By Dileep Thekkethil
BENGALURU: For professionals and entrepreneurs, there are three authentic sites that cater to networking needs.
LinkedIn: According to Forbes, â€œLinkedIn is, far and away, the most advantageous social networking tool available to business professionals today.â€
LinkedIn is available in 23 different languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Romanian, Russian, Turkish, Japanese, Czech, Polish, Korean, Indonesian, Malay, and Tagalog.
LinkedIn was officially launched on May 5, 2003 and by the end of its first month in operation, it had a total of 4,500 members in the network. Now it is the largest professional networking site with a registered user base of more than 332 million spread over 200 countries. According to reports, every one second, two professionals sign up to join LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has over 6,000 full-time employees working in different offices in 30 cities around the world. Headquartered in Mountain View, California, LinkedIn also has international offices in Amsterdam, Bangalore, Barcelona, Beijing, Dubai, Dublin, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Melbourne, Milan, Mumbai, Munich, New Delhi, Paris, Perth, SÃ£o Paulo, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto.
India has the second largest number of LinkedIn users with over 28 million people only next to the US which has a total of 108 million users.
Viadeo: Viadeo is a professional networking site which has over 55 million registered users till 2013. According to reports, the user base of Viadeo is rapidly increasing at a rate of 1 million new users every month since 2009.
Viadeo was first named Viaduc, but when it began to expand to other countries, the company was renamed to Viadeo.
The target audience of Viadeo is mainly centred in France, but they are starting to build a strong hold in countries like India and China. Viadeo acquired Chinaâ€™s leading professional social network Tianji, founded by Derek Ling in 2005. In India Viadeo acquired ApnaCircle, one of Indiaâ€™s professional networking brand in July 2009.
Viadeo was founded in May 2004 byÂ Dan Serfaty, a graduate of theÂ HEC School of ManagementÂ in Paris, and Thierry Lunati, a graduate ofÂ Ã‰cole centrale Paris. The Viadeo revenue system is based on 3 revenue streams: premium membership, advertising, and services to recruiters.
XING: XING is another professional networking site which has a user base of more than 14 million members worldwideÂ and out of this over 7.7 million users are based in German-speaking countries.
The professional networking platform of XING helps in the mingling of professionals from different areas of specializations. Also, it helps professionals in finding new job opportunities, new assignments, colleagues, corporate partners and helps in generating new business ideas.
XING currently has more than 500 people working in different offices. Â XING supports languages such as Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Swedish and Turkish.
XING was launched as OPEN Business Club AG in August 2003 byÂ Lars Hinrichs in Germany as a German limited liability company.Â The company was renamed from OpenBC to XING on November 17, 2006.
What makes XING unique from other professional networking sites is its special ambassador program for cities and regions around the world. The ambassadors hold special conventions for members and give them training on how to use professional networking as a business tool and help them network outside the virtual world on a personal level.