Social networking-Facebook for suits: Websites that encourage business networking are thriving

Among the few firms benefiting from the upheaval in the financial markets are professional social networks — websites that help with business networking and job-hunting. On LinkedIn, the market leader, members have been updating their profiles in record numbers in recent weeks, apparently to position themselves in case they lose their jobs. The two most popular sites, LinkedIn and Xing, have been growing at breakneck speed and boast 29m and 6.5m members respectively. And, in contrast to mass-market social networks such as Facebook and MySpace, both firms have worked out how to make money.LinkedIn and Xing are similar in many ways. Both cater to youngish professionals with above-average income, and allow people to connect, keep track of each other’s activities and create groups of common interest. Both are also profitable: since they help members find jobs or build their businesses, many users are willing to pay.

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