"The big difference is that GLG has crafted a stable of hand-picked experts, while LinkedIn will be data mining its database of millions of users to find potential experts. This is significant because hedge funds and other financial firms get little advantage if they are all taking to the same people, even if those people are the top experts in the field. Competitive advantage, referred to in financial markets as alpha, only comes when you have information that others do not. <text snipped>
Because of its Web 2.0-scale pool of connected individuals, LinkedIn hopes to provide insight from unexpected sources. He also pointed out that the social network helps you to evaluate people promoting themselves as experts: Let's say you're considering an investment in a mining concern in China. You see someone who claims to be an expert. Then you see that he's connected on LinkedIn to the CEOs of the top three zinc producers and has in his network 80% of other people you've identified as experts."
It's an intriguing move to me to see another way that LinkedIn might perhaps monetize it's massive database of people and connections. The launch of this LinkedIn Research Network is apparently a few months out and one will assume that we LinkedIn members will hear more about it (and whether we can opt in or out)... but to me it's another interesting experiment... and if it helps LinkedIn continue to be financially viable and continue to offer their service for free to all of us, so much the better.