As some of you might now, I occasionally write about companies or products that you will like, do really cool things, or meet a need that I have. A problem I have had for a while is that through all the social networking and emails I’ve amassed a ridiculously sized contacts database in Gmail. The size isn’t the problem though, my problem is that I couldn’t possibly take the time to update all the contacts as people move between companies, cities, and phone numbers. Everyone knows that I think networking is important, and you can’t network too well if you don’t know someones updated contact information. Sure, they emailed you two months ago, but did you notice their email signature had new information? Did you remember to change their contact details? Of course not!
There is nothing more useless than having old contact details that are no longer valid.
About a month ago I found a website called WriteThat.name. They have a service that ‘plugs in’ to Gmail or MS Outlook and scans your emails for signature blocks and auto imports the contact details into your address book. They have a free service for Gmail, and also give you a one month free trial of their “Premium” service. I’ve been using the service, and I like it —
Here is what WriteThat.name DOESN’T do:
- It won’t spam, or send any emails, to your contacts unless you ask it to.
- It won’t create duplicate contacts.
- It doesn’t require a credit card to try, or to continue to use the free version.
- It doesn’t add contact information for people that don’t matter (newsletters, spam, etc)
So I mentioned that you can use the service for free (without a subscription), and I’m sure you are wondering what is the catch. Well, after your 1 month free trial of the premium service, it will only import/update details for 10 contacts per month. I think 10 is better than none! If you decide you really like the service then it is $35/year, but they offer a few ways to get their service for less money. For example, by sharing their website on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc) they will give you ‘credits’ toward free/discounted service. I shared the service on social media and was promptly offered a 25% discount on a yearly membership or 3 months of their premium service for free.
WriteThat.name has a great online website, but you’ll probably use it very infrequently. This is because once you get the service setup, it can be completely automatic. It will simply send you an email (daily, weekly, or monthly) telling you what contact details it has updated.
What if you don’t trust it to automatically change your contacts though?
This was my first reservation with the service, and they have an answer for it. You can tell the service to email you when you have contact updates, and you can review the changes and approve them manually. I chose to do this for the first few weeks, but I never had any instances of incorrect information so I turned on the full automation.
Microsoft Outlook with WriteThat.name.
I mentioned that the service will work for MS Outlook users, and they do offer a 30 day free trial — but there is no ‘free service’ version for MS Outlook. This is probably because you use a downloaded plugin for MS Outlook. I haven’t used the Outlook service, but I’m sure it works similarly to the Gmail version. It is $48/year, which is $1/month more than the Gmail version. I could definitely see this service being useful to in-house landmen who keep large address books in Outlook for business contacts.
Try it Out!
I like the service, and I think you will too. So if you use MS Outlook, and especially if you use Gmail — give the service a try. It won’t cost you anything, and you might actually have the right phone number next time you want to call someone.