About.me and Flavors.me: Online Calling Cards

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Updated. A couple of years ago, I created an account on Flavors.me, the first platform for creating a “personal splash page,” thinking it might be useful for web workers. I decided it was more useful for personal than professional purposes. But last month, when I was testing About.me, I started to see how splash pages could be used as online business cards, and I decided to compare the two services.

Cost

About.me is completely free, while Flavors.me has a free plan and a $20 per year version. Many of Flavors.me’s features are only available on the paid plan, including some that probably should be free but aren’t, like the font faces you can choose from.

Design Features

I found About.me slightly easier to make a good-looking page; the basic layout was more professional and better designed. Flavors.me, however, has four different page layouts available with its free plan, while About.me only has one. However, you can drag your main information box anywhere on the screen.

About.me offers users a variety of fonts, while Flavors.me makes you upgrade to get the more interesting ones.

Content Options

In About.me you can add links to any site (such as your own website), instead of being limited to popular networking services. Linking to your own site is a must if you want to use one of these splash pages as a business card. But as far as I can tell, the only way to add a link to your site from Flavors.me is to add it to your “About” section, where it can’t be styled to stand out from the rest of your description. However, Flavors.me offers linking to more services than About.me, and paid users can add custom content.

When you add a service in About.me, what’s displayed, whether you like it or not, is the icon of the platform and no other information. I think that this is a major problem. Besides wanting the clever name of your blog or your Twitter handle to be spelled out, I have found that many educated, professional people don’t have the slightest idea what any of those icons represent. So if you want to make a client-facing page, and your clients aren’t necessarily fluent in Web hieroglyphics, this is something to consider.

About.me also doesn’t allow more than one account on any of these services. I have three Twitter accounts and several blogs on the two platforms above. If you enter, for example, multiple Blogger blogs, the first one is assigned the Blogger icon, and any others are spelled out in the list, in the order entered. There’s no way, like in Flavors.me, to reorder your items through drag-and-drop.

In Flavors.me, I had some difficulties adding several WordPress blogs. It accepted one WP-hosted blog and one self-hosted WP blog, but for some reason, I couldn’t add another self-hosted WP blog, which happened to be my main blog. Not being able to add that defeats the whole purpose of having the page. Update: Flavors.me contacted me to let me know that the free plan allows up to five services to be added, which wasn’t clear in the documentation. It’s also possible to add a freestanding website using the RSS option under Content>Add.

External links operate differently in the two services. On Flavors.me, links open within the Flavors.me page. On About.me, if you click the icons, they open in a widget on the About.me page. But if you click links in the list, a new window opens.

Other Features

About.me offers a nice “Email Me” button and contact form. A similar feature is available on the paid version of Flavors.me.

You can use your own domain name with the paid version of Flavors.me, but not with About.me. About.me provides a dashboard with stats on visitors, social media reach, and more. Flavors.me makes you pay for stats.

Both platforms were obviously created to showcase individuals rather than to serve small businesses, and neither is perfect. AOL bought About.me just four days after it launched, while Flavors.me still operates independently. It will be interesting to see how both services evolve, and whether they will move to meet the needs of a professional audience.

Whether you run a one-person shop or a small business, either of these sites could turn out to have some practical use. I recommend trying them both. You may also want to consider such alternatives as Retaggr, GizaPage, and Chi.mp, which we’ve written about previously, or even the rudimentary splash pages now available with .tel domain names. I’d love to hear your take on them in the comments, especially if you’ve found creative ways to use them for business!

Do you use About.me or Flavors.me as an online calling card?

Disclosure: Automattic, the maker of WordPress.com, is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.

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