News that LinkedIn acquired SlideShare for over $118 million broke this week (along with a SlideShare presentation explaining the news) — an acquisition that gives LinkedIn access to a lot of content created, shared, and discussed by its target audience of professionals. In March 2012, the SlideShare website received over 29 million unique visitors, which means it’s one of the most trafficked websites for professionals.
Over 7.4 million presentations have been uploaded to SlideShare since it debuted in 2005, and since then, those presentations have been embedded in over 1.4 million unique domains. All of that content represents opportunities for LinkedIn to connect with a larger audience and get access to valuable information about its users.
In a press release, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner explained, “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.”
Information is valuable these days, and the SlideShare acquisition certainly gives LinkedIn information. The acquisition represents what appears to be a turning point for the direction of LinkedIn as a company. Undoubtedly, the LinkedIn strategic direction goes far beyond the SlideShare acquisition. Simon Sharwood of The Register speculates, “The [acquisition] could mean ‘this is our cloud storage play’ or ‘our members were spending a fair bit of time using Google Docs and Office 365 and we wanted that time-on-site’.”
One thing is certain, what started out as a simple social networking destination for professionals might just be turning into something far more comprehensive. Let’s just hope that “something” really is useful.
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