Well, I had a chance to explore Xing some more and while the prima facie evidence looked promising, I have to say I was not super wowed by it. The site is clean and fairly easy to navigate once you get going. It has all the requisite information points that you would expect although I found it more rolodexishly utilitarian. One reader commented on the difficulty of blog hosting on there. Aside from posting a blog link, there was no ability (that I could easily find in the freebie version) to do an RSS feed of your blog. If you are a job seeker who blogs on your specific subject matter expertise, I would find this irritating. Overall, it’s a big neutral for me. If you have the time to set up and research who is on there with the freebie edition, go for it. Otherwise I wouldn’t invest too much time. The other thing is it seems to me that it is more of an international site than US Centric as LI is. That may be where it’s membership base may be strongest if you are looking to network outside the USA for a career.
Here’s the hard numbers I would rate it at:
Value of “free feature” vs. having to pay for account upgrades: 2
Ease of setting up a an account: 4
Ease of Navigation/accuracy of searches: 3
Depth of contacts: 2
Value Groups feature on site: 1 (for US based folks looking for jobs in US)
Spam factor (do you get a lot of spam from company to upgrade, etc.): 3
Overall Job Seeker value: 2.5
OK, on to the next topic: Tom Blue, CEO of Lead 411 wrote me suggesting ZoomInfo. By the way Lead411 is a nice little application for lead generation and marketing management. ZoomInfo was actually one of those ones on the cusp of my sites to see. It is a site for businesses to find key management personnel and company information, pressers, etc. all in one central repository, used primarily by head hunting recruiters and sales people for lead generation. I pretty much use the free version as my baseline reviewing criteria and was amazed how many times ZI could not even find the company I was searching for when I pretty much gave it almost everything in the search fields. I also found that it confused company information many times. Personnel with the same name would be associated with companies they did not work for but had an employee of that name. Links to web articles for the wrong person of the same name too. For this reason I decided it may be a little frustrating for job seekers, but once and a while you do uncover some useful nuggets there.
So there you go. Let me know if you have had similar experience or you disagree with my observations, love to hear the feedback.