LinkedIn, the professional social network Microsoft purchased back in 2016 is reportedly getting ready to enter the market of freelancer platforms currently dominated by Upwork and Fiverr. According to a new report from The Information, LinkedIn’s new platform will be named Marketplaces and could launch as soon as September.
LinkedIn is the largest professional social network with over 740 million members in more than 200 countries, with more than 260 million monthly active users. It makes sense for Microsoft to help LinkedIn members get in touch with freelancers, especially at a moment when the gig economy is on the rise due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Suzi Owens, a LinkedIn spokesperson told The Information that the platform saw an increase in people searching for LinkedIn members with “open for business" in their profiles. In the future we'll be building new ways to share more about the services you [could] offer directly through your LinkedIn profile,” Owens said.
According to the report, LinkedIn has been working on its new Marketplaces platform since fall 2019, and it could replace LinkedIn’s existing Profinder Feature. The new platform should bring more revenue to LinkedIn by taking a cut on transactions, similar to how Upwork and Fiverr currently operate. As of today, LinkedIn is making money from ads, premium subscriptions, and talent solutions.
In the past quarter, Microsoft said that the professional social network "saw record levels of engagement across the platform," with conversations being up 48% and hours spent on LinkedIn Learning seeing a 2X increase compared to a year ago. Do you think LinkedIn has a chance to become a leader in the gig economy with its already massive userbase? Sound off in the comments below.