As legacy newspapers continue to seek out new ways to survive beyond their antiquated twentieth century business model, the Wall Street Journal has strapped on some big guns in an attempt to build a name in the Wild West terrain of Web 2.0. Leaked rumors indicate its jonesing for a mano-a-mano duel with LinkedIn in an attempt to attract some of that business network's 15 million monthly netizens.
While WSJ has achieved success as one of our leading channels of financial news, can it just stroll into the Social Media Saloon and gun down a professional network the likes of LinkedIn? If their previous launch of the "WSJ Community" is any indication of their gunsmanship, I fear this duel is nothing short of a suicide wish. According to Michael Arrington's report in Techcrunch, "that community (was) a ghost town -raise your hand if you've even heard of it, let alone visited it. At some point . they'll likely shut it down as quietly as possible."
The new network titled "WSJ Connect" is still in the planning/developmental stages, but WSJ has contracted with an outside posse to help position themselves as a formidable threat. However if the name of their hired-gun is any indication of their untested prowess in this arena, I think "Slingshot" might be a little lacking in causing a great amount of consternation with the LinkedIn brass.
DailyFillSlingshot Labs is the research and development arm of News Corp which owns MySpace, and was behind the roll-out of the DailyFill, a celebrity gossip blog earlier this year. Not known for capitalizing on the social media space, based on MySpace's dwindling popularity, it will be interesting to see if this 'stone-thrower' will be able to build WSJ's reputation as "LinkedIn Killer."
Since the Wall Street Journal has not released a screen-shot of what the WSJ Connect network will look like, and since they are specifically targeting LinkedIn as their business-model of choice, I thought I would take the liberty of designing a mock-up of the design format it might resemble...
Mock-up of WSJ Connect
See you in a couple of months for the launch...at high noon, at a dueling site, yet to be determined.