The business card is the single most successful networking tool of all time, predating cellphones, the internet, and PDAs by some 300 years. Not bad for a bit of paper.
In a market worth in the region of $3b a year, this simple product has seen little change since it first appeared around the 18th Century. Used primarily for business, but often in social settings as a calling or visiting card, the business card has largely remained the preserve of the business person.
But business cards are boring.
In an ambitious reinvention, that will address both form and function, MOO will take the business card back to its roots as a sophisticated social tool for non-business use and will introduce a new, advanced generation of calling card for the networked, mobile and social young communities of today. If you’re reading this, thats you.
Moo is an online printing business that is geared to take advantage of the photo sharing site, Flickr, to produce innovative and downright funky calling or business cards called MiniCards. For those not yet familiar with Flickr, it is a website that enables users to upload and tag their photographs and make them available for viewing online. Users can restrict who can view which photos and can apply tags to the photos to help other users find them. Photos can be arranged into photo sets and the only restrictions imposed on photos uploaded are mainly bandwidth related. There is a free option and a paid, Pro, option.
Moo links in with Flickr and enables you to print calling cards using images in your Flickr libraries. Moo is running a promotion at the moment for Pro users of the Flickr service whereby these users may have 10 cards printed. I am a Pro Flickr user and took advantage of this offer. The process of creating the cards is pretty user friendly and I selected 10 images from my photo sets, added some of my details to the back of the card and placed the order. I was soon notified that my order had been received and would be dispatched shortly.
This service is a fairly exciting alternative to conventional business cards and also potentially creates a market for social calling cards. Consider how often you find yourself searching for a pen and paper to write down your number for someone and then consider whether having pre-printed cards with a photo on one side and your details on the reverse might come in handy.
You cant touch it, write on it, or put it on the mantle, you cant hang it on the wall or pass it to the cute guy on the bus, you certainly cant give it to your mom for her birthday.
What makes Moo exciting, besides its product, is that it ties in with Flickr to create a new use for an already popular and widely used service and it uses a Flickr interface to achieve that. I am interested in whether this will take off as a trend and who will take advantage of the service. 100 cards cost $19.99 and could be in your hands within 10 working days.