Competition in the social networking space just got a bit more intense. Through a partnership with ZoomInfo, Germany-based social networking site now boasts a network larger than LinkedIn. The partnership enables Xing members to access basic information from ZoomInfo's database of 36 million business profiles, which is considerably larger than LinkedIn's membership of 11 million.
For $5 a month, Xing members can upgrade to a premium account to be able to contact ZoomInfo people they don't already share a network with. The premium account status also enables them to update their profiles on ZoomInfo. This is similar to LinkedIn, which offers a premium membership to people who want to directly contact people outside of their network.
Your network is only as good as your contact information. Where LinkedIn is strong is in the accuracy of its information. It comes directly from the sources and individuals who want to take full advantage of the networking site's ability to connect people religiously update their profiles. Through this recently announced alliance, Xing is relying on content from ZoomInfo to power much of its network, which may or may not be a good idea. ZoomInfo is certainly good at what it does--culling information from a variety of Web sources to create profiles of business professionals. However, that information is only as good as its original sources. And sometimes those sources just don't have the most up-to-date information--a key factor when business professionals are seeking to connect with each other.
So while Xing can now proclaim to have a larger network, it must remember that quantity doesn't equal quality. If anything, LinkedIn will be motivated to continue to bolster its offerings as other organizations likely attempt to take a piece of the increasingly popular social networking pie.