In a brilliant move that’s sure to make both newspapers and social networks around the web jealous, the New York Times and LinkedIn, the leading US social network for professionals, are announcing a content partnership tonight that could substantially increase the value for users of both sites. The announcement will be made at the top of the hour, but the integration is live now.
LinkedIn users are now being shown personalized news targeting their industry verticals on the Business and Technology sections of NYTimes.com and will then be prompted to share those stories will professional associates.
We’re big on LinkedIn here at RWW and though a wide open developers platform has yet to emerge, moves like this are inspiring. The deal is an important step beyond the previous integration of sharing hooks on NYTimes.com from other services.
A number of other social networks and bookmarking services have “share this story” links on NYT stories, but it’s unclear how much traction those links alone are getting. Last month we wrote about one of those services, social news site Mixx, that’s still seeing fewer than 1 million unique visitors per month despite “share this on Mixx” buttons on a long list of the biggest news sites in the world, including NYTimes.com.
How much more compelling is this partnership? We think it’s a lot more compelling; check out the screenshots below and imagine the feedback loop this could create between the NYT and LinkedIn. LinkedIn has 25 million registered users and the NYT sees 17 million + unique visitors per month, but the partnership will need none the less to introduce more people to LinkedIn in order to really be a home run. See this NYT page for an “introduction to LinkedIn.” That’s pretty classy, though it’s unclear yet when that link will be displayed and when it won’t.
We’ll see how the recommendation process works; we hope it doesn’t rely exclusively only on explicitly shared links, but we’ll see. This certainly gets the mental juices flowing about any number of other integration and recommendation possibilities.
One question we have is about money changing hands. There has been extensive discussion around the web of late about LinkedIn using partnerships as a revenue source and it wouldn’t surprise us if the NYT is paying for this integration. LinkedIn may not be a huge social network, but its user demographics are some of the most financially desirable in the world.
We expect to see more partnerships like this emerge, perhaps from a chastised Facebook attempting to relaunch its Beacon program in a more acceptable fashion.