by Alexis Tsotsis for Tech Crunch
In perhaps one of the most like-minded and forward-thinking acquisitions I’ve ever seen, career-driven social network LinkedIn has bought CardMunch, a Shoeboxed-like startup that scans your business cards and accurately converts them into phone contacts using Mechanical Turk. The price of the acquisition was not disclosed.
From the CardMunch blog:
“Our long-term vision for CardMunch has been to help manage business contacts and help you to leverage your contacts and connections for doing business. With that in mind, we are thrilled to announce today that CardMunch is now a part of LinkedIn! LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network and as such, provides the perfect platform for us to execute the CardMunch vision.
That’s not all; we have even more good news! Starting today, the current version of the CardMunch app will be completely free! Yes, you heard right, the current version of the CardMunch app is now a free service, which means that you can capture and transcribe as many business cards as you like, free of charge.”
The best part of this deal is that the CardMunch business card scanning services, which used to cost $2.99 for the app and .25 cents per card after the first 10 cards, will now be offered for free with a refund offered to people with pre-existing credits.
Seeing as getting a leg up in the social game is all about the social graph a.k.a your contacts list, this could prove to be a very wise move for LinkedIn as people are now incentivized to upload their business contacts for utilitarian purposes, effectively social networking lead gen.
The company says that they will be adding new features in the coming months and may require users to “use their LinkedIn accounts to access CardMunch.” Exactly.
You can download the application gratis here.
About Card Munch:
CardMunch is a mobile business card transcription service that leverages the human power to accurately digitize contact information.
The CardMunch application automatically recognizes, captures, transcribes, and creates the contact in the user’s phone, straight from a business card. Instead of relying on Optical Character Recognition (OCR), CardMunch uses a scalable human workforce to transcribe each business card and verify the accuracy of the transcription before returning them to the mobile phone as a contact.
The service is available on the iPhone today. Support for other mobile platforms will come soon.