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LinkedIn’s freelance marketplace: toe in the water, or jumping in?

Sometimes things happen with a big splash (did you happen to notice ZipRecruiter’s IPO?), and sometimes there is a slight disturbance – just a ripple. As you already know, LinkedIn is capable of making a big deal out of what they’re doing, and now they seem have mastered the soft release.

What am I talking about? LinkedIn’s new Services Marketplace (and a tip of the hat to AIM Group for ferreting this out for the rest of us). Finding it is kind of like searching for an Easter Egg in your favorite video game – you know it’s there, you know it can be found, but how? In this case, LinkedIn stuck the feature in their navigation bar – the group of boxes they call ‘Work’. Click on it, and one of the options is the Services Marketplace – just below the Post a Job link (coincidence? hmmm). You can call this path to the Services Marketplace logical, even clever – but I call it ‘a feature we’re fiddling with but aren’t ready to really promote yet’. I know how that goes, having been involved in plenty of soft launches. This tactic gives you a chance to get some reaction to your new feature without necessarily getting egg on your face if something doesn’t quite work correctly.

How does it work? Well, since I am in fact a ‘service provider’ – i.e., a job board consultant – I decided to list my services. The first step? You have to declare yourself ‘Open for Business’ via the appropriate link on your profile. Then you select the applicable services from a LinkedIn-supplied list – pretty much a bunch of white collar professions, add specific skills, a description that you write, and there you are: your services profile. You can also invite clients to ‘review’ you.

The interesting thing about the marketplace is…it’s already quite crowded. As AIM Group says, “Even at this nascent stage, the platform hosts hundreds of thousands of service providers under every category. That’s because the project isn’t being built from scratch; it’s an extension and re-branding of a pre-existing platform, LinkedIn ProFinder.

Will it be successful? I don’t know. It’s easy to use from the service provider’s perspective – and at this point there are no fees. I’ll keep you posted and let you know if I get a sudden avalanche of business from my own posting. Honestly, though, I would be surprised – the job board consulting world is a nichey niche of a niche. But I’ve been wrong before!

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