LinkedIn courts major media publishers to rival Facebook Instant Articles

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LinkedIn is reportedly in talks with a number of major media outlets as it looks to introduce a new publishing feature similar to Facebook Instant Articles.

Although it is unclear what shape or form LinkedIn’s publishing tool will take, the emphasis will be on speed, specifically in regard to page loading times.

Even though LinkedIn is a member of the Google open source initiative that enables Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for optimized smartphone page-loading times, the planned feature will be separate from that, reports BuzzFeed News.

Quick-loading articles are viewed as essential to any site looking to create its own news reader, whether using mobile publishing tools akin to Facebook Instant Articles, or in the form of a standalone news app (the type launched by Apple and Google).

Publishers remain a very important part of our content ecosystem and we are in regular conversations with them about new ways to work together,” LinkedIn told us via email. “Our goal is to ensure we get the right content in front of the right member at the right time to deliver the best member experience possible.”

Until now, LinkedIn has focused on business news and blog posts penned by its Influencers (high-ranking professionals) and general user base. The enterprise and career-centric news is optimized using Pulse, a mobile and Web reader acquired by LinkedIn in 2013. Although the tone and form of these articles fit its brand, LinkedIn is now facing stiff competition on the news front from industry rivals.

Aside from Facebook, Twitter has increasingly focused on curating news in order to attract users via its Moments feed, rolled out last year. Then there’s the aforementioned news apps, which also include competing mobile products from media companies such as BuzzFeed, and Quartz. Additionally, LinkedIn’s monopoly on business and industry news has been challenged by the rise of blogging platform Medium, which is home to tech industry professionals and startups.

If competition is a concern, however, its certainly not showing when it comes to LinkedIn’s earnings. Unlike Twitter, for example, the company recently showed strong user growth in the Asia-Pacific region. In particular, LinkedIn’s growth in China (where its app is used by 20 million people) means it holds a distinct advantage over it rivals, which are banned in the country. Most recently, China’s strict censorship laws targeted Medium, which now too is inaccessible in the country.

However, LinkedIn’s publishing push may end up being a double-edged sword precisely for that reason. China’s great firewall is increasingly targeting western media companies, which are likely the candidates LinkedIn is looking to attract to its site. In the long run, the social network will have to be very careful of the type of content that makes it on to its site if it wishes to retain its overseas advantage.


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