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LinkedIn rolls out "company profiles" with unique data mining info

2DC0C213-CDAD-44ED-B925-F386524AFF7D.jpgHow could you improve on the basic "company profile" if you had access to a ton of information about the employees of companies? LinkedIn this week aims to show what can be done as they rolled out their new "Company Profiles" feature that provides information about companies in LinkedIn's massive database of users.

In the past, when you looked at someone's "full" profile in LinkedIn (here's a pointer to mine, but you need to be logged into LinkedIn and click the button on the bottom of the page to see my "full" profile), the names of each company listed in your "Experience" area were links that, when clicked, did a search of LinkedIn for other users who included that company name in their profile.

linkedincompany.jpgToday, clicking on a company's name in someone's profile may instead give you a "Company Profile" page if that company is one of the 160,000 companies profiled thus far (as mentioned in LinkedIn's blog entry). If the company is not one of the 160,000 profiled so far, the link will perform the same kind of search as before. How do you know if a company has a profile? As shown in the image to the right, in my profile there is a "document" icon next to "Voxeo Corporation" but not next to the "Voice Over IP Security Alliance (VOIPSA)". The icon provides a visual cue that Voxeo has a company profile while VOIPSA does not.

The company profile begins with the typical kind of information you would see on pretty much any "company profile" on the web. It has a standard description, some stats about where the company is, the number of employees, etc. But then the company profile goes beyond what you might see in other places and makes use of the incredible amount of data that LinkedIn users have entered in to all their profiles. You get a list of employees at the company in your LinkedIn network... and then the "New Hires", listing new people at the company. Also "Popular Profiles" based on who has visited various profiles within LinkedIn.

LinkedIn_ Company Profile_ Mitel.jpgThere is also an interesting section showing where people have come from before joining the company and after leaving the company. The image on the left shows this section for Mitel (which was more interesting than Voxeo's). From looking at a couple of company profiles, I'm guessing that the before and after lists are probably compiled based on the number of LinkedIn users joining and leaving a company. It also brings out some interesting stats - who know that Mitel employees are most connected to Brasil Telecom Internet?

The Company Profile also contains interesting info about job titles, top schools, median age of employees as well as median tenure for employees in the company. (Again, see Mitel's page for an example.) Now, obviously, this is only calculating this info based on employees with a LinkedIn profile so it's not 100% accurate. Still it is indeed interesting data about a company.

How widely used will these profiles be? I don't know, but I could certainly see them being used by candidates evaluating a job with a company (or by people looking to understand the background of someone being considered for a position).

Regardless, I find it an intriguing use of data mining to make use of all the info LinkedIn has by aggregating all the information we are putting into the site. Cool to see. (As my mind thinks of all the other statistics they must be able to glean from their massive database.)

By the way, here's a video the LinkedIn folks put up to describe the feature:

What do you think? How useful do you see these company profiles being?

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