LinkedIn endorsements is to small business owners what the Facebook 'Like' button was to consumer brands: influential exposure.
For years, LinkedIn has offered recommendations as a way to get support from fellow professionals and businesses. If you received recommendations from other individuals, you garnered credibility, and were more likely to show up in searches.
But now, LinkedIn's endorsements are much easier to get. It takes someone seconds to vouch for one or more of your particular skills, versus the 10 minutes to 15 minutes a recommendation might take. In today's time-starved world, this is a critical difference. LinkedIn hasn't released numbers yet, but if you look at several profiles, it's clear that in just a few weeks, many users have generated way more endorsements than five years worth of recommendations....
[Worth noting for potential social media strategies ~ Jeff]