LinkedIn is launching a new feature called Events to extend its networking features to physical, in-person events. The company had a limited trial of the Events feature last year in New York and San Francisco.
The new tool will help users to plan, announce, and invite people to meetups and events. It will be available as a menu item on LinkedIn and is rolling out first in English-speaking countries starting October 17, with the aim to expand it to further non-English markets soon after that.
It essentially follows the model of Facebook Events but for professional meetups, training sessions, offsites, et al. Events will help LinkedIn to engage passive members who otherwise do not post anything and only log in occasionally but would follow and engage work-related events specific to their industry or neighborhood. It will also help LinkedIn create another revenue stream in its business and take on competitors like Eventbrite.
Events is incidentally the first major, global feature to be built out of the company’s R&D office in Bangalore, India. The Indian outpost, as yet, was working on regional tools and features for emerging markets, like LinkedIn Lite.
At this moment, Events is free to use but fairly limited. You can create an announcement and invite first-person contacts, but you have no way to promote the event or create any ticketing option. According to Ajay Dutta, the head of product for LinkedIn India, the company is not focusing on targeting right now but organic adoption.
While a seemingly obvious functionality to have, LinkedIn has surprisingly brought Events too late to the mix. It is, in fact, one of the major feature launches since Microsoft acquired the company in 2016 for $26 billion – apart from LinkedIn Learning, geared toward educational content.