New Entrant in E-Business Card Space

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ECode.com, the self-proclaimed Internet user identity company, has secured its first corporate client in RealChip.com to use its electronic business card technology.


ECode is not the first company to launch a graphical version of a business card that can be e-mailed in place of an electronic signature. SuperSig.com launched last November and will debut new partnerships this month.


ECode's product, the Web Card, looks like an on-screen version of a business card. However, it has a number of interactive features. Perhaps the most compelling is the recipient's ability to add the sender's information to his electronic address book. Once this happens, anytime the sender makes a change to his Web Card, the information in the recipient's address book changes automatically.


"We take a physical, paper business card and create the exact same electronic version. At the bottom of every e-mail you can have your own company's business card," said Rohit Chandra, CEO of eCode.com, Santa Clara, CA. "No amount of ad dollars can get the amount of branding that your Web Card can get you. You already have a targeted audience already interested in the e-mail."


Other features on the card include a map that recipients can click on if they plan on visiting the sender's office; a weather icon for the local weather; and a downloadable "iBar."


An iBar is a branded toolbar that sits at the bottom of the user's browser. The toolbar offers links to popular shopping and information sites as well as the client company's site. MP3.com is planning to offer the eCode iBar.


ECode's stiffest competition likely will come from SuperSig.com, which launched a similar product last year. It is a box located at the bottom of the e-mail that can be customized to include a number of different graphics and interactive functions.


SuperSig is partnering with eFusion.com, a provider of market-ready Internet voice services. The partnership will allow the company to offer a "push to talk" button that allows recipients to talk to the sender or a customer service representative.


SuperSig welcomes the new competition. "We're excited to hear there's somebody else out there doing it. It validates the space," said Laurence Roth, chief operating officer at SuperSig, Venice Beach, CA. "Eyes are opening to the power of person-to-person HTML e-mail."


Using SuperSig, a company can manage what content goes into each of its employees' e-mails. "We make it easy for corporations to manage HTML applications and dynamic content in employees' e-mails," said Roth. "You can change the look and feel of the content. If you have a new announcement or partnership you want to brag about or you want to add a stock ticker, you can easily put that into 2,000 e-mails from one centralized place."


One of the product's unique features is its "presence indicator." If the sender is still online, the recipient will be alerted and will be able to send an instant message to speak with the sender in real time. "We're building applications focused on greater mind share of customers...to stay in their face better," said Roth.
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