Probably, most of you don’t even know what I mean by “Xing” and why it sucks. If it wouldn’t suck you would definitely know it. Because it has a huge potential to become one of the biggest (if not the biggest) professional social networks in the world.
What is Xing? It’s a professional network available at xing.com, popular among some professionals in German speaking countries, primarily in Germany. It’s a “Made in Germany” project, whatever advantage or disadvantage this label might suggest. There are, indeed, some professionals in Germany who prefer having a profile at Xing but don’t have a LinkedIn profile. The reasons are different, but the most popular one is, probably, the higher security of their personal data with the German Xing, than with the American LinkedIn. This statement might be true, but, in my opinion, it is very doubtable. At the end of the day, you don’t keep your bank account details there.
Speaking from my personal experience, more and more professionals in Germany prefer to use LinkedIn only and don’t bother to have an account with Xing. This is especially true with international German companies having subsidiaries outside Germany.
My main problem with Xing is their poor feature set and lack of vision and I have a feeling that they are stuck somewhere in the past and don’t develop themselves anymore.
Let’s break down what’s actually wrong with Xing:
- Poor publishing capabilities, i.e., you can’t publish articles with rich media, attach pictures or videos to your text messages, and the only things you can share are plain text messages and links;
- In text messages you can’t link to a Xing page of any person, group or company by using, for instance, the at (“@”) symbol, whereas this is a normal practice on all other networks;
- The amount of open contact requests is limited to 100. Why in the world do you limit it, in the first place? Why 100 and not, for instance, 300 or 500? My queue is constantly full, and in order to send new requests, I have to delete some other requests;
- The design and the layout are ugly and outdated.
I am sure there are even more things to mention, but I don’t want to spend much time on researching or recalling them. If something else in Xing bugs you, please mention it in the comments.
I am biased. I hate when there is a brilliant idea and a big potential, but the company behind the product just can’t make it a success.
The project Xing has a huge potential. Let’s start with the name. The word “xing” or “x-ing” is a shortcut of the word “crossing” and is used in some countries like Australia on the road signs to warn the drivers of the road sections where you may encounter animals crossing the road. In relation to the social media, the idea behind “crossing” means that people always cross each other’s way. In my opinion, the name itself is much better than LinkedIn’s name.
If I remember correctly, at some point they moved away from the German domain .de (xing.de) to the more international .com. That was the right move and shows their ambition to be a global player instead of being just a German social network. But they have never managed to become popular globally and they never will with the current approach.
Everything they need to do to be successful is becoming a modern social network by simply applying the best practices of other networks. They should let people share stuff and be more permissive, than restrictive (this might be a general problem with Germans). And when you have done so, then start listening closely to your customers and introduce the culture of innovation within you company. The most interesting ideas might come from unexpected places or people, but then, by implementing them, you may gain an edge or a competitive advantage in relation to other networks.
Xing, I know that you can do better than that! Don’t become another fail like Myspace or StudiVZ. If you need help, then ask for it. I think many enthusiasts out there, including me, can provide you tons of feedback and give you a hand.