Zentact aims to solve one of the most enduring problems almost everyone faces in using the internet. We meet people, we intend to stay in touch, but we quickly forget and social connections go cold. This service lets you tag your contacts and then unobtrusively gives you an opportunity to send them an email any time you visit a web page that's related to their interests.Freshly launched contact-amplifying service
Zentact is the latest would-be blockbuster co-founded by Eric Marcoullier, one of the key players behind the Yahoo acquired MyBlogLog and the social media ping server Gnip. We really like this new service a lot and if some of the wrinkles get worked out we expect it to be a mainstay in our everyday use of the web. An invite link to the service is below.
Here's how it works. First, you import contact emails either individually or in bulk. Then you tag each contact with terms that are relevant to those people.
The Firefox extension also gives you an opportunity to add tags below the subject line of any web based email reply you send to someone. The Gmail integration is particularly graceful, but we couldn't get the Yahoo! Mail version to show up.
Once you've done that, Zentact will offer a subtle reminder whenever you visit a page around the web that contains the keywords that you used to tag any of your contacts. The attractive little pop-up window that appears will show you why the page is relevant, tell you when you last contacted that person through Zentact and give you a button to click to send your contact a link to the relevant page you found and a personal note.
It's simple, it solves a very real problem and it works reliably. We love it!
Some parts of the user experience will need to be tweaked in order for Zentact to be as unobtrusive as it has the potential to be. Contact import needs serious work; asking for email passwords is unacceptable in an era of secure authorization protocols and importing my GMail contacts lead to total overload of the system. For now at least don't bulk import your contacts from email.
We'd love to see some data portability, portable contacts, managed really well here. Right now you're better off doing one-off additions of contacts to the system.
We also find the name "zentact" annoying, a coy mix of cultural appropriation and web 2.0 schmarminess - but the service is so useful we'll only give them a little bit of teasing about that.
Get Your Account Here
Zentact is rolling out slowly but the first 500 readers who click on this link will get an invite and anyone who receives an email through the system will get an invite at the bottom of the email.
In an online world of fleeting social connections, we really like what Zentact is doing. No more missed opportunities to think of someone, reach out and keep that contact alive. We expect this to become one of those apps we don't want to use the web without.