The Wall Street Journal has apparently decided it can beat LinkedIn at its own game, and is launching a social network. No, it is not 2003. We thought we’d stumbled through a time warp too.
Despite wanting to compete with LinkedIn, it, well, sounds quite a lot like LinkedIn:
[The] social network…will compete with LinkedIn as a platform for “like-minded people” to meet online and share ideas. News Corp also intends to offer new Dow Jones services, including a personal messaging system.
If you’re wondering why, precisely, the Wall Street Journal is trying to break into a very difficult sector of the Internet market, consider that its owners decided to stuff all the newspapers into one company and take the actually profitable businesses elsewhere. In business terms, they’re essentially putting newspapers on the ice floe and pushing them out to sea. So every newspaper is going to be trying things like this in order to justify their existence.
Will it work? Possibly. LinkedIn is a powerful and established social network, but it’s not Facebook or Twitter, either. That said, it’s not clear what the Wall Street Journal can offer that LinkedIn doesn’t, beyond a whole bunch of branding slapped on a website. They’ll have to establish why customers should sign up in the first place… and, for that matter, why they should keep logging in.