Facebook vs. LinkedIn: The Missing Link

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The easiest article to write this weekend was a version of “Why LinkedIn Rocks and Facebook Is Lame.”

After all, amid Facebook’s ongoing saga, LinkedIn reported earningsafter the stock market’s close on Thursday and, wouldn’t you know it, results were ... good.

LinkedIn’s top line — up 89 percent and above expectations — dropped jaws. Earnings were commendable, too, despite the fact that the company spent heavily in an attempt to build out. But here’s the kicker: LinkedIn raised numbers for the quarter and year. Cue those “Facebook Is Reeling, LinkedIn Rising” articles.

Forbes went with: “Why Wall Street Likes LinkedIn More Than Facebook.”

The problem is, media outlets from Forbes to the Associated Press running with these stories tried to identify reasons for the difference in fortunes between the two social media companies and mostly touched upon the same one: LinkedIn’s professional customer base is more consistent and valuable to advertisers.

True enough, but they need to get more specific. For LinkedIn, mobile is apparently not the third rail that it is for Facebook.

Facebook, used by plain-old folks to post photos of the cake-pop they just bought at Starbucks, has been put on the defensive by mobile competition in both the marketplace and the perception of traders.

LinkedIn, not used with the same sense of transience, doesn’t have to sweat mobile as much. Ironically, LinkedIn’s mobile usage, starting from a small base, showed growth. Importantly, it doesn’t really matter. And there stands an important difference the media generally ignored.

—By TheStreet.com Contributor Marek Fuchs

Additional News: LinkedIn CEO: We’re Not Like Other Social Networks

Additional Views: Cramer’s Six in 60: Goldman Bullish on LinkedIn


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TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks. At the time of publication, Marek Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.