LinkedIn, a business network, has launched LinkedIn Answers, an answers service that leverages the user's professional network to receive business-related advice. LinkedIn Answers was designed to allow members to ask their business-related questions, and receive answers from their personal networks and the hundreds of thousands of experts in the LinkedIn network as a whole. The service gives the site's nine million users a way to get industry specific answers to business questions and to build upon their professional reputation by responding to questions relevant to their expertise.
Questions and answers are tied to professional profiles and the relationships between askers and experts. Questions can be targeted to specific members of one's network, as well as opening it up to the entire LinkedIn network of more than nine million professionals from around the world, representing 130 industries. The service is free and currently allows users to ask ten questions a month.
Experts receive expertise credentials for every best answer they provide--this becomes part of their LinkedIn profile, informing other users that they are a proven expert on that topic. For those consistently able to provide expert answers, LinkedIn will promote their expertise to other users, providing an opportunity for consultants, contractors, and other service providers to build social capital and market their services to professionals whose questions they answer.