Among the three largest social networking sites the most arcane to deal with from a developer perspective is LinkedIn. Now PeopleLinx is trying to prove there is a viable developer opportunity surrounding Linkedin APIs. The company, which just picked up an additional $3.2 million in financing, has developed an analytics application for LinkedIn that allows organizations to more easily ascertain what people are connected to what potential key accounts.
Beyond knowing who in their organization may know someone, PeopleLinx CEO Nathan Egan says that analytics application makes it easier to discover who people in organizations you already have a relationship with may actually have additional relationships your organization could find helpful.
Egan says that idea is turn LinkedIn into not only a recruitment tool, but ultimately a source of reliable leads for the sales organization.
Research shows that the primary reason organizations are investing in analytics is to gain additional customer insight. While LinkedIn may not have the same level of traffic that Facebook or Twitter generates, it does have more information about the personal history of an individual as it relates to their job function. From a business-to-business perspective that could make LinkedIn more valuable than any other social network.
Founded by former LinkedIn employees, Egan says that PeopleLinx engineers have a pretty intimate understanding of the nuances of LinkedIn APIs. It’s not abundantly clear to what degree LinkedIn would like to see an API developer community to emerge around LinkedIn. The company publishes an API but like any of the major social networking services, there is always a danger that one day LinkedIn might change its terms of service or move into an adjacent area that would suddenly put a developer in competition with LinkedIn. At the same time, it’s also possible that LinkedIn might one day find an application developed around its APIs to be too compelling to not acquire that application.
Whatever the outcome Egan says like any other venture building a business around another company’s APIs comes to its share of risks. But almost by definition the mutual dependencies that exist across the API economy are increasingly creating an ecosystem where it’s in the best interests of all concerned to make sure end users have the best experience possible. That’s not going to happen if everyone is preoccupied with lawsuits filled with acrimonious recriminations that instantly get shared across the hundreds of social networks the second after they are made.