CCrane WIFI2 Radio

A Scout to Keep Contacts Up to Date

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, March 15, 2001

What in the world is a company called Ants.com? I'm Fred Fishkin with Bloomberg Bootcamp. It has nothing to do with relatives... .or bugs, hopefully. Ants.com makes an application that can make your life easier... .by automatically keeping your address book up to date. It's called, says CEO Rick Davis... .Scout...

"Basically what it does, it's enabled by a little piece of software that you get off of our Web site. And it plugs into your address book like Microsoft Outlook. And it does a couple of things for you. The first thing it does is it asks... would you like to update your entire address book? I mean, who says no, right? Because it turns out that if you get a hundred business cards today, thirty of them will be out of date within a year. I mean it's really amazing. If your friends and colleagues don't move than the phone company changes the area code."

If the people in your address book aren't using Scout... .it asks permission, one by one, to contact them. Once you're a member... .all your contacts need is your email address to retrieve your full business card. It's a viral business model...

"Actually, all we're asking people to do is publish their own business card. The information that they want people to know about them so that they can get in touch with them and do business."

The beta version of the software has been free. The plan is to sell annual subscriptions for about thirty dollars. It could also be licensed to corporations and associations. A targeted marketing program is planned to... .but Davis says... .only for users who opt in. You can find more information at ants.com.