For the past couple years LinkedIn has been using tech developed by its Pulse subsidiary to help its members publish articles both on LinkedIn and elsewhere, and now they're looking to formalize that "elsewhere" component.
Re/code reports that LinkedIn wants to set up syndication network which would automatically distribute the articles:
LinkedIn is emailing the 500 people it calls its “Influencers” and asking them for permission to automatically hand their stuff to other sites that want to republish it in full. Sites like Quartz routinely publish LinkedIn posts, but right now each article has to be manually approved by the author, which makes it a multistep process.
There’s no money trading hands here — Influencers write for LinkedIn for free, and LinkedIn lets other sites use those posts for free — but there’s still an obvious value exchange: Influencers get more distribution for their names and ideas, along with the notion that LinkedIn says they are “influencers.” And LinkedIn gets to advertise LinkedIn.
LinkedIn isn't commenting on the obvious monetization aspects, but it's worth noting that the email that Re/code posted also mentions that the posts could be republished in te NYTimes, Quartz, TechCrunch, etc, and could even "appear in top-tier, non-English news sites, translated into the publisher’s language".
There's going to be money involved, just not any that is passing to LinkedIn and the influencers. "It is not anything that we spend time discussing,” said Dan Roth, who heads up LinkedIn’s content business. “There’s so much more we want to do with it. The monetization part is not part of the discussion. It’s all about engagement."
LinkedIn is trading on its cachet as a social network for professionals much like Medium trades on the status it used to have as the hot platfisher. Both are drawing in high-profile thinkers to contribute articles, but the two differ in that LinkedIn continues to maintain its unique status while Medium has reduced itself to just another blog platform.