Seeking new revenue streams, professional-focused social network LinkedIn today is expected to debut a network catering to business-to-business market researchers.
To date, the LinkedIn Research Network has already partnered with six market research firms--including Phoenix Marketing International and OTX--to conduct targeted B2B primary research among its network of some 30 million professionals worldwide.
"B2B market research is a $100* million dollar industry, and we feel we can become a leading provider of that data," said Dan Shapero, director of business services for the LinkedIn Research Network.
For the LinkedIn community, involvement in the research is entirely opt-in, and is expected to actually make participation in the community more attractive, according to Shapero.
"Users will be offered rewards to share their behavior like cash incentives, donations to a charity of their choice, and merchandise," Shapero said. "The other reward is that this research might be used to improve the industries they work in."
Among the other advantages that LinkedIn claims to have over other data providers is its global reach with over 13 million professionals outside of the United States on the LinkedIn network.
Another, according to Shapero, is the perceived genuineness of LinkedIn's users because they identify themselves as a community of professionals rather than a focus group.
On average, Shapero estimated, willing LinkedIn users will receive invitations to participate in market research surveys four times a year. In the future, members will likely have the opportunity to participate in research surveys as often as once a month.
The network also purports to provide deeper insights through better targeting by filtering respondents by title, seniority, function, age, country, and company size, among other variables.
Noted Shapero, LinkedIn is solely focused on being a sample provider, and has no* plans to service the market with expertise and analysis.
*Editor's Note: Story was corrected post-publication.