Facebook Inc. (FB) To Launch A LinkedIn Competitor: A Professional Networking Site !

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Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) has started exploring new avenues that could bring in more revenue dollars to the company. According to Financial Times, Facebook is all set to launch a new career-oriented professional networking website that would eventually challenge LinkedIn. The attempt is being made to help Facebook users segregate their professional activities and network from their parallel personal online behavior.

Facebook has reportedly decided to keep the look of the new professional network almost the same, in blue and white theme, but allows users to chat and connect only with co-workers or previous colleague. The new professional network will also help users to collaborate on document such as Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365.

The new network has not been tagged with a name though, at present the project is being addressed as “Facebook at Work”. As the name suggests, the company is planning to rope in the internet users, especially C-level executives, who have maintained a distance from Facebook till now. Besides, this will also help Facebook to get an entry-pass to all companies where the online social network is banned due to the nature of content and sharing of personal stuffs.

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 “The new site will look very much like Facebook – with a newsfeed and groups – but will allow users to keep their personal profile with its holiday photos, political rants and silly videos separate from their work identity,” reported the Financial Times.

In a bid to lure professional users, Facebook is drafting few strict guidelines for all users of the new professional network. This will potentially benefit users to stay connected with seniors and clients who don’t like to scroll through personal information such as their opinion, shared links and photos.

The new network is reported to be available for free ‘initially’. Facebook is planning to fund the new professional network by monetizing the traffic with display ads – a task that doesn’t look difficult for an online network having a user base of 1.35 billion people.

What Convinced Facebook To Divide its Userbase?

The growing number of users and brands on Facebook, declining reach of updates of pages and billions of daily updates probably has convinced Facebook to segregate its users base. It’s also being said that Facebook is trying to setup network of premium users who would pay for the services.

In September, Facebook’s valuation crossed $200 billion. The company is recording a phenomenal growth in its user base and revenue with each passing quarter. However, for the last three quarters, the growth of user base has reportedly become a matter of concern for Zuckerberg and team. While US market has started showing signs of saturation, most of the new users are joining Facebook from Asia-Pacific region – but not making any substantial contribution to Facebook’s revenue. In Q3, 2014 the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) from APAC region remained little above than $1, while US, Canada and Europe contributed more than $4 as ARPU. Considering Facebook may soon be hitting the upper limit of ARPU from developed economies, the company is under pressure from investors either to create a synergy to convince users from APAC consume more on advertisements, which would eventually bring more revenue, or to develop a new revenue stream.

“Facebook at Work” professional network will allow the company to convince the users to cough up dollars against the premium services. Besides, I won’t be surprised to see if Facebook introduces premium version of brand pages with add-on features on the new network at a certain price.

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According to the sources close to the matter, Facebook is building the new network in their London office with a plan to launch a pilot service with selected companies. It’s not yet clear when will Facebook launch the new network s the company is yet to reply the email.

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