LinkedIn goes to school to spruce up user base

Professional networking major LinkedIn is set to tap high school students to increase user base.

The site has around 238 million users in second quarter of 2013, a 37 percent increase from a year ago and a 9 percent increase from the first quarter.

LinkedIn revenue rose 59 percent to $363.7 million in the second quarter of 2013 thanks to rapid growth in membership.

Facebook, social media giant, has earlier lowered its age limit to admit college and school students.

LinkedIn says the new age limit will be effective from September 12.

The new minimum age to create a LinkedIn account will range from 13 years old to 16 years old in most countries where LinkedIn operates.

LinkedIn is lowering its age requirements so high school students can tap into a new feature, called University Pages, designed to help them learn more about colleges around the world and connect undergraduates with alumni.

About 200 universities have already set up pages on LinkedIn, and the company said thousands of more schools will be given access to the new feature during the next few weeks, AP reported.

LinkedIn is expected to benefit from the new strategy as it will open up new growth opportunities that could help the company widen its usage and bring in more revenue.

Reuters reported that the professional social network faces several challenges. Its chief executive Jeff Weiner has previously signalled that LinkedIn’s new mobile products could take months to gain traction.

Due to bad market conditions, the San Francisco company projected sales of between $367 and $373 million for the third quarter but raised its full-year revenue guidance to between $1.455 billion and $1.475 billion.

There are two revenue streams for LinkedIn. Membership charges fees to gain additional access and insights and LinkedIn advertising space that becomes more valuable as its audience grows.

Fourteen is the LinkedIn’s minimum membership age in Australia, the US, Canada, Germany, South Korea and Spain. Students living in the Netherlands must be 16 years old to join LinkedIn.

With the exception of China, where residents must be 18 or older to set up a profile, LinkedIn’s minimum age will be 13 everywhere else.

LinkedIn will limit what information can be seen on juvenile accounts and will set up a special customer support system to help members under 18.

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