LinkedIn on Thursday announced the launch of LinkedIn Surveys, a service from the LinkedIn Research Network that allows market researchers and investors to access the site's 30 million professionals for market intelligence by creating a survey, and either opening it up to the entire LinkedIn community or targeting a select group.
In order to increase the number of members participating in the surveys, LinkedIn will allow those who participate to choose from a variety of rewards, including gift cards from Amazon.com, Starbucks, or Best Buy. For those that don't want gift cards, LinkedIn is also offering participants the opportunity to make a donation to charities.
LinkedIn Surveys is different from the company's Answers service. Instead of asking the community just one question, as users can in Answers, Surveys is designed specifically for market researchers that are trying to target a specific group of professionals on LinkedIn that will adequately represent the entire population.
"LinkedIn overcomes quality and authenticity issues that other sample providers face," said Dan Shapero, director of business services at LinkedIn. "Because of the public and self-policing nature of LinkedIn, members provide deep and accurate profile information, and they update that information constantly."
So far, LinkedIn has conducted surveys with six market search firms, including Phoenix Marketing International and OTX. Among those polled were IT managers, finance professionals, and government employees.
Although the company's executives wouldn't disclose how it will monetize Surveys, they did indicate that the service will provide LinkedIn with another line of revenue to complement advertising and its other sources of income.