Card.ly is a site that allows users to create their own online business card, with all of their social networking information available in one convenient place. The user’s online card has its own URL, which the user can give to their friends, family and business associates. They can then easily locate all of the user’s different contact information at that URL. The URL is in the form of Card.ly/username, so it is fairly easy to remember. User’s can choose a from a number of different skins for their online card, and can upload an avatar to be displayed on the card. Advertising is displayed on the user’s card if they have a free account – a premium membership removes the advertising.
Setting up a card at Card.ly is easy. After the user registers for the site, they are prompted to enter the URLs for their profiles at the social networks they belong to. Next, the user is prompted for personal details, which can individually be made public or private. Next the user chooses a skin for their online card. More skins are available with a premium membership. Then the user is prompted to share the URL of their card on Twitter with a comment. Next, a page is presented with various styles of buttons which can be embedded on the user’s websites and blogs to link to their online card.
Amherst, MA-based Card.ly was launched in July 2009 by co-founders Daniel Blake and Olivier Turbis. Card.ly was acquired by Workface Inc. in August 2010. Card.ly was integrated into BusinessCard2.com.
Competition to Card.ly comes from sites such as MeeID and UnHub. MeeID allows the user to have their own personal about page, on which they can enter up to 10 lines of information about themselves. This can include all of their contact information. The user’s about page has its own URL which can be shared with others. The UnHub site allows the user to create a Personal Profile Bar which, by adding a URL to any link the user shares, adds the bar at the top of the page being displayed. The Personal Profile Bar provides links to all the user’s different sites. Card.ly allows the user to display more information about themselves than MeeID, but is not quite as versatile as UnHub.
The Card.ly site has a very clean and uncluttered look and feel. The site is well organized and quite responsive. Once the user has set up their online card, they can edit it by logging in to the Card.ly site. Navigation of the site is intuitive, with a convenient home page containing links to edit the various sections of the user’s card. The user can change the design of their card at anytime by changing skins. There is no advertising displayed on the Card.ly site.
Registration to the Card.ly site is free and is required to create an online card. The registration process asks for username, password and email address. Validation of the email address is not required. A free account has some limitations – There are a limited number of skins available, a banner is displayed on the user’s card which reads “Powered by Card.ly”, advertising is displayed on the user’s card and the domain name is restricted to the form Card.ly/username.
A premium membership removes the banner and advertising from the user’s online card. In addition there are many more skins available and the card can be assigned to a custom domain. Also, users can view statistics about visits to their card and which sites referred the visitor. A premium membership costs $2.99 per month or $24.99 for an annual subscription. The site accepts PayPal as payment for premium memberships.
The Card.ly site is recommended to anyone who wants a convenient place to display all of their online information. The card allows users to have one location where anyone can go to find the user’s social networking pages, complete contact information, and any other information the user wishes to share.