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BranchOut vs LinkedIn: Tussle for professional networking space

Branch out; a professional networking site from Facebook has made its way to India. BranchOut is basically a professional network very similar to LinkedIn that is created as an application that hops on to Facebook and its 600 million users.  BranchOut is a web application users can find on Facebook and it is very well knitted with vast experience of social networking. The application is easy to use as Facebook is already widely used by people for social networking.

However, introduction of BranchOut has created enough buzz in the professional world with people looking at BranchOut competing with LinkedIn to claim the professional networking space. Iamwire has dug deeper and here is the comparison between them.

BranchOut vs LinkedIn

BranchOut is the largest professional networking service on Facebook. Hundreds of thousands of people use BranchOut to accomplish professional cum personal tasks. BranchOut has the largest job board on Facebook with over 3 million jobs and over 20,000 internships. BranchOut was founded by CEO Rick Marini in July 2010 and has raised $ 24 million in two rounds of institutional funding from investors like Accel Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Floodgate Fund and several of Silicon Valley’s most prominent angel investors.

At the other side LinkedIn is founded in 2002 and has started out in the living room of co-founder Reid Hoffman. However, the website officially launched on May 5, 2003. LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 100 million members in over 200 countries and territories. As of April 2011, LinkedIn counts more than 11 million recent college graduates around the world as members

Features of BranchOut in contrast of LinkedIn

  • BranchOut empowers professionals and fresh graduates seeking internship to create a professional presence on Facebook that is safe and easy to use. By leveraging Facebook’s network of nearly 700 million users, BranchOut gives you inside connections to jobs and sales leads that you can’t find anywhere else.
  • BranchOut’s advanced search options allow users to find the job opportunities based on their location, industry, experience, and job title.
  • Post a job—this feature is unique and is not as complicated as with LinkedIn.  LinkedIn makes it difficult for an employee to post a job without being the administrator of a company page. On BranchOut, anybody can post a job position quickly. However, there is a clause that it will be a private listing and can be viewed by your friends and their friends only. On the other hand with a subscription of premium feature, BranchOut allows professionals to list the job publicly, so that everyone using the app can view it. At present this is being charged at $49.
  • The messaging feature of BranchOut is not as much matured and active as LinkedIn. In BranchOut there is an Inbox where you can check your connection requests and send messages to any of your Facebook friends whether they have joined BranchOut or not and you can also see the sent messages. On the other hand LinkedIn’s messaging option is more relevant for professionals though. You can take a glance at the messages through a dropdown list without navigating from homepage.
  • LinkedIn has enjoyed the monopoly from a long time in professional networking domain. Consequently, LinkedIn had initiated various innovations and added features like Groups, News, Answers, Events, Company Buzz and a new one called Skills, which is in evolving stage. However, these features are absent in BranchOut.  Currently BranchOut has feature like badge which is being given– one for being an early adopter, for being a professional networker. Meanwhile one can also gift badges to friends. There are 58 badges in all that can be sent to a friend’s profile – from Genius Entrepreneur, Expert Angel Investor, HR Ninja to Got Me A Job, Best Dressed and Super Funny.

Iamwire Take

BranchOut is undoubtedly will satiate the need of professional networking of people already on Facebook. BranchOut is based on applications which have power to connect users professionally through their personal contacts. In real sense BranchOut has provided a readymade platform where one can easily find his/her friends and connect with friends professionally, search for job opportunities, requests for recommendations, checks popular companies in your network, invites friends and expands his/her network.

However, it has been witnessed in the past that products launched by internet czars are not always successful. Take a cue from Google which launched application like Google video, Google buzz and Apple’s Cyberdog and Taligent.

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