It’s still pretty basic, but LinkedIn has quietly gone live with a new gigs feature called Services Marketplace.
Six months after we reported LinkedIn and Facebook were developing freelance-work listings, there’s been visible progress at the first tech giant, but not the second.
We inquired with Facebook on the matter, but we haven’t received a response.
LinkedIn’s Services Marketplace is accessed from a grid button that opens “more LinkedIn services” on the site’s navigation bar. The feature showcases LinkedIn members who provide freelance services, and who have indicated on their profiles that they’re “Open for Business.”
The marketplace focuses on 16 categories of white-collar work, from Accounting to Writing. Each category is broken down into more specific services.
Even at this nascent stage, the platform hosts hundreds of thousands of service providers under every category. That’s because the project isn’t being built from scratch; it’s an extension and re-branding of a pre-existing platform, LinkedIn ProFinder.
“Since 2020, we’ve been integrating the best elements of Profinder into the LinkedIn platform,” LinkedIn senior communications manager Amanda Purvis told the AIM Group. “Through a single space, service providers and buyers can more quickly and easily search, learn, connect and start working together. We’ve begun helping our service providers integrate their Profinder data to Service Pages and this will continue over the coming months. This will be an incredible opportunity for providers to increase their reach and gain more visibility to the LinkedIn community. Providers can expect to get regular updates from us as we evolve our service provider experience.”
At this early stage, the feature is basic.
For service providers, all you need to do to be listed is create a simple profile with a description of your expertise and a list of your services (chosen from a pre-made menu). You choose who can message you (any LinkedIn user, or just those in your network) and hit “Open for Business.” Your profile is then marked as Open for Business, and you become discoverable as a freelancer.
Those seeking a service need to click on the specific service they need. The only filter is for location. If you don’t give a location, search results are ordered by providers nearest to you in your LinkedIn network. When we tested the feature, first-page results included mainly 2nd- and 3rd-degree connections and in one case a first-degree connection who was a former co-worker.
Marketplaces has an ordering tool that lets you describe the service you need through a set of multiple-choice pages. You can send an order to a provider of your choice or put it up for grabs and wait for competing quotes.
LinkedIn was reportedly modelling its freelance listings on Fiverr and Upwork, whose revenues and valuations have skyrocketed during the pandemic (see here and here). Those specialty freelance sites offer many features that the Services Marketplace currently lacks, including onsite payments and conveniently bundled service packages for one-click ordering and pricing. Those sites also let you filter providers by price, customer ratings, job specifics and urgency of request even before you submit a work order.
An advantage LinkedIn brings to the gigs game is its network and ability to connect service seekers with providers they may know.
It doesn’t carry fees at this point, but LinkedIn reportedly intends to implement fees along with a payments tools and other features to bring it in line with the gig heavyweights.
Purvis didn’t give specifics about how the marketplace will evolve but did say, “We will have more to share in the coming weeks.”