LinkedIn has launched its new OpenSocial-based application platform called InApps – an answer to the platforms found on social networks like Facebook and MySpace, but without the clutter and “junk” apps that plague those sites. Unlike most other social networks, LinkedIn apps must go through an approval process before they will go live on the store, and all apps must be deemed “professional” in purpose to appear on the business-oriented social network. To prevent an overwhelming amount of clutter, users will be restricted to including a maximum of 15 applications on their main profile pages, though they will eventually have the option to install more apps on a separate page.
Beyond the quality assurance process, LinkedIn is also limiting the flexibility apps will have when it comes to monetization. Apps won’t be allowed to use third party ad networks – instead, they’ll have to work with LinkedIn’s ad system. For now applications will only have access to LinkedIn’s current ad inventory, which could make targeting ads less effective (though it sounds like there will be more options for targeted ads in the future). Apps will still be allowed to charge users for individual goods, and can also implement a paid subscription service (launch partner Box.net is using this model).
At launch available applications include a trip application from TripIt, presentations from SlideShare and Google Presentations, blog feeds from WordPress and Six Apart, file storage and collaboration from Box.net, online workspaces from Huddle, and a Reading List app from Amazon that will allow users to share the books they are reading. LinkedIn is also offering a few homebrewed apps, including a tracking application that monitors for a company’s mentions on Twitter and a Poll app. You can see demonstrations of each application available in the videos below: