Hi Lawrence :-)
I visited your site, and have a couple of thoughts. First of all, I
really like the idea, and the business cards make a nice visual tour
type of thing. I can see where it`d become a useful location.
On the down side, I suspect the overall content is too large for many
monitors. That`s not so easy to solve, what with wanting the cards
themselves readable. But when I first arrived at the site, it just
seemed a bit like a comic book....very large, broad strokes, and
I chose Chicago, and quickly understood the concept. However; I can`t
seem to get back to the main map to choose another city. When I click
"Home," I arrive at the Chicago listing of business cards. (Oops...just
tried clicking the main logo, and that got me back to the map of the
I`d suggest having a tab that offers "National" or something, to make
it a bit more obvious how to get back to the whole database.
More importantly, I tried a search of the businesses, and was brought
to a sign-up screen. At that point, I lost interest. I don`t intend to
sign up for something just to see how it works, or whether it works at
When I looked MUCH more closely, and tried a different search, I
realized that my search for "moving company" hadn`t found a result.
That`s not good, since I was looking at a trucking company. I
re-entered "trucking," and found that business card.
So the problem here is partly that the "Get me" is a bit cute, and
should be "Search", and secondly, that if no results are found, the
screen should highlight easily that there aren`t any results. Of course
there *should have been* results, associated with "Trucking," so that`s
a search failure.
Even worse, my "assumption" was that I could click a business card and
1) see it larger, 2) go to the underlying text version of the card so I
can copy and paste information, or 3) have an option to go the
company`s Web site. None of that happened, and it degrades the site`s
functionality, in my opinion.
Setting aside the potential for making money from the site, the way
things work in general are that they`re useful in some way. If I can go
to your site, see the cards, do a search, and that search is
comprehensive!...then I`ll consider signing up.
When I say comprehensive, I saw a card for a trucking company, for
example. My intent was to search for "moving company." For that
trucking company to be found, one of the text fields would have to
include keywords relating to moving and furniture.
Who does the data entry for the searchable fields? Does the search
function offer fuzzy logic? Can I search the entire site, all across
the US, or am I limited only to the city I chose to view? Craig`s List
is like that, and I think it`s the number one reason that company`s
gone from having a national buzz, to inspiring a yawn from many people.
Having written this, I then decided to go through the process (see
below). That`s where I saw I enter my own keywords. What I`d like,
though, would be to click the cards and see a sort of "profile" card,
All of the database questions might be better answered by simply
searching. But since I couldn`t do that, my questions are unanswered. I
went to the "About" page, hoping for answers, and saw nothing useful
So what I`d suggest would be to focus on the useability and interaction
side of the site, first. Make the search feature strong and
comprehensive. Offer the option to search for free, with joining having
some sort of trial-to-full membership fee.
From there, I think you`ll encourage word-of-mouth, which will make it easier to advertise the site and gain visibility.
On a postscript, I thought I`d upload our business card, and started
the process. Then I got so completely lost with the AdReady pages, my
mind was boggled. So even if I`d wanted to join the site, I have no
clue what that`s all about. I just assumed I could upload my business
card. I`d seen that somewhere else, but couldn`t find it easily again.
I went back to it, and saw that I`d clicked on the "Advertise Online in
3 Easy Steps," and was taken off your site totally, apparently. I
didn`t think to hit the "Submit" tab. So you`re probably losing
customers all the time, as they go to some other location and never see
your site again.
All in all, it`s a pretty cool idea, a lot like a business card storage
folder for real cards. It needs better structure, and more robust
functionality. There should be some specific guidelines as to size,
type, and resolution of images uploaded. The business cards are a great
visual attractor, but there needs to be some place to go with those,
after you see them. :-)