What’s On

#sowhoknew: Looking for love on LinkedIn?

Valentines Day isn’t a big thing on LinkedIn. Well it wasn’t until BeLinked was launched, a Tinder style dating app that syncs with a users LinkedIn profile. Are you a lonely lawyer looking for a like-minded love interest in London? Or maybe a frisky financier fancying a flirtation in Fresno? Then BeLinked is possibly for you…

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So how does BeLinked work? Well much like the aforementioned Tinder it shows other users who are in close proximity, where they are from but with the added extra in that it shows their connections to other LinkedIn users. The app also allows its users to filter potential matches by the usual age and gender but also their profession and industry.

Again, similar to Tinder, you can ‘like’ the profiles of other users that spark your personal and professional interest. Then if two users both give each other the thumbs up (presumably based upon their collective resumes, connections and profession) they are ‘encouraged’ to engage in a little chit chat. Talk about mixing business with pleasure…

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But you have to admit, it’s a thoroughly plausible idea. The brainchild behind the idea is Max Fisher, a former investment banker and developer of the original incarnation of the app called LinkedUp. Snappy name right? However, I suspect maybe a little too close to the original for comfort. Anyway, Fisher makes a bold statement on why he believes BeLinked is going to be ‘lucky in love’, “It is going to result in much higher-quality matches. People get a really true sense of where someone’s from, what they do, and where they went to school, which are the main questions people ask in terms of dating.”

Now in fairness I have been out of the dating pool for some time now but I’m not exactly certain those are the questions I used to ask. Actually I’m not sure I want to repeat what my variants were but I digress. In another interview, Fisher goes on to say, “Since there are so many people on the LinkedIn network that are professionals looking for other like-minded people, it seemed like an unparalleled opportunity to tap into one of the largest social networks in this incredible way.”

You can’t fault the logic. But is there really a market for BeLinked in a sea of love match apps like OKCupid, Match, Hinge, Hitch and Blume? Well according to an article about ‘elite’ dating sites on Business Insider you might be surprised to hear that BeLinked actually has over 50,000 users in more than 100 countries. And it appears that the app has seen a lot of ‘love action’ in cities such as New York, London and San Francisco.

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Even without BeLinked, there are plenty of stories of passion on the platform. FT.com recount the story of Kristin and Adam who initially connected on LinkedIn, moved on to regular messages via InMail, were soon flirting on FaceTime and were married within a year (allegedly replete with LinkedIn logos in the wedding photos).

Now, I’m not normally one to break poor cupids arrow but I have to question whether BeLinked is really the best environment to woo or be wooed? Many might argue that it’s all harmless fun for consenting business professionals. That said, for the sake of balance, there have also been several notable instances of inappropriate advances being made using profile data. Online dating guru Evan Marc Katz, clearly does not recommend reaching out to potential partners through LinkedIn, “It’s a business networking site, not a dating site, and I would think most people would make a very clear distinction between the two. It seems tone-deaf and inappropriate, as if the HR director asked you out while you were interviewing at the company. Even if you find each other attractive, is this really the forum for it?”

So what do you think? Are there already a sufficient number of sites out there dedicated to dating or is collated data from LinkedIn aggregated into a dating app an irresistible option for the lovelorn?

Steve Blakeman

Steve Blakeman is the Global Media Lead - Nestlé at Mindshare. Previously, he was the Managing Director - Global Accounts, OMD Europe. Previously, he was the CEO, Asia Pacific – OMD. Prior to that, he was Global Chief Integration Strategy Officer (Asia Pacific) for IPG Mediabrands (Initiative & Universal McCann). He has also had stints as worked as Managing Partner at Omnicom Media Group owned media agency, PHD where he successfully launched their second office in the UK. He began his career at JWT and has over two decades of experience in advertising, media and marketing communications.