LinkedIn Trading on NYSE

Considered to be the most anticipated initial public offering to come out of Silicon Valley in years, LinkedIn will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday May 19, under the symbol LNKD. The social networking service aimed at bringing professionals together has been operating for eight years, and is now in the position to go public. Investors were eager to buy into Linked In, with its top of the range IPO share price at $45, valuing the company at $4.25 billion. The last American-owned Silicon Valley company to go public was Google, seven years ago. If this move by LinkedIn proves successful, it may well open the gates for other social media companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Groupon and Zynga to do the same.

With its three revenue streams – premium subscriptions, online advertising and recruitment hiring tools – LinkedIn has more than 100 million users, from more than 200 countries and territories around the world. The site is available in six languages – English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese – and according to media measurement service Quantcast, LinkedIn receives 21.4 million unique U.S. based visitors, and 47.6 million global visitors per month. The site was rated at number ten on the Silicon Alley Insider Top 100 list in October 2010 and is ahead of competitors Viadeo and XING in membership numbers, with an estimated membership growth of one new member every second.

The primary purpose of the site is to enable members to compile a list of contacts, referred to as connections, with whom they have a relationship on some level. This list of connections can be used to gain access to potentially mutually beneficial business associates through second-degree connections (connections of your connections) and third-degree connections (through connections of second-degree connections). This expanded list of connections opens up many more opportunities for LinkedIn users to find jobs and business opportunities in their field of expertise, and for employers to list jobs for suitable candidates. Users can also post their own profiles and photos and view other users’ profiles, as well as research companies as groundwork for making contact. Other features include LinkedIn Polls; LinkedIn Answers; LinkedIn DirectAds; and a mobile version of the site.