Xing and the Art of Social Networking

Xing was founded in June 2003 in Germany under the name of Open BC (Open Business Club, Open Business Club). Though not nearly as popular as LinkedIn, the platform has millions of user worldwide. In Spain, the platform exceeded 1.5 million users in 2011, which positioned itself as a leader in the Spanish market for professional networks, until the Spanish subsidiary closed in February 2011. The network for professionals is operated by Xing AG with headquarters in Hamburg. At one time it has offices in Barcelona, Istanbul, Milan and even in China, but now only maintains the central office. The name “Xing” has been chosen for international marketing reasons, because in Chinese it means “it is possible”. In English you can read it as crossing, crossing or exchanging business contacts.4

To register, users fill out their profile with both professional and personal data, and they can also provide information about their fields of interests and job specializations, their training, their current and previous businesses. It is advisable to add a photo, which is shown in thumbnail size in the search results and views of the contact network. The platform uses https and has a rigid policy of privacy and prohibition of spam. Being a European website, it complies with the strictest data protection laws. This fact marks an important difference with American platforms, where the company itself decides on the management of the data of its users. On the other hand, MLM activities (multi-level marketing) are strictly prohibited within XING and the account of the user that develops this activity is blocked as soon as it is detected.

To establish a contact it is necessary that the request to be a contact is confirmed by the recipient. Only in this case, the system stores and displays a bi-directional connection. The system allows the user to configure different privacy options to determine what information their profile can be viewed by other users. A weekly newsletter optionally informs the user about events, new users, and personal statistics, for example, how many times have visited their profile and from whom.

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The participation in Xing requires registration according to the general conditions of use and is directed exclusively to people of legal age. Basic participation is free, but there are added features for “Premium users”. Since May 2009, additional free functions have been added, such as knowing who visited your profile, sending messages to direct contacts or adding a status message. Being a “Premium” user gives access to additional functions such as sending messages to users that are not direct contact, posting job offers or upload PDF documents in the profile itself (among others). Each new user can enjoy a month of added features for free, if another user has been invited.

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