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Dropcard: business cards 2.0?

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DropcardLast night after the Mobilize conference, I had a great time meeting attendees from all over. Andy Abramson was one of those and we spent a good fifteen minutes talking mobile tech. Andy lives such a mobile lifestyle that it was awesome to discuss new tools he’s using. When he asked me if I had heard of Dropcard, I had to say no; it hadn’t hit my radar yet. Turns out it was such a timely service to discuss because I had collected and handed out hundreds of business cards, which I’m just not a fan off. You get all these cards and have to use a tool or *gasp* manually enter all of your new contacts. What if you could avoid that all together?

Dropcard is a service that essentially eliminates the need for paper business cards between people that have text-message capable mobile phones. In other words: for basically everyone. ;) Here’s what happened last night. Instead of handing me a business card, or asking for mine, Andy asked me for my e-mail address. I gave him my work e-mail which he added to his BlackBerry.About a minute later, I received an e-mail on my iPhone from Andy, which contained all of his contact information: phone numbers, e-mail addresses, IM and VoIP information, his website and his social network pages. Andy then said to check the e-mail for an attachment and sure enough, all of this information was attached in a vCard. On my iPhone, I simply opened the .vcf attachment and clicked the Create New Contact button. Done!While it looked like magic to me, there’s clearly a technical solution implemented by Dropcard. Andy texted my e-mail address to 41411 to make it happen. All of his contact information is on file with the Dropcard service, so that’s how it knew what to send me. Looks pretty simple and there’s some nice shortcuts to make it even easier.Dropcard is really a one-way solution at first, i.e.; I received Andy’s contact information, but all he has is my e-mail address. However, in the e-mail sent to me by Dropcard, there’s a link for me to “Keep in touch with Andy” so I can create my own Dropcard account and send the rest of my info. All in all, it’s pretty slick and reminds me of the old “beaming” function back in the day: watching folks line up the infrared ports on their Palm Pilots so they could share contact information. The only difference here is that is uses more current technologies like text messaging, e-mail and web. All of your contacts are maintained on the Dropcard servers, so you have a backup of everything there and you can import your address book contents to your Dropcard account as well. I don’t see a way to export your contacts in one fell swoop, however.Dropcard offers three service plans and I just signed up for the lowest one. It’s free and I can live within the limitations of up to 15 contacts passed per month. The other two plans are $4.99 and $9.99 per month; they offer more contacts & profiles as well as statistics on your contacts. Thanks Andy; wish I had known about this before I passed out handfuls of my card!

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