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Ever have to get some business done (irony noted) with a particular company, but have to fight your way through company ranks to figure out who you actually need to speak with? The mid to lower levels of business are terribly inefficient -- half an employee's time is spent trying to get a response from
an appropriate decision maker. What could take place in a couple hours/days often gets drawn out for weeks. Well, all these "swap" sites are popping up -- "i'll trade you a britney spears cd for a jigglypuff lunchbox" etc -- but why not apply this same concept to contacts? Charge a small membership fee and allow people to post their "wants and haves" for contact info -- build a community around it so that crappy/fraudulent contact propagators eventually get weeded out and only the reputable (and anonymous)contact providers thrive. Once you have a name it's still an uphill battle, but it would at least optimize part of the process.
Could potentially create a cycle -- user A gives user B the contact info of C (in exchange for contact info D). Eventually, user C gets really annoyed that all these random people are contacting him, and subsequently makes some change to his contact info in order to screen out the randoms, making his "real" contact info a valuable commodity all over again.
Or, if you're really a free spirit, you could create some kind of Napsteresque app to allow an anarchistic free flow of this same info -- dump contacts from your email client out on the net for everybody to enjoy...
similar but different [egnor, Aug 31 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]
six degrees is six ft under. THIS is cool.
tell the net who your "friends" are and everything syncs [gnormal, Aug 31 2000]
A million new startups are 3/4 baking this (see GoodContacts, Ryze, LinkedIn, Friendster) but I don't think any of them actually institute swapping [nhyatt, Oct 04 2004]
||Barter is inefficient. Why not just buy and sell these things, using either a local "funny money" or real cash?
||Interestingly, unlike the intellectual property traded on Napster, this contact information is a scarce resource; as you observe, if you give it out often enough, the contact will be annoyed and change their address.
||So, I recommend that instead of trading contact addresses, you trade contract "tokens". Each token gives you the right to send one message (or participate in one conversation, or something) with the contact. You can resell the token, but you can't duplicate it; once you use it, it's gone. That way usage can be metered.
||Specifically, I'm not likely to sell my own contact address on such a service, but I might think about selling a few contact tokens.