Announced first by TechCrunch just moments ago, professional social network, LinkedIn, has just announced its acquisition of presentation/document-sharing powerhouse SlideShare for $119 million. This deal is something that will certainly benefit the professional community on LinkedIn–161 million members strong–in their attempt to build their social graph on the site. Sure, you could already add the SlideShare application to your profile, but now with SlideShare part of the LinkedIn family, members could theoretically go ahead and not only add their presentations to their profile, thereby making it more portfolio-like, but also implementing it on company pages, groups, etc.
In their press release, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said the following:
Presentations are one of the main ways in which professionals capture and share their experiences and knowledge, which in turn helps shape their professional identity. These presentations also enable professionals to discover new connections and gain the insights they need to become more productive and successful in their careers, aligning perfectly with LinkedIn’s mission and helping us deliver even more value for our members. We’re very excited to welcome the SlideShare team to LinkedIn.
As stated earlier, SlideShare’s involvement with LinkedIn isn’t anything new. In fact, they’ve been partners over the past few years in helping professionals be more effective and productive through what content is shared on LinkedIn. It looks like SlideShare will remain independent for a while and existing users won’t experience any disruptions in the way they’ve been accustomed to the service and LinkedIn won’t mess up that vibe.
For LinkedIn, they’re definitely looking to be the place for professional networking to take place. From originally being your online resume to now being the place to store the contact information of the business cards you’ve kept using the CardMunch application, the social network has certainly improved over the past few years and doesn’t look to stop anytime soon. The site receives over 107 million monthly unique visits to the site with more than two people signing up each second. Not bad for the de facto business social network–in fact, it’s quite impressive. So what’s the next logical step for LinkedIn? Well sure users can add a plethora of applications to their LinkedIn “resume”, but now the company owns the presentation-sharing service and can use it in as many ways as it wants. In fact, when you think more about the SlideShare-LinkedIn deal, everything business network-related will now mostly take place on LinkedIn.
But LinkedIn isn’t getting just the ability to embed presentations and documents right onto the different pages. No no, remember Zipcast? Yes, it’s SlideShare’s answer to sharing documents while also doing a pseudo-WebEx feature. Developed so you don’t need to download any software or install anything, a Zipcast is a public/private and viral way to host web meetings for free. And who needs web meetings the most? Why, business professionals. And if someone in your company is giving a Zipcast to dozens or hundreds of potential clients, having the ability to tie that back to their LinkedIn profile or the company profile will prove invaluable and now this gives LinkedIn a huge advantage over their nearest competitor. You won’t probably see half of these features available in services like BranchOut.
SlideShare’s founder Rashmi Sinha penned a post welcoming the acquisition by saying that this is definitely the right step for the SlideShare ocmmunity. When they began, the idea of simply sharing presentations on the web was just a twinkle in their eyes. And when prompted to answer the question of “why” did SlideShare sell? Simply put: “For one, I firmly believe that SlideShare will grow faster with LinkedIn. Second, I have watched as LinkedIn has grown from being a place to share your resume to a much richer site, where you go to keep up with what your professional network is doing and sharing. We like the path they are on, and are excited to join them on this journey.”
In typical SlideShare fashion, LinkedIn took to the web and announced their acquisition in a SlideShare presentation–it’s quite good and appropo to welcome a new company into the family: