We have a confession to make before we start. We’ve never used Xing before today, when we actually had to subscribe to its services in order to write this review. And we don’t even half-regret that we did.
For all our business networking requirements, we always had LinkedIn to turn to. If we could only overlook its somewhat pricey subscriptions, we were, on the whole, quite happy with it. So it was only when somebody enthusiastically mentioned Xing (much to our surprise) that we thought of finding out what the buzz was all about.
Many of us, especially those to the east of the Atlantic, know Xing by its former name of OpenBC (for Open Business Club). So why the sudden change of name? The best guess is, it was getting in its way of global domination. Let me explain. The term “Open”, when applied to online technology and services, is frequently associated with a certain sense of being “uncontrollable”, especially in the US. Moreover, BC was fostering further confusion as the most common association of those letters was with “Before Christ”.
Xing, on the other hand, sounded too abstract to attract any such unpleasant or misleading associations. It was shorter, sleeker, oh-so-very Web 2.0-ish, and seemed so much more cosmopolitan. Indeed, it was no longer German (Xing is developed by OPEN Business Club AG, based in Germany), nor even European. Xing was 100% global, fit to belong anywhere.
As of writing this, Xing is leading the business networking arena in Europe with over 7 million members. Let’s face it, Xing is big in Europe. And with its not-too-secret expansion plans (including the recent name-change, lowered subscription costs, and recently added features such as Xing Mobile and Xing Best Offers), it’s going to get bigger over the coming months. It is tempting to compare Xing with its nearest (and most powerful) competitor, the US-based LinkedIn. Apparently, the differences are few. But believe me, there are some major distinctions between the two that may cause the balance to tilt in one’s favor over the other.
The most significant of these, of course, is the price. While both have a basic membership plan that comes for free, the paid services for LinkedIn appear too pricey when compared to Xing. The latter has a flat fee structure of $5.95 per month for its only paid plan, viz. Premium Membership. LinkedIn, on the other hand, offers 3 plans – Business ($24.95/month), Business Plus ($49.95/month) and Pro ($499.95/month).
If you’ve used LinkedIn, you’d find using Xing very intuitive. Xing has excellent worldwide reach, supporting 16 languages instead of LinkedIn’s 4. The user-friendly interface is a joy to use and lets you create your profile easily in a matter of minutes. Making changes to your profile as well as adding new contacts is also a cinch. Unlike LinkedIn, Xing is not heavily recruiter-oriented, attracting mainly small-business users and independent advisors. With much anticipation, we look forward to creating our profiles in Xing knowing that each keyword we use would be indexed and thus, made searchable. Way to go, we say!