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LinkedIn has the one thing other publishing platforms would kill for

Stashed in: LinkedIn, Bill Gates, @richardbranson, Content is king., Content

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A competitor who doesn’t rely on advertising


In other words, LinkedIn doesn’t have to rely solely on advertising revenue that is derived from driving traffic to its publishing business, the way many traditional newspaper and magazine publishers do. It has annual revenues of about $1.5 billion, and virtually none of that has anything to do with its publishing operations. Compare that to a company like Forbes, which — despite its aggressive moves into digital publishing, and becoming a kind of open-blogging platform for brands — is still a fairly traditional publishing business, in the sense that it depends primarily on advertising revenue.

Forbes, which is reportedly being shopped around with a price tag of about $400 million, has revenues of around $135 million, according to offering documents that media consultant Ken Doctor wrote about recently. More than 70 percent of that comes from ads, and despite the magazine’s Brand Voice program and other initiatives, its online revenue has not been growing very rapidly, and certainly not enough to offset the decline in print advertising.

In fact, LinkedIn — a business that barely existed 10 years ago — could buy Forbesfor cash if it wanted to, since it has more than $2 billion on its books. Whether it would want to or not is a different question, although it does seem to fit with the publishing strategy behind Influencers and LinkedIn Today.

Why is Forbes only worth $400 million? Because it isn't growing and it relies only on advertising?

Yes and yes, and how the business magazine landscape has changed.  Fortune is a shadow of its former self, for instance

Fortune is a global business magazine published by Time Inc. and founded by Henry Luce in 1930. The publishing business, consisting of TimeLifeFortune, and Sports Illustrated, grew to become Time Warner. In turn, AOL grew as it acquired Time Warner in 2000 when Time Warner was the world's largest media conglomerate.[2] Fortune's primary competitors in the national business magazine category areForbes, which is also published bi-weekly, and Bloomberg Businessweek. The magazine is especially known for its annual features ranking companies by revenue. is the online home of Fortune, in addition to Money.

Fortune is worth a lot more than Forbes?

In general, wide-access publishing is gaining favor. Thanks to up-to-the-minute data on audience engagement, it’s possible to make the most popular user posts more prominent — while sending the dull or inane ones to the digital equivalent of the basement archives. Sites such as QuoraReddit and HackerNews operate this way. Even The New York Times has retooled its reader comment section repeatedly in ways that allow anyone to have a shot at becoming, in effect, the comment of the day.

LinkedIn for the past 16 months had zigged in the opposite direction. It tried to hand-pick a few hundred “influencers” — such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates or British entrepreneur Richard Branson — whose essays have been widely distributed on the site. The best of those posts have attracted big audiences and lots of enthusiastic feedback. The weaker ones have been ignored or mocked.

That the weaker ones have been ignored or mocked is why I find myself with writers block.

I haven't published anything on LinkedIn for four months.

As PandaWhale becomes higher velocity, by the way, we're going to have to pick up some of these techniques to surface the best content on the front page.

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