MOUNTAIN VIEW (AP) – The company behind the largest website for professional networking is going public.

LinkedIn hopes to sell at least $175 million of stock in a move that could open the IPO floodgates for other widely used online services that connect people with common interests.

The IPO papers filed Thursday by Mountain View-based LinkedIn Corp. puts the 8-year-old company on a path to make its stock market debut within the next four months.

LinkedIn’s filing could encourage other rapidly growing Internet services to finally test the public markets after amassing zealous followings among millions of users. The crop includes online coupon service Groupon, online game maker Zynga; online messaging service Twitter; and social networking phenomenon Facebook.

More than 90 million people have set up profiles on LinkedIn compared with more than 600 million on Facebook.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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