LinkedIn, the business-oriented networking site that has received criticism for restricting its members contact numbers, could have ignored the ‘ad network’ craze according to an iMEDIA Connection report.

But to do so would have apparently ‘stymied’ demands from advertisers, who are increasingly looking to the social network as a platform that can give them real reach for an audience of affluent professionals willing to extend their contact associations.

Despite boasting 27 million active users and alternative revenue streams, LinkedIn has now decided to extend its reach, cutting a deal with Collective Media, an ad network that targets high-end media sites.

Advertisers will be able to buy impressions from LinkedIn that can be used on the social network or across Collective Media’s own sites.

But the deal won’t work in reverse, meaning that Collective won’t have the ability to sell LinkedIn’s catalogue.

LinkedIn’s director of advertising sales, Steve Patrizi, says “The LinkedIn Audience Network offers advertisers one of the most accurate audience data sets available on the web along with the confidence of knowing that their brands will only appear on sites with high editorial standards.”

Since LinkedIn’s users are generally professionals in a number of fields and industries (closer to corporate base than social networking giants MySpace or Facebook) the data that the network has access to would not only be considered wholly reliable, but an immeasurable commodity to its advertisers.