At the risk of reporting rumors (ahem), I can't resist making a note of this one. For the past couple of weeks we have been analyzing LinkedIn and comparing it to Facebook. When I say 'we', I mean Bernard Lunn. But it's a topic a few of us have written about in the past here at RWW. Bernard wrote a post at the end of last week entitled LinkedIn and The Future of Business Networking. In that post he listed ways that LinkedIn could take advantage of the relatively untapped business networking market.

Some of the feedback on Bernard's post suggested that it's Facebook which will take advantage of business networking opportunities, moreso than LinkedIn. So at the beginning of this week, we ran a poll asking: In 6 months time, will you have more business contacts in Facebook than LinkedIn? The poll is still running (see bottom of this page), but the current results are in favor of LinkedIn:

Yes, Facebook will have more 27% (102 votes)
No, LinkedIn will still have more 66% (245 votes)
They will be even 6% (24 votes)

So about 2/3 of poll respondents think LinkedIn will be where we do our business networking. Which brings us to the rumor: that News Corp may acquire LinkedIn, which will bring it under the same corporate umbrella as MySpace. As if Facebook doesn't have enough competition already with Google OpenSocial, a MySpace/LinkedIn tag team would really put the squeeze on.

As Bernard noted in his post this week, Deconstructing the Business Social Network, to compete on its own LinkedIn probably needs to move away from being a destination site and open up its data via API. There is just too much competition out there from start pages, email services and social networks.

However if they did get acquired by News Corp, that would give LinkedIn a foundation to hold onto its goal of being the destination site of choice for business networking. It's hard to see MySpace being leveraged by LinkedIn, as their audiences are so different. But as Techcrunch UK pointed out, News Corp has a number of newspapers that professionals read - including The Wall Street Journal and (in the UK) The Times and The Sunday Times - so LinkedIn could definitely leverage those.

An acquisition of LinkedIn by News Corp would make sense for both parties. And as LinkedIn is a part of OpenSocial (as is MySpace), that would put even more pressure on Facebook to join OpenSocial. So it'd be a win for Google too, if Rupert buys LinkedIn. What do you think? And if you haven't already, please take part in our poll below: