Zerply challenges LinkedIn

Upstart site takes on giant professional network rival

Zerply

Zerply takes professional social networking back to a sleeker, simpler time

Somewhat similar to how Twitter's brevity and streamlined nature snared tech-oriented Facebook users, Zerply appears to be gaining traction among people increasingly fed up with LinkedIn. The business-oriented social network continues to enjoy massive valuations, huge success with its share buttons (now on over 100,000 sites) and user numbers (with claims that two new members joining per second). However, some seaonsed users have become annoyed with the previously sleek network becoming increasingly entrenched with Facebook-like add-ons, and as reported in the New York Times and elsewhere, LinkedIn's social-ad mis-step angered users. The company had mentioned its new 'social ads' in a blog post, but users were nonetheless angered by their names and faces being associated with adverts by default; the company later backpedalled a little.

In a blog post, Brooklyn-based Swiss designer Tina Roth Eisenberg argues she's had enough of the company's moves, which have "pushed her over the edge". She considers LinkedIn a "missed opportunity", and says while its core idea was sound, she's irked that it's now trying to be "twitter-and-facebook-and-everything-else at once". Eisenberg's switched to Zerply, which she refers to as "a beautifully designed service that lets you find like minded people by tags, skills, location" and lets you "set up a public profile themed by world class designers".

Judging by the @zerply feed, Eisenberg's article has given the site a boost in user numbers that were already growing daily. Whether it can challenge LinkedIn in the long term remains to be seen, but it's worth a look if you're fed up with the direction LinkedIn is heading in.

Do you use LinkedIn or Zerply? How would you like to see professional social networks evolve? Let us know in the comments.