As networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn evolve, they’re becoming more social, more interactive, and more open to third-party developers. But a new startup called Linksify wants to take users in the other direction — rather than creating new ways for you to interact with people, it’s stripped away most social networking features and instead focuses exclusively on contact management.
The site is launching its public beta test today and also just announced a $500,000 investment from entrepreneur and angel investor Jon Fisher (who worked with Linksify founder Tony Yu when they were chief executive and chief financial officer, respectively, at Bharosa). About a week ago, Fisher sent out an email announcing that’s he’s quitting LinkedIn for Linksify, because (in his words) he wanted to:
stay connected without invitations
update and sync outlook and PDA address books automatically
show different portions of profile to different people
increase security by encrypting contacts
Basically, Linksify wants to be your online address book, one that gives you a high level of security and control over who sees what information. You divide your contacts into acquaintances, personal contacts, and work contacts, then specify what information you want to provide to each group — for example, you might only give your home address and personal cell phone number to your personal contacts.
Linksify updates don’t stay trapped in the service, either — they synchronize with your Google, Yahoo, or Outlook accounts. You can also pre-approve people to see your contact information by sending them semi-private “passkeys” to your information. And for additional security, your contact information is encrypted.
This approach addresses a lot of my problems with LinkedIn — to the extent that I use LinkedIn at all, I use it as a contact service and barely look at the other social features and applications. The service is free, but Linksify will eventually charge for premium options like syncing multiple address books and mobile devices.