Cleverbug, a smartphone app that uses social network data to improve printed birthday cards, first launched in mid-January. The company tells me that as of early February, the app was downloaded 25,000 times by users in 89 countries, with 2.5 million birthdays now in the system.
The app integrates with your Facebook account, so it can remind you when people’s Facebook friends’ birthdays are coming up. Then it’s easy to create a personalized card — Cleverbug recommends different designs and Facebook photos that you can include, and you add or edit the text as well. Then you can print and send a card from more than 70 partner locations around the world for $2.99 plus postage.
The result is a card should feel much less boring and generic than something purchased in a store (to say nothing of the generic “Happy birthday!” messages posted on Facebook Walls), while still being quite convenient for the sender. Cleverbug can also time a Facebook post with a virtual version of the card, so all your friends can appreciate the card, too (and Cleverbug gets a little viral promotion).
I asked founder and CEO Kealan Lennon whether he’s considered offering a digital-only product (I’ve heard that many Zazzle users, for example, like to design and share virtual versions of personalized items without actually buying the physical good). He said it’s a possibility, but he also pointed out that there’s something special about print, and maybe that’s even more true when more and more of our photos move online.
By the way, Cleverbug’s not limited to birthdays. You can also send holiday (though it’s too late to send something for Valentine’s Day, you slackers). And eventually, Lennon said Cleverbug could use its technology to create other personalized products — say a mug with your kids’ photos.
You can download the Cleverbug app here.