It’s nearly impossible for a business to learn everything about its clients in a quick contact exchange. They may get an email address or phone number during a service sign up, but users obviously have more to offer than just that, including multiple phone numbers and email addresses, not to mention social network profiles. FullContact, founded by Bart Lorang, Travis Todd, and Dan Lynn in 2010, is offering a resolution to this problem.
When integrated by developers, FullContact is cleaning up contacts and adding to them in an astounding way, even if it makes us question privacy. They use a three-step process to get companies the information they’re looking for about their customers. First, the company sends FullContact a contact record, in either json, XML, or vCard format. Next, the service take the information given and cleans it up, figuring out, for example, whether the phone number given is a home, work, or cell phone number. It also adds other pieces of information found from that initial contact, like alternate email addresses, Facebook user names, Twitter handles, and other social media outlets that the person is using. When possible, FullContact also adds an image to the data assembled, living up to its name and making it a full contact. To wrap things up, they send the information back to the company in the same format that it was sent to them. FullContact plans to add a new feature soon where it sends out push notifications to its users whenever a contact changes his or her information.
This is all helpful to businesses that are trying to find out more about their customers, but it seems a little creepy to get all of this information about people without knowledge that it’s happening. FullContact states on their website that they believe privacy is very important, though, and they offer a ‘Claim Your Contact’ page where people can restrict what information is being used. FullContact has also noted that they never give out the contact information that they use to ad agencies, so customers of the companies using FullContact will never be spammed with unwanted ads.
There may be backlash from people that are constantly in fear of their privacy being compromised, but FullContact’s technology is impressive. FullContact could have a potentially rich future market in anyone that wants to find out more about the contacts in their cellphone, but for now FullContact’s target audience is developers wanting to find out more about their clients. As new social networks spring up and people find new ways to express themselves on the web, their contact information will only become more valuable. FullContact will be there to keep companies in the loop.