NEW YORK, June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- With news that Microsoft plans to buy LinkedIn, the largest business-oriented social networking site, for a whopping $26.2 billion, the big winner could turn out to be neither of these giants but rather a new social media platform from Europe.
Madrid-based beBee (www.bebee.com) has attracted more than 11 million users in its first year and has more than doubled its user base in the past six months. With 4.5 million users in Spain and 3.6 million users in South America, the start-up platform is now creating buzz in the United States, fast approaching 100,000 users here.
Microsoft is said to have plans to speed up its monetization of LinkedIn by growing the number of individual and organization subscriptions as well as targeted advertising.
beBee on the other hand is free and founder Javier Cãmara has stated it will always remain free to users.
"Social media influencers have been discontent with LinkedIn; they feel it is unresponsive to users, particularly those who use it beyond its roots as a recruiting tool and a job search site," said social media expert Matt Sweetwood, a contributor to widely-read sites such as Entrepreneur and The Huffington Post.
beBee user groups, called Hives, are a key part of the beBee user profile. The company has a more robust blogging platform than other networking sites, allowing users to find and display content that is actually relevant to them.
This sharing of common personal and professional experiences (i.e. "engineers who are into running") is what beBee calls "affinity marketing," allowing relationships to be developed rather than just adding layers of connections.
"Being able to interact with people one does not know but who have the same interests is something new and it works," said Cãmara, who along with Juan Imaz invested $11 million to create and launch the social network in February 2015.
On target to add 40,000 new users each day, their goal is to exceed 40 million users by 2017.
"It will be many months before regulators approve the merger between Microsoft and LinkedIn," added Sweetwood. "During this time, it is unlikely that users will see much development or improvement at LinkedIn, which will create a greater opportunity for beBee to gain users and attention faster."
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