Professional networking site LinkedIn has launched the beta version of its business directory, called LinkedIn Company Profiles, with data provided by BusinessWeek and Capital IQ supplementing LinkedIn's member information. Over 150,000 companies and organizations are indexed in the directory, working it into a Hoovers-esque database that ties into LinkedIn's social features.
A LinkedIn Company Profiles page includes a number of basic statistics pulled from BusinessWeek's database, such as company size and history. But for the most part, the rest of the business' page consists of information from employees of that company who have LinkedIn profiles, like a list of "new hires" (LinkedIn members who have recently added a current affiliation with that company) and recent promotions, other businesses that have seen people hired from that company, and demographic tidbits like median age and education information.
At first glance, LinkedIn's business directory seems like it will be fairly useful for people who are looking to make connections at a given company, dig up information before interviewing for a job or accepting a position, or just looking for interesting facts. Accuracy, of course, is an issue when it comes to the data gathered from LinkedIn profiles--the networking site has 20 million members, but the workforce of one company (or even an individual branch of a larger company) may be represented far more heavily than another.