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branchout RSS feed Tag: branchout

BranchOut’s Trip to the Stars and Back to Earth

by Jun 5, 2012, 11:59 am ET

Way, way back, on April 192012, BranchOut impressed the online recruitment community with incredible growth numbers. CEO Rick Marini boasted 25 million people who signed up for his service and mentioned a growth rate of three new users signing up per second! No wonder he could also proudly mention another round of funding, a stunning $25 million, bringing the total to $49 million … all-around impressive.

Monthly average users, April 19 – June 5. Source: AppData, Facebook

However, the world of BranchOut looks completely different today, at least according to the data provided by AppData and Facebook. They present what is called the monthly average users number. And when we look at the development of this figure since the date of Marini’s moment of glory, we get this picture:

BranchOut peaked in the period of April 27-29 with a total MAU of 13.9 million. Today that number is just 6.5 million, a loss of a staggering 7.4 million MAU in just 37 days. That relates to a loss of 2.3 MAU per second! At this rate BranchOut will hit zero MAU in just over a month, or 33 days.

How is it possible that at one moment a site can grow so fast only to suddenly reverse course and plummet nearly as fast? keep reading…

LinkedIn to Monster & BranchOut: Pay Up

by Jul 6, 2011, 7:44 pm ET has learned more details about LinkedIn’s July 1 decision to cut off Monster’s BeKnown and BranchOut’s API access. We’ve also obtained copies of the emails that LinkedIn sent to both companies.

If there was any doubt that commercial reasons were behind the move, it’s gone now. Both emails end by proposing that the companies join LinkedIn’s “Partner Program for enterprise products.” A representative for LinkedIn has confirmed that the companies would pay for this access.

While BranchOut and BeKnown got all the attention, LinkedIn also cut off access to at least four other companies. Startup mixtent and resume parsing company Daxtra are two more companies that serve recruiters that were affected. As of this morning, the import function that is the core of mixtent’s service appears to be completely broken.

keep reading…

Game On! LinkedIn Fires Next Shot in War for the Career Social Graph

by Jul 2, 2011, 12:13 am ET

Another shot has been fired in the war to own the social career networks — TechCrunch reported today that LinkedIn has cut off access to its data to both BranchOut and Monster’s BeKnown.

As we’ve reported, both services are designed to leverage Facebook’s social graph and more than 750 million users to help them find career opportunities through their friends. Until LinkedIn’s move, they had been able to use the API to give those Facebook users a shortcut in creating a resume on their own services, making them easier to set up.

As this conflict unfolds, we are going to hear a lot from each party about how they are acting in consumer’s best interests, while the other side is trampling their rights. Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric though — all three companies are simply following the money and acting for their own best interests.

LinkedIn has not yet commented publicly about this situation, and its blog doesn’t even hint that anything out of the ordinary is going on. But when it does, LinkedIn will likely claim that it is protecting its users’ privacy. Who could argue with that?

But the real motivation here is something else. LinkedIn’s rapidly growing business depends entirely on its proprietary data; there’s just no way that it is going to let other companies use its own data to compete with them. In fact, the LinkedIn API’s Terms of Use, section 1.5.n., explicitly states that companies using the API agree not to “use the APIs in an Application that competes with products or services offered” by LinkedIn, something that Monster and BranchOut were surely aware of when they built their applications.

Monster’s Vice President of Product Management Matthew Mund posted Monster’s official response to the API shutdown. In it, he says:

We are disappointed by this decision. Why? It’s not good for LinkedIn users: blocking the API effectively limits LinkedIn members’ ability to import their own profile data or invite their own connections to another environment, whether BeKnown or others.

See? Monster is doing this for the poor suffering users who just want to post their data anywhere they want.

Except that Monster’s entire business is charging for access to a closed database. In the Monster Terms of Use, the company specifically prohibits anyone who would “aggregate, copy, or duplicate in any manner any of the Monster Content or information available from any Monster Site, without express written consent from Monster.” What’s good for the LinkedIn goose is clearly not good for the Monster gander.

As for BranchOut, its public position is similar to Monster’s. As the new kids on the block, it also seems happy to be getting this kind of attention, and used its response to the TechCrunch article to promote the superiority of the Facebook audience over LinkedIn’s.

This move by LinkedIn will not greatly hurt either BranchOut or Monster’s services in any big way — importing a resume was just a convenience for their users, who can still create profiles the old-fashioned way. But its a clear sign that LinkedIn recognizes that these services are taking aim squarely at its market, and that it won’t just roll over and let them do it.

Or to quote Monster VP Eric Winegardner, “game on.”