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Summary:

I’ve been looking for a viable alternative to the archaic business cards for some time. CardCloud wants to replace business cards with a digital service: contact details are stored in a web app and can then be sent to other people using a mobile app.

Screen shot 2011-04-20 at 14.57.38

With our smartphones, laptops, tablets and the Internet, swapping contact details on bits of printed paper seems pretty archaic. It’s also inefficient. Getting the data from the cards into whatever email, contacts or CRM app you use is a pain, and once you do, the card itself will likely be thrown away. That’s why CardCloud wants to replace the business card. Contact details are stored in a web app and can then be sent to other people using an iOS app or a mobile-optimized web app.

One major problem with many contact exchange apps — Bump, for example — is that the apps are not universal. They work well if the person you want to exchange contact details with also has the same app, but if she doesn’t, you’ll still need to have some business cards handy. Like Bump, CardCloud allows you to beam contact details directly to other CardCloud users, but it also allows you to simply send your card to an email address. That way, even if you’re the only person with CardCloud on your phone, you’ll still be able to share your contact details with anyone. You can leave your business cards at home.

Getting signed up to CardCloud is pretty straightforward: pick a username and password, then go ahead and create your card. You can add all of the usual things you’d find on a business card: name, address, URL, email address, phone numbers. You can also add a logo and photo, and links to a huge variety of social network accounts.

Once you’ve created your card (or cards, as CardCloud allows you to store more than one in your account), sharing it is simple a matter of opening up the iPhone app, and tapping either “Share a Card” to share your details with another CardCloud user or “Email a Card” to email the information. CardCloud is currently only available for iOS devices as a native app; users of others mobile devices can use a mobile-optimized website at m.cardcloud.com to email their cards, but don’t have the “Share a Card” option. Native support for other platforms is in the works.

Sending a CardCloud business card via email works really well; the recipient gets a nicely formatted email with the card in it, plus a map showing where you were when you met; handy for jogging one’s memory. The contact details from the card are also attached to the email as a vCard file:

Unfortunately, I haven’t come across any other CardCloud users so far, so I haven’t been able to try out the much more useful “Share a Card” option for exchanging contact details, which also allows you to automatically add someone’s contact details to your iPhone’s address book. Until I do run into some other CardCloud users, the app basically just provides a streamlined way to send a template email with my contact details on, but at least with it installed on my phone I know that I’ll never need to worry about forgetting to bring my business cards to a meeting again.

Of course, some will argue smartphone users can already send their contact details via email or SMS, provided they’ve created entries in their contact lists with their own information, but for those who like the ease of a native app instead of scrolling through contacts, CardCloud is a simple solution.

CardCloud is currently a free service; presumably some paid options, such as customized card designs or integration with other services, will be added in the future.

  1. Simon, based on the emailable/app-agnostic hook this really is closer to useful than anything that’s come before. Let me point out one thing, though:

    My New Year’s Resolution for 2011 (and I never make those) was that I stopped carrying business cards, for exactly the reason you mention; it’s archaic, and can actually have the effect of turning off certain people. HOWEVER: please remember that this is an American convention: people doing business outside the US, especially in Asia, need to have business cards, Still.

    Thanks for the heads-up.

    Jeff Yablon
    President & CEO
    Answer Guy and Virtual VIP Computer Support, Business Change Coaching and SEO Consulting/Search Engine Optimization Services

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  2. The only problem with this service, and I’ve left a comment on their getsatisfaction page to allow for customization, is that the attached vcf file has the address field arranged differently than what we’re used to (“street number” instead of “number street.”

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