February 04, 2016

Can't Beat 'Em, Buy 'Em: Linkedin Acquires Connectifier


               Meme by Kerri Mills, who shared it in the SourceCon Facebook group.               Meme by Kerri Mills, who shared it in the SourceCon Facebook group.

Much to the shock and disappointment of the recruiting and sourcing world, Linkedin has just announced today they have bought one of their competitors in the sourcing product category, Connectifier.

I'm not sure I know how to feel about this just yet, but my first reaction is sadness because this could mean we're saying goodbye to a great tool. Connectifier is probably the best open web sourcing tool out there. They and Entelo are really leading the pack when it comes to sourcing aggregation and Connectifier is by far the farthest along when it comes to sourcing data. Their database is truly spectacular. Rarely when I used that tool did I not get at least an email address and many times a full digital foot print.

Their data matching algorithms utilizing machine learning far surpass their competitors, and I'm not surprised, because it was founded by two ex-Googlers. It will be a shame if Linkedin just kills it off but I'm sure, regardless they'll find good use in that matching algorithm...and that talented engineering team that built it.

Linkedin is known for buying up great recruiting tech for the purpose of eliminating a threat, sometimes with an added bonus of grabbing great talent and incorporating a specific technology into their product suite. They did this just last March when they bought one of my favorite employee referral startups, Careerify, and now recently announced their own referral product.

Do you remember Bright.com? The smart AI technology that matched candidate resume information to job descriptions? I remember testing out their predictive technology while it was in beta when I was at SuccessFactors. It ranked candidates that applied to a job by the likeliness of being selected. When I tested it on jobs we already filled, on 75% of them it correctly predicted the candidate we hired. The other 25%? Those were candidates that applied after a final candidate was selected but likely would have been a better match. It was awesome. I wanted to integrate that into my ATS. But nope. Linkedin bought it for $120 million.

It's not a bad strategy, honestly, but it does make me a little sad when we lose great tools like this. For many years Connectifier has been largely a free tool for recruiters. For companies, it's been much more effective for sourcing technical talent than Linkedin Recruiter and at sometimes less than half the costs.

Also, the great thing about Connectifier was how open they were to integrate with other technologies like CRM and ATS so you could source many places like Github, Facebook, StackOverflow and others then import right into your own internal database. I don't expect LinkedIn to continue that as its directly in conflict with their long standing business strategy of keeping a pretty closed platform to keep recruiters dependent on their network. 

Do you think this is the beginning of the end for the Connectifier tool? Will LinkedIn use the technology to make the LinkedIn sourcing tools more effective for tech sourcing? Are you as sad as I am? Tell us in the comments below!

PS. Regardless of what happens, congrats to the Connectifier team! As a long-time customer I'm happy to see your success, but I'm going to miss you.

Read more about this in the blog by Connectifier's CEO announcing the acquisition also on VentureBeat, SourceCon. Or, you know, Google it.


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