XING (named openBC/Open Business Club until 17 November 2006) is a career-oriented social networking site for enabling a small-world network for professionals. The company claims that it is used by people from over 200 countries. Available interface languages include Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Swedish and Turkish. By displaying how each member is connected to any additional member, it visualises the small-world phenomenon.

The platform offers personal profiles, groups, discussion forums, event coordination, and additional common social community features. Basic membership is free. But a large number of core functions, like searching for people with specific qualifications or messaging people to whom one isn't already connected, can only be accessed by the premium members. Premium membership comes at a monthly fee from 6.35 to 9.95 € depending on the billing interval you choose and the country you're from. The platform uses https and has a rigid privacy and no-spam policy. XING provides its paying members quite easy email access to any members.

XING has a special Ambassador programme for each city or region around the world with a substantial constituency. The Ambassadors hold local events that promote the use of social networking as a business tool, letting members introduce business ideas to one another, and get to know each additional on a personal level.

XING competes with the American platform LinkedIn and the European Viadeo for social networking among businesses.

XING additionally offers the system for closed communities, called Enterprise groups with their own access paths and interface designs. The platform serves as the infrastructure for corporate groups, including IBM, McKinsey, Accenture and others.

About 76 percent of all pageviews come from Germany, ninety percent from the D-A-CH area, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

History

  • OPEN Business Club AG was founded in August 2003 in Hamburg, Germany as a German limited liability company by Lars Hinrichs. The platform was officially launched on 1 November 2003. It was renamed from OpenBC to XING on 17 November 2006.
  • It gained much attention in German media and is widely used as a business network in German-speaking countries (DACH Region). Membership from additional countries throughout Europe and the Far East helped the network platform grow to more than 1.5 million members in July 2006.

IPO

The company went public (IPO) on 7 December 2006 with an issue price of 30 Euros. The Open Business Club Stock Ticker symbol is O1BC.DE and its ISIN number is: DE000XNG8888. XING became the first Web 2.0 company to go public in Europe.

XING Mobile

Xing.com Mobile allows users to access a few of its functions using a mobile phone, PDA or smartphone. Standards supported: HTML 3.2, XHTML MP 1.0, WML 1.1.

XING plug-ins

Xing.com plugins are available for free download that allow contact synchronisation with Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook, Windows Address Book and Outlook Express. It additionally allows manual CSV File import–export and has a Firefox search plug-in.

Criticism

The company's official demeanour regarding name changes is problematic. If the circumstances leading to the change aren't one of the most common, additional proof is demanded. These unusual cases are easily spotted by Xing, due to dedicated fields for data entry being present in case of marriage (maiden name) and academic titles. In case of transsexuals however, given names and gender won't be changed, unless medical expert evidence or court documents are provided, which offer proof of an assured medical diagnosis or file reference to a court ruling in regard to a name change case, respectively. This behaviour is a deep invasion of privacy, because the demanded documents are highly personal, typically detailing the most intimate spheres of life, behaviour and thought. If the changes are carried out, birth names are removed, which is legally required, because any disclosure or investigation would be illegal under the purview of German law, as per Sec. 5 para. 1 and Sec. 10 para. 2 Transsexual Act.