With over 500 million users, Facebook can provide a wealth of professional information. BranchOut, for example, is using Facebook to find jobs through your real friends as opposed to LinkedIn contacts. Startup Stik is launching as a way to find recommendations of service professionals through your Facebook friends.
The web service essentially connects you with professionals who are already friends of your friends on Facebook. So through Stik you can search for a mortgage broker through your friends of friends; Stik will show results of brokers connected to your friends by one degree. For example, I found 45 mortgage brokers connected to my social graph on Facebook.
You can then filter results by location, keyword and direct connections and you’ll be able to see any friends in common. If you find a professional that you’d like to connect with, you can send them a message, and recommend the individual. For now, Stik allows you to search for professionals in the mortgage, insurance, real estate, financial planning and legal fields.
Stik’s founders Jay Gierak and Nathan Labenz say that Stik is essentially replicated the act of asking a friend if they know a great lawyer, real estate agent etc. The benefit of finding a service professional through Facebook is two-fold—you can find trusted professional help through your friends and possibly access recommendations of the provider as well.
For now, Stik is free. The company plans to make money by including sponsored results from financial institutions, real estate professionals and more in searches. Another way the site could monetize is to charge companies through lead gen as well. And eventually Stik hopes to integrate LinkedIn as well.
Finding professionals through Facebook is certainly an interesting concept and has potential; the ability to “trust” professionals in your Facebook social graph will be subjective. Just because I’m friends with someone on Facebook, doesn’t mean that I would trust their recommendation or their friends. If I see that there is a real estate agent in my area that is connected through a friend; I would email our mutual connection to see if the agent is legitimate.