German based business network Xing has formed a partnership with  ZoomInfo, a US-based business information search engine, in a deal which could potentially give it a larger network than LinkedIn.

It also marks a move into the English speaking world for Xing, and gives its members access to profiles of nearly 36m business people and 3.8m companies.

Xing has been growing rapidly over the past year, expanding its membership by 149% in 2006 and recently reaching 2m users.

It is particularly strong in the German speaking world, but has recently expanded into Spain with the purchase of eConozco.

Xing will hope to convert some of ZoomInfo’s 4.5m monthly visitors into members of its network, and the move will potentially give the network a bigger reach than  LinkedIn, which has 11m members.

According to Xing CEO Lars Hinrichs:

“This partnership makes XING the business networking platform with access to the largest number of profiles of business professionals and companies in the world. Nearly 36m people are now available to XING members.”

According to VentureBeat, LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman has criticised ZoomInfo for scraping contact information without permission, and Xing will have to deal with the resulting privacy issues.

ZoomInfo COO Bryan Burdick defended his company, saying it only uses information publicly available on the web and organises it for searchers.

Graham Charlton

Published 15 June, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (1)


Klaas Brumann

XING’s press release contains a number of leaps which may escape the unaware. I have been using ZOOMINFO for quite a while and like it. It probably best describes as the “Google of people & company search”, though technically not correct.

XING states: “The partnership will provide XING’s 2 million-plus members with immediate access to profiles on nearly 36 million business people and 3.8 million companies directly on the XING platform.”

REALITY: Any web user has access to ZoomInfo, in my browser its just a tab away, so for the user the added value is rather limited.

XING states: “Under the terms of the partnership, all XING members will have access to ZoomInfo profiles and XING premium members will have the ability to contact over 18 million professionals directly and securely.”

REALITY: Above it states twice as many: 36 million business people. The difference in “18 million business people” with no direct access probable derives from the fact that ZOOMINFO does not have accurate or complete enough information on the other half of its profiles. There are also many duplicates, despite having integrated my profile on ZOOMINFO last year I pop-up as 10 “business people”. The name “Lars Hinrichs” appears 12 times, at least two of them refer to the same “Lars Hinrichs” partnering with ZOOMINFO. Last but not least, as the profiles on ZoomInfo are search results and not member profiles, the whole issue of providing “access” is non regulated. In other words, the “access” is as good as access to anyone you “google”.

XING states: “According to Nielson/NetMetrics, ZoomInfo is the fastest growing network in the country”

REALITY: ZoomInfo is not a network as we understand XING, Ecademy, Viadeo, Soflow, Neurona, socialBusinessClub, Academici etc to be. It’s a specialist search service.

XING states: “XING members will also be able to manage their own online ‘brand reputation’ by monitoring their own web references to ensure accuracy and consistency.”

REALITY: Potential business partners or employers do not rely on ZoomInfo, LinkedIn or XING. What they want is information which is not “self monitored” and therefore are likely to “google” our names. Managing your own ‘brand reputation’ is an illusion running contrary to the principles of the other great buzz word: “Web2”.

XING states: “ZoomInfo’s 4.5 million unique monthly visitors will also be able to join XING’s business network directly with a simple two-click process.”

REALITY: We accept that people using the internet or Google are not necessarily interested in business networks. Well, that someone uses a people search does not mean they want to JOIN a network. If they want to their will find they way to: LinkedIn, XING, Ecademy, Viadeo, Karma, Soflow, Neurona,
socialbusinessclub, or elsewhere.

XING states: “With the successful IPO of XING as the first Web 2.0 company to go public, OPEN Business Club AG has had a long-term impact on the social networking trend amongst professionals.”

REALITY: I am nagging just because I am jealous…;-)

Klaas Brumann

about 11 years ago

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