Have a personal domain name but not sure whether you should have it redirect to your blog, Facebook profile, LinkedIn or Twitter account? Lacking the time or skills to set up a web presence of your own where you can point to all of them at will? Card.ly is here to save the day.
Inspired by the look of the personal web page of interface designer Tim Van Damme, the team over at Harkness Labs set out to build a service where people can easily add their online profiles, pick a theme and create a good-looking online mini business card of their own in just a couple of minutes. Having lots of experience with quickly setting up and launching light-weight Web services (check out the CrunchBase profile for the company’s founder Daniel Blake for a list of other projects), it didn’t take them too long to come up with a good enough concept.
After a month or so of coding, Card.ly is now live. I love it (here’s mine), and I’m going to send the link to a bunch of my friends. It’s a bit more limited in scope than Chi.mp (our coverage) and a different approach from Unhub (our coverage), but I doubt there’s an easier way to create custom social hubs that look so damn good than Card.ly.
Once you add personal details and your various online profiles (nearly 50 are currently supported, from LinkedIn to Yelp and our own CrunchBase), you can pick a custom theme out of nearly 30 proposed designs – most of which are free, others are only available with premium accounts – and automatically have your online business card published. It’s hCard compliant and people can download a vCard from your personal Card.ly profile by clicking the recognizable icon under the title.
You can also embed widgets for your profile, which I have done at the top of this post. Finally, some themes support a ‘Stream’ tab, which basically doubles as a lifestreaming web application by pulling together all the activity from the profiles you added to your Card.ly account.
Card.ly is free when you’re content with a limited choice of skins and RSS feeds, as well as couple of other restrictions, but there’s a premium version that will set you back $24.99 a year. The paid account comes with more themes to choose from, unlimited RSS streams, and more goodies like advertisement-free cards. Not as cheap as I’d like it to be, but I paid for it just for the fact that I can link to my Google Analytics account and get advanced statistics on my personal card.