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LinkedIn IPO: Plenty riding on it

The Wall Street debut of the website dubbed the "Facebook for business" -- business social networking site LinkedIn -- was being closely watched Thursday.

LinkedIn hoped to raise $4 billion through its initial public offering (IPO) of shares prices at $45 each for starters.

Other high-profile sites were expected to follow suit, raising concerns about another high-tech stock bubble.

CBS news Business and Economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis says LnkedIn's IPO was generating lots of buzz because it's the first U.S. social media company to go public. If things were to go well, it would be a positive signal for other hotly-anticipated IPOs, such as those of Facebook, Twitter, and Groupon. On "The Early Show" Thursday, Jarvis called the offering "a litmus test for how the others" might do.

LinkedIn is primarily used by business professionals and job-seekers, and has 100 million members worldwide. It makes most its money from companies that pay to use the site to recruit and to list themselves, as opposed to advertising - the main revenue source of the likes of Facebook.

Jarvis remarked to co-anchor Chris Wragge, "There's always going to be potential for a bubble in anything there's over-excitement over."

But, she added, there are some key differences now from the time of the dotcom bubble burst -- a "different landscape":

Internet use is far different and more widespread. A dozen years ago, ultra-fast broadband connections were rare; today, they're everywhere. About 2 billion people are online, and many of them are in huge new wired markets such as China.

Also, last time, many of the tech companies weren't actually making any money -- all the excitement was around the boatloads of money they hoped to make some day. In the end, many didn't. Today, web stars such as Face book, Groupon, and Zynga, a social-gaming company, have solid sales and already make respectable profits.

Still, Jarvis cautions, never throw caution to the wind. Remember: Anything that's really hot, can go to being NOT hot in a heartbeat, and as much excitement as there is on the upside, there's even more pain on the downside. Don't rely on your neighbor or friend telling you anything is a sure thing.