I hope I got your attention with this title, but I believe we are entering a new era of social networking where people with large networks are now attempting to monetize their LinkedIn connections. And the events of today will certainly accelerate this.
As you probably know from my other posts, I am a LION on LinkedIn (also called a LinkedIn Open Networker) and I have almost 13,000 direct connections on LinkedIn, which ranked me about #150 worldwide the last time I could confirm this on LinkedIn (since they changed the search application several weeks ago it is now impossible to check this easily). However, my objective of building out a large virtual network is strictly for professional networking purposes. Digging my well before I’m thirsty. Sharing knowledge. Helping trusted people in my network. Looking for service providers, potential customers or partners, or even a future employer. You get the picture.
That being said, I have never thought directly about monetizing these connections, and I believe that a lot of Super Connectors like myself are the same. That could change with the announcement from TopLinked.com and InvitesWelcome.com, the leading open networker LinkedIn Groups, of their new OpenNetworker.com service.
TopLinked and Invites Welcome have always had their own “Invite Lists”. You pay to get on the list, and it is free to download the list, if you are a LinkedIn Group member, so that you can “safely” connect with people who are supposed to be (but not always!) open networkers.
Today’s announcement from OpenNetworker.com is basically saying that if you pay them a monthly or annual fee, your name can be added to the “Invite Lists” of 20 different networking sites! That’s right, twenty! These include LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Ecademy, and a host of other sites that you may or may not have ever heard of. Now, OpenNetworker.com just launched today, so these lists are not going to be huge yet, but OpenNetworker has a plan in place to get the word out and significantly increase membership FAST.
OpenNetworker is advertising to all of its TopLinked and Invites Welcome group members that they can now monetize their LinkedIn connections by sending out emails to all of their connections and getting them to sign up to the OpenNetworker service. If you join OpenNetworker you will be able to create a link with an affiliate ending which will identify that the new subscriber was introduced through you. And you will get reimbursed.
Within the first four hours after their announcement, I have already received two emails from LinkedIn connections introducing me to the service with links that include an identifier to make these people money. I expect to be receiving lots of these emails over the next several days. It can be said that this will be the true test of who is on LinkedIn to monetize their connections or not. And with the recession in full steam, I expect that there will be a lot of takers on this one.
The secret to how OpenNetworker can do this is 1) they have a huge network (i.e. large numbers of LinkedIn Group members), 2) they have good brand recognition from those that have been using their service, and 3) all of these social networking sites allow you to upload contact lists to check email addresses and invite members.
You will not be receiving emails from me advertising this service, nor will I have a link on this blog or on my LinkedIn profile to identify me as the person who introduced you. But if you are looking for LinkedIn monetization ideas or want to somehow monetize your LinkedIn connections, OpenNetwoker.com’s service may be something too good to turn down.