Zapproved, the web application that uses email to simplify group decision-making, is officially launching today. That means it’s taking the beta testing tag off its product and rolling out its plans to make money.
The Portland, Ore. company lets you send proposals via email that prompt respondents to vote “yes” or “no” (rather than just responding ambiguously). It also provides you with a mechanism to track the votes on the Zapproved sites, and to remind people to weigh-in. Sure, you could accomplish the same thing via email, but it’s easier to manage with Zapproved, at least when there are many team members involved or when you need to track a number of decisions.
I have to admit, when chief executive Monica Enand first explained the concept to me back in August, I was a little skeptical, but I warmed to the idea — especially as I saw how simple it is to use Zapproved, and as my Zapproved-less email inbox became more and more overwhelming.
Enand says 1,500 users signed up during the public testing period, including a class of “power users” who don’t bother with Zapproved emails at all. Instead, they just sign up and use the management system on teh Zapproved site as the hub of every decision they need to make. At the other end of the spectrum, I also like the fact that people don’t have to be Zapproved members in order to vote, so it’s useful even if your whole office hasn’t switched over.
Now Zapproved is ready to start charging. There’s still a free version, but it limits how many proposals you can send and how long your records are stored. If you want to keep voting records for more than six months, or if you want to use a version of Zapproved branded with your company’s logo, you’ll have to pay. The startup is also working on versions that target specific industries — the underlying system would be similar, but the look and vocabulary of those versions would change, starting with a version for the legal industry that Enand hopes to launch in January.
Zapproved recently launched a mobile site that is compatible with the iPhone and BlackBerry. There are plans to create a standalone iPhone application, as well as a toolbar to integrate the product with Microsoft’s email application, Outlook.
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