Written by Jase Clamp Tuesday, 31 May 2011 00:00
Recently I tried out Hiya, a service by White Pages that claims to enhance the information you have for people in your contact list. The way it works is that the Whitepages already has a lot of information – people’s names and numbers , in their database. They created this service, Hiya.com that lets you upload your address book from Gmail and then it scans through it.
It tries to find contacts that it can match to ones in its database then it will say “this person’s number has changed” or “we have a match on that person in our database.”
The first thing that struck me when I used it was it was limited to 1500 (or so) contacts. So I could not upload my whole address book. That was a little bummer. I wonder why they couldn’t just open it up? Maybe they fear that people might use it for free list cleaning.
Once that step was out of the way I was ready for the good stuff – enhance my contact data baby! You know, if someone’s number has changed or if they’ve moved, I do want to know that. There’s no point in me having old data in my contact list.
I found it really difficult to get to this next step. It seemed that Hiya really wanted me to email all of my contacts asking them to update their info directly. This seems a little beside the point of what Hiya offers. Hiya’s primary offer is that they can use their database to update your contact list. They button to email contacts was very large and they wanted to channel me directly into selecting from my contacts who I wanted to email.
I went ahead and selected a few test contacts that I have sitting in my address book that come back to me just to see what it was like.
Here’s the first place where Contact Gorilla and Hiya contrast.
The one from Hiya is plain text, simple but not bad. The one from Contact Gorilla is a little richer – has a picture of the sender in case you don’t recognize them, has buttons to either confirm or update, and also has a lot of privacy explanation.
How much new info do you actually get?
So after that was out of the way, I went on to try and find some updates for my contacts. I had to click into the screen a few times as it seemed to have problems loading. Finally it came up with some matches. In my 1500 contacts it found about 100 matches. 80% of those were it saying “ok, I they are in our database, confirm if this is a match and we’ll let you know if anything changes.” What I mean is, they didn’t have any new info for me – they just said that they’d keep an eye on it and alert me of changes.
I did get about a dozen new numbers or mailing addresses out of the operation which was good.
Compare this to when I ran my contact list through Contact Gorilla. I ran about 2500 contacts through the service and got about 250 responses. That’s new or confirmed contact info from 10% of my contacts. That seems about right to me because I think the 80/20 rule applies with your address book – 20% are relatively close contacts and the other 80% or just people you’ve met, etc.
With ContactGorilla.com you can just select a group from your email contacts to try get updates from, for example if you just have a friends and family group in your gmail address book, you can only invite them to give you updates.
When I used Contact Gorilla my experience was that most people were all to happy to help me update my address book. The handful that didn’t like getting the email could easily opt out of future mailings. The final thing about ContactGorilla.com is that it only lets you email your address book once so its not possible for you to harass people.