Designer Tim Van Damme was one of the first to code the original business card themed web page, and since there have been countless copies of his work, but also lots of innovation.
A number of companies have launched businesses of the back of the idea, some of the best we’ve listed below.
F**k it, we'll do it live!
Our biggest ever edition of TNW Conference is fast approaching! Join 10,000 tech leaders this May in Amsterdam.
But which one is the best of the best? That is the question that we will attempt to answer today.
Possibly the most well known and widely used online business card service. Card.ly offers many great features, one of the best is in its simplicity, everything is laid out in steps and it’s very simple and fun to use. Card.ly also has the most themes out there, thirty eight and counting; Card.ly can surely fill everyone’s personal tastes. Features like more themes (not all of the 38 are free) and a custom domain can be activated when purchasing a premium subscription at $24.99 a year, which is well worth it if you consider hosting and storage fees.
Magnetize has a wonderful UI for building your website, and helps you every step of the way, everything is on one page with tabs that switch seamlessly, setting up your site takes just minutes which is a big plus.
One of the things that sets Magnetize apart from a lot of other business card creation startups is their themes, there is no other word to describe them except gorgeous. They also offer a pro account, but it is a little steeper in price but does include a few other features like a custom domain, custom email forwarding for your domain, premium themes to just name a few. All of this is for $9 a month which is a little high, but reasonable for the slickness of their themes.
Dooid probably is the least appealing option for people wanting a free account, the free account is very limited (only one free customizable theme and a few add ons) and has basically the least options for customizations out of the above two startups. If you are a pro user, which costs $2.99 a month if you are a yearly subscriber and $3.99 a month if you are a monthly subscriber, you have many more options in terms of themes (5 more) and access to more of their very cool and original add ons.
Dooid is the only one out of the three business card options that has an iPhone app, which is included in the pro subscription, this iPhone app can be used to update your information on the go and allows you to easily send your Dooid site and contact info via email.
Chi.mp is a particularly unique online business card option. They have a deal with the Northern Marina Islands (who owns the .mp domain) and as long as you’re using the Chi.mp service, the yourname.mp domain is free of charge. Creating your site is very simple after you register your domain, you add all of your services (twitter, flicker etc…) and off you go. On your now personalized website, there’s an activity stream where people can see your most recent posts or statuses on different social sites.
They offer a pro subscription at $20 a year, and it includes email forwarding, domain forwarding and Google apps. The themes are more like backgrounds, offering a variety of different pictures or solid color backgrounds as the backdrop for your website. Chi.mp is a great option for folks wanting their own domain name, and a very original online business card page.
E, or My Name is E, is sort of like the Bump iPhone app of the online business card world, your online business card profile is a very simple page consisting of just necessary information and your online profiles. The real interesting part of E is in the way that people exchange contact info, both parties need to have an E account and new contacts can either be added via iPhone app or other mobile device.
After adding a new contact, E automatically friends you to the other persons social profiles and gets the whole show moving setting you up for future contact. If any of your E contacts changes their details (a new twitter account, facebook profile etc.) your address book will be updated automatically. In terms of themes, E is not really your best bet for expressing your personal style, it does give you an option to customize your background but that’s about it – so if you can’t live without themes and customization, then you probably can live without E.
OnePage is your barebones online business card profile, it is basically a compiled version of your Linkedin page. OnePage even offers the option to link your Linkedin account to your OnePage profile and using the information on your Linkedin account it will fill in all of the information on your new card.
Again, if your into themes, OnePage is not the best choice, every page has an identical solid dark blue background and there are no option to change it. Maybe in the future if OnePage releases a few more customization options it may appeal to a wider audience. Otherwise OnePage is a dead simple and easy way to showcase your online business card information online.
Retaggr is not so much an online business card but more of a showcase of all your contact information, social profiles and other accounts. Retaggr is the all in one tool to help others connect and contact you, with their unique AddMe feature, it’s a synch to add your profiles and let your friend’s friend you on a multitude of social networks and services. Retaggr is also all about allowing you to share your social profile with everyone using their customizable profile widgets, share it on your website or wherever else you like (I am a big fan of inserting into your email signature). The very functional profile page shows feeds from all your recent activity from social networks like Twitter, and RSS feeds from your blog or other status updates.
Retaggr has a premium subscription at $9 a year (free for first 2 months) which allows you to use a custom domain and gives you access to premium themes and much more. One very interesting feature that really sets Retaggr apart from others rests in their widgets for social profiles. They give you the ability to add custom widgets apart from the usual AIM, Digsby or Facebook ones, all you need to do is name the widget and insert the HTML code and it will show up seamlessly on your profile. Retaggr combines your online life and your business life all into one place, and does a heck of a good job doing it.
These startups have been very innovative in the online business card space, and taken the social profile concept and transformed it into something that can be monetised. Who you decide to go with is down to what you’re after. My personal favorite, purely for its aesthetics, Magntize.