Where’s the big audience for premium services for LinkedIn et al?

After a little over a year of playing with the current crop of “social networking” sites (boy is it ever time to give that label a rest), LinkedIn is the only one I still use (and the only one that I that I add contacts to) on any regular basis.

Why? Mostly because of the audience it attracts, and its narrow focus on providing me with simple (but sufficient) functionality to find and make contact with people I’m looking for. (In that sense, LinkedIn is one of the “truest” social networking sites, vs. say a classified site with social networking underpinnings [Tribe.net], or a dating site backed by social networking [Friendster].)

But would I pay for it? I don’t think so, and I suspect, as News.com’s article points out, the percentage of people who would is pretty small.

And who is that small percentage? Why, people who are making money because of LinkedIn (surprise!).

So my question to Reid Hoffman and team over at LinkedIn is, how do you create a more vibrant marketplace that extends further into the tail of your customer base? What services can you offer people like me, who don’t make a living directly off of people (e.g., recruiting), but because of people.

My goodness, this is starting to sound like the BloggerCon monetization discussion again!

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