Back in October, blogger Allen Stern of CenterNetworks launched CloudContacts with a nice, simple idea: Take all the business cards you have and put them on the web. It’s an idea that’s undoubtedly useful for a lot of people but that previously required that users send all their cards to CloudContacts to be scanned and uploaded. Today the service is announcing an easier way to get your cards in the system: Just take pictures of them on your camera phone and email them in.
While this service requires no software or anything special on your end, it does require that you pay a fee, which currently starts at $4.95 a month for 20 cards and $8.95 for 40 cards. CloudContacts regular packages cost $29.95 to upload up to 100 business cards, $79.95 for up to 300 cards and $124.95 for up to 500 cards.
As the site notes on its main page, a card scanner can cost hundreds of dollars and requires your time. Some scanners like CardScan do offer online backup, but still require that you scan the cards yourself. CloudContacts’ method just requires an email (or snail mail), and all your cards are placed on the web for you to view from anywhere. You can also use the system to download your contacts to other services like an email application or find connections on a social network like Facebook or LinkedIn.
There’s also another advantage over using a card scanner, “unlike the OCR [Optical Character Recognition] solutions, our data will always be correct,” says Stern. I asked him to elaborate a bit on the process, wondering if the data was all entered by hand, but he declined to answer for now, stating that the company is still optimizing the process. He did note that the company is close to being able to discuss the method.
This new email option is especially nice for those not based in New York. While those in Manhattan have the option of someone from the service picking up the business cards in person for free, everyone else previously had to send them via snail mail — something that could be a somewhat expensive proposition for users overseas.
Stern funded CloudContacts himself and says that it’s already profitable.