LinkedIn quarterly profits on hot streak, outstrips social media rivals

LinkedIn

The size of LinkedIn's user base has reinforced its position against competitors, few of whom pose a serious challenge. Facebook only recently announced a "Jobs Board" tool in November. And on Thursday, shares of Monster Worldwide Inc fell 7 percent after the human resources company reported a quarterly loss and said it would pull out of several countries.

Analysts in recent months, however, have begun to question how long LinkedIn can sustain its turbocharged growth as it becomes saturated in some U.S. markets.

On Thursday's earnings call, company executives said the majority of LinkedIn's users are now based outside of the United States, and the company is aggressively targeting job markets in Hong Kong and Brazil.

Sales from international markets more than doubled over the past year to $114.6 million, or 38 percent of total revenue in the quarter, the company said.

In response to a slowdown in user growth and the slide in page views, LinkedIn has introduced some social media features to encourage visitors to click more on its site, as opposed to uploading their resumes and never coming back.

LinkedIn has introduced personal blogs by successful businesspeople like Sir Richard Branson, whom users can "follow" for updates.

Chief Executive Jeff Weiner told analysts on Thursday's earnings call that the blog series, called "Influencers," has exceeded expectations and now features contributions from business luminaries like GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt and investor Mark Cuban.

Other social mechanics, such as a recent addition that encouraged users to endorse their colleagues for their professional skills, also helped keep users coming back to the site more frequently, Weiner said.

The endorsements feature had the effect of "creating the right kind of viral loops," he said.

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