ContactZilla, contact management for the social web – we have invites

Next Story

CES 2011: AT&T And Motorola Announce the Android-powered Atrix 4G (And A Crazy Laptop Dock Thing!)

ContactZilla is another take on the unified address book. Or more specifically, it’s being pitched as an online ‘Contact Management System’ for businesses designed with the Social Web in mind and the ability to merge contacts from the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn with more traditional sources. The service, built by Bristol, UK-based web development agency Simpleweb, is currently in private Beta but TechCrunch Europe has 200 invites.

Of course, this kind of offering has been tried before – and many startups are playing in and around the social CRM space. However, ContactZilla hopes to differentiate itself by remaining free compared to more traditional offerings such as Gist or Capsule.

Instead, Simpleweb plans to generate money from ContactZilla’s own marketplace/app store – so there’s a platform play here – which will fill in missing functionality and make the service (in theory at least) infinitely expandable. That’s if devs take the bait, although the company has already developed a number of add-ons of its own. The market functionality already exists too, though it’s not been exposed in private Beta form. The service will also roll out a form of advertising. Think B2B introductions.

As for what’s available right now: ContactZilla works pretty much as you’d expect. You sign-up, name your business and begin importing contacts from your social graph – currently, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google (support for Facebook is planned too). Other sources include, CSV, Basecamp, FreeAgent, Freshbooks, Vcard, Outlook and the Mac Address book. After the import takes place, which can take a while for Twitter, you then have the option to merge contacts across the different networks, though ContactZilla will try to do some of this for you, as well being able to ‘validate’ contacts, which involves asking them to confirm their details. Each contact can also have notes and tasks attached to their info, along with Maildrop functionality, all of which is provided through ‘apps’ built using the ContactZilla API.

As already noted, the app is in Beta – and it looks like early days. The next release will, however, add Facebook import, “smart lists” and expose the API, which will lead to an iPhone app before spring, says the company. It’s also worth remembering that Simpleweb has form: for example, they were the agency sourced to build, with other projects including a stakeholder CRM tool for DEFRA. Simpleweb also say that they’re currently in talks with a number of VC’s and angels, having been self-funded to date.

To get in on the ContactZilla Beta, use the code: Techcrunch (via this page) until the 200 invites go.

  • http://@XNoArchive Brian D

    I’d rather see something like Disqus add the layer of contact management.

  • ContactZilla – Another Take On The Unified Address Book | JetLib News

    […] Read the rest of this entry » […]

  • Tom Holder

    Hi Brian,

    How would you see that working if they were to do that? What I mean by that is, what benefits/functionality would you see it giving you? This isn’t a defensive response, I’m generally interested from a product point of view.

    It’s worth also pointing out that, although it’s early days for us and have a bit of a way to go, we are keen to ensure it’s as easy to get your contacts out from ContactZilla as it is to get them in. We are actively looking at things such as Portable Contacts and adding an API to ensure we don’t become a walled garden and have a user base of happy users that aren’t locked in to any proprietary tech.

    Thanks and happy New Year

    (Tech Director –

    • http://@XNoArchive Brian D

      Interesting question… I think you answered it yourself.

      If you do add an api… You wouldnt be involved directly with how it would be provided to me via the Disqus interface. If it ever were offered by Disqus.

      I’ll ignore going into details on how Disqus could cramp your style if they decide to do contact management themself.

      • Tom Holder

        :) No worries. We’ve got some interesting ‘style’ up our sleeves yet to come!

  • Juan José

    I have hope, GIST.COM is nice, but the interface is so laggy that i cannot use it at all.

    And the rest of the CRM crowd i’ve search is in no different shape, not useful, or laggy or buggy.

    Right now contactzilla is SLOW, lets hope you can speed it up!

  • Tom Holder

    Hey Juan,

    Yeah, we got Crunch’d ;)

    As the post correctly says, it’s early days for us and this is the first public exposure we’ve had which is why we’re suffering a few performance issues.

    We have plenty of servers sitting waiting but we haven’t setup any sort of load balancing at the moment. We’re going to be looking in to improving this asap.

    Obviously there will always be parallels drawn but we don’t want to get lumped in to the CRM croud and we have some tricks up our sleeve to separate us from that croud. The observant ones might have noticed our subtle attempt to get this across on our home page ;)

    Stick with us though, 2011 is going to be an exciting year for us!


  • Steve

    I don’t know how I feel about Pokemon managing my contacts. Their branding doesn’t evoke trust to me. There’s nothing wrong with being light-humored but it’s way too cartoony.

    (And I’m a professional cartoonist.)

  • Oh, Sugar! » ContactZilla – Another Take On The Unified Address Book

    […] Read the rest of this entry » […]

  • Ian Hendry

    We’ve had this capabality attached to our free Social CRM since 2009, with support for Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Windows Live, Outlook, MobileMe, Yahoo and others. It’s getting a revamp right now — we launched the Version 2 beta just before Chritsmas — and we’ll be adding Facebook soon too.

    I look forward to seeing how Tom and his team have done it.

    Ian Hendry
    CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ

  • Tom Holder

    HI Ian,

    I’ve signed up and I’ll have a look. I should point out though, we’re not trying to be a CRM. We are a contact management app for small businesses with social functionality.

    The TechCrunch invites have run out now (thanks TC!!), we will be releasing more in the future so watch this space. Ian, if you didn’t manage to get one, please contact me and I’ll sort you out.


    • Ian Hendry

      I grabbed the last one I think Tom. I’m in and have had the smallest of sniffs around. I did notice that the OAuth seems broken on the LinkedIn import though.

      As an aside, LinkedIn threatened us with legal action when we first added a LinkedIn import feature! Full story here:

      Ian Hendry
      CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ

      • Tom Holder

        Glad you got in.

        We have identified an issue with the import in general that’s come about as a result of a timeout we had in place. All imports are queued in the background (for the geeks, we use Redis for this). Due to the volume of users from this post there were a lot of jobs in the queue. We had put in place a timeout to reset jobs that weren’t going to finish in a timely fashion (as we guess users want them in before 2012 ;) … we have the capability to scale this out horizontally and have capacity to do it and after yesterday we’ll be looking at doing this.


  • Some TechCrunch love for ContactZilla — Simpleweb

    […] are all very excited to have been featured on TechCrunch Europe today for our ContactZilla product. It’s a great intro write up from Steve […]

  • caps

    welcome to my link top quality MLB caps

blog comments powered by Disqus