Didit CEO Kevin Lee said in an interview with ClickZ News after attending LinkedIn's briefing. Facebook lets people in its network "like" a brand, while Yelp enables people to post reviews and recommendations about restaurants and other businesses.
Discussing the free service, Lee said that anyone who has a business e-mail address could add content to their business profile page. "Unless you take a proactive approach to associate one individual to be the keeper of the page, that's good and bad. It's good if you want a lot of employees participating. But a lot of corporate communications managers are not comfortable with that," he said.
LinkedIn executives said the network's privacy settings permit people to opt out of appearing in ads. When asked whether LinkedIn does business with Rapleaf, a data aggregator that was banned last week indefinitely from Facebook, Roslansky said: "We don't recommend Rapleaf."
Patrizi said LinkedIn does not work with ad networks, limiting what can be tracked on the business network. "Our members go in and bid on advertising. We do not have to worry about third parties going in and placing code on our site," he said.
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