Contactually, an early review of this contact manager

I'm on a 30 day trial of Contactually, a contact manager that seems to handle one important function only: reminding you to follow up periodically with people who are important to you.

On the plus side, it does a good job of importing data from my Google account and from a handful of social media sites, and by doing so the amount of manual labor needed to do something with it is kept to a minimum. New contacts are created by it watching your inbox.

On the minus side, its sense of creating reminders depends on creating "buckets" of similar contacts to be reminded on a similar schedule, and the process of putting a living, breathing, complex human being into exactly one bucket is difficult if not impossible to do completely. They try to make a game of it, which at least lets you speed through decisions, but it's still a difficult task.

Once you have someone in a "bucket" it pulls a few of them out of that bucket every so often and reminds you to follow up with them. You can mark someone as followed up via email or through some other method, so it will keep track of phone calls or in-person meetings or whatever if you need to.

When I used to use ACT!, once upon a long time ago, I was better at following up with people because I kept track of when I last contacted people. I'm always surprised that native contact managers don't have a field that they keep updated for "last contacted" that can easily be sorted and will automatically be populated from other things that the system knows. ACT! never made it into my Internet world successfully, but I still remember its ideas. 

Contactually is interesting, in the way that every single new contact manager is interesting. The price point is $0/mo (for a cut-down version), $20/mo (for what I have now), and $99/mo/user (for an enterprise version that I have no interest in). At $20/mo I had better be able to point to $1000/mo in new value coming from this, and based on the experience to date, I can't say yet that it's worthwhile to me at that price point. But I like the idea – hey, let your computer unearth some long-lost friends to remind you to chat with from time to time! I'm just not sure that I couldn't get the same results by taking my contact list, putting it in a file, and then generating a random line in the file to inspire me.

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2 thoughts on “Contactually, an early review of this contact manager

  1. Zvi Band

    Hi Edward!
    I’m Zvi, co-founder & CEO of Contactually. I’m so glad you’ve started using Contactually, and get the value proposition.
    A few things in response to your article, which may help you:
    * We agree that it can sometimes be a tough decision choosing which one bucket a contact belongs in to. Users are recommended to pick the bucket that matters most to them professionally (e.g. if a contact is a friend and a client, you would care more about Contactually treating them as a client). However, in the coming weeks, you’ll be able to put a contact in more than one bucket.
    * Even if you don’t put a contact in a bucket, you can still have Contactually look at your e-mail contacts and identify relationships that have been decaying recently, and recommend you re-engage them.
    * The every-so-often functionality is actually pretty intelligent, and automatically looks at your e-mail conversations. Instead of it being about “ping me to reach out to this person every X days,” we approach it as “ping me if I haven’t spoken to this person in X days”
    * We’ve seen Contactually deliver a lot more value that a few Starbucks a month :-). Take a look at our case studies for a lil bit more information: http://www.contactually.com/case-studies
    Happy to help any way we can – our 800 number is on our site, and we are pretty responsive on @contactually
    -Zvi

    Reply

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