Beknown, Monster.com‘s application on Facebook which launched last week, aimed to rival LinkedIn by utilizing your Facebook contacts to network professionally for recruitment/jobs leads. This weekend however, LinkedIn took offense at Monster’s use of their API (Application Programming Interface) which they deemed to be against LinkedIn’s Terms of Service. Similar Applications were also banned from accessing LinkedIn via their Apps, which including BranchOut, Daxtra, Visible.me, Mixtent and CRM-Gadget.
While all of these Apps have hit back at LinkedIn, saying that LinkedIn members should own their own data and be allowed to import it anywhere they like, Techcrunch.com reports, “LinkedIn says that it cut off access to its API for BeKnown because the app was using the LinkedIn API to send messages to promote BeKnown (and thus profit from the API). LinkedIn is also concerned that BeKnown will be charging for enterprise services related to the API, similar to what BranchOut are doing. Mixtent and Visible.me were also shut down for the same reasons. CRM-Gadget and Daxtra were both shut down for storing LinkedIn member data.”
Despite what these critics have said about BeKnown here and here, we still think the App has potential. When we first tried it over a week ago, we were able to quickly import our profile data from Facebook, and also import contacts from LinkedIn (while it was allowed) and several other platforms (Twitter, Gmail, Yahoo and Live). This wasn’t without its complications though: the app didn’t allow us to pick and choose who we wanted to invite, it only allows you to choose all contacts or select them one by one, which if you’re a recruiter is a real pain in the ass as you may have hundreds or thousands of contacts. Now that you can’t use LinkedIn to import your contacts after their dispute, you’ll have to painstakingly import your connections one by one anyway. But the biggest problem with BeKnown is that it is aimed squarely at active jobseekers and unless a Facebook user installs the App, they are invisible to the network. Monster.com is the world’s most popular online space for job seekers and the BeKnown app seems to be catering for the job-seeking demographic that would prefer to be on Facebook. In this Monster.com still deserve credit as few other job boards have been bothered with social integration yet one feels that they could have done so much more….and maybe they will!
Existing Monster.com customers will be delighted with the free job advertisement syndication that they automatically receive now across BeKnown. When other job boards are increasing their prices for less service, its good to see Monster.com trying to add value. Furthermore, Facebook users needn’t be alarmed at having their personal space invaded by a professional sphere either, as Beknown keeps your personal and professional data very separate and private from one another.
However, since it’s still in beta, we have a few suggestions on how it can improve and make it more user-friendly:
Like BranchOut, allow recruiters to search members’ 2nd degree contacts by skill or employer, even if they’re not on the platform. Beknown requests permission to use your friends’ details and contacts, so this could be easily integrated. BranchOut can already be used as a good networking tool; if BeKnown combine the best features of BranchOut with the largest CV database in the world, recruiters would be lining up to take advantage of this feature.
Companies like Brave New Talent have focused on much more integrated media-rich employer branding; BeKnown could learn from the BNT crew when looking to add more features beyond job advertising.
Allow users to select specific people to import in to your contacts from databases like LinkedIn (should it ever come on stream again after this debacle at the weekend), Gmail, Twitter etc.
Have you used Beknown yet? What are your views? Leave them in the comments.
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