In its investor day conference News Corp announced a new way for Wall Street Journal users to create their professional profiles, showcase it and connect and interact with other wsj readers. While not indicating directly that it is taking on LinkedIn, it is clear that this has the potential to pry away some users.
The profile page is neat looking and very similar to LinkedIn. It is not as sparse as facebook or Twitter and includes more details like experience, education, affiliations, etc like a resume which probably causes people to believe it is targeting LinkedIn.
The benefits to WSJ are pretty obvious. It targets serious professionals from senior level CEOS, CFOs to entry level professionals and may have access to their rich profiles and interests. A lot of these people are increasingly avoiding logging into LinkedIn frustrated by the spam on LinkedIn created by recruiters that can for a fee ping anyone even outside their network. A higher quality closed network where they might be targeted more 'quietly' may seem like a better option if they are at all interested in exploring options.
However it is also an uphill battle as most serious professionals already wield facebook and twitter accounts that they use to broadcast their opinions and interact with followers. Will readers care to create a rich professional profile on a site they only visit to read the news? Will it 'give away' users with a rich detailed profile as someone in the 'market' which a lot of job seekers would rather not advertise. WSJ would need some really innovative tactics to get people to create profiles given the plethora of existing options. (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, AboutMe, Quora, OnContracting, etc.)