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Business cards, the L.A. Times, recently reported, are rapidly going out of fashion. But as paper rectangles become passé (and people communicate in more ways, moving more often between gigs), the question of how best to share, store and update contact details becomes more complicated. How do I get everything from my office address to my Twitter handle into your Outlook address book, gmail contacts or BlackBerry?
Various apps like Bump and CardMunch are available for certain platforms, but for many the answer is still cutting and pasting information out of email signatures into various digital address books and updating it manually when friends or colleagues send out the, ‘hey, I got a new number!’ email. ContactMonkey aims to offer a better way.
The Toronto, Canada-based company was started by Scott Pielsticker last year after he returned from a trade show with hundreds of business cards and faced the time consuming task of updating his address book. His solution was ContactMonkey, a sort of cloud-based online business card (here’s Pielsticker’s as an example) you complete with your details and then share with contacts as a URL or QR code. Associates can then easily download all your details to any of 19 kinds of address book with the option to receive a notification whenever your details are updated.
The service is free to individuals, while companies are charged $3 per user per month for “white label” ContactMonkey pages, which feature a firm’s branding. Users can also receive notifications detailing exactly who has downloaded their details, a feature that seems likely to appeal to anyone interested in lead generation. So far 10,000 people are using the service, with particular interest from sales-focused professional services firms like lawyers and real estate agents. The company also just received $800,000 in seed funding from Plazacorp Ventures and angel investors, which it intends to use to ramp up its sales operation.
“The basic idea is very, very simple,” says Pielsticker, boiling down his product to its essence. “Most business people have an email signature and the premise behind that is we want people to be able to communicate with us. ContactMonkey makes it easy for them to actually grab those details. I don’t care if you’re using Outlook, a Blackberry or an iPhone. I want you to have my details irrespective of what device you’re using.”
While many digital natives may be content to search their email for a contact’s details and experience no difficulty keeping in touch with their networks, ContactMonkey seems like a painless, platform-agnostic solution for those who are frustrated by incomplete and out-of-date address books. If that’s you or your clients, check out the service.
Are you frustrated with keeping your address book up to date or are you pretty content an ad hoc system?
Image courtesy of ContactMonkey.