LinkedIn And Evernote Team Up For Your Digital Rolodex! Oh, Wait... Isn't LinkedIn Already A Digital Rolodex?
On Wednesday, we learnt that LinkedIn is partnering with Evernote to let you scan and organize business cards. The leading social network for professionals and the note-taking software are teaming up to create a giant, digital Rolodex. Woop! But wait a minute ... isn't that what LinkedIn is already? One giant Rolodex on the interwebs?
The two Silicon Valley-based companies have worked out a pretty impressive system. The user places a business card on a flat surface and frames it in the Evernote app's camera mode. The card is automatically recorded and digitized, and will be searchable on both Evernote and LinkedIn. "Evernote can now automatically build a content-rich note around every business card you scan," the company said in an announcement. "With full contact information, a link to their current LinkedIn profile, and a photo, plus a section for notes, business cards become searchable contacts in Evernote."
Again, isn't a content-rich note along with all the info on a business card exactly what LinkedIn is? The first argument one could make for this collaboration is that it'll help save the millions of tons of paper used every year by not printing those novel little rectangles called business cards. But no. Because you still need a business card to scan into Evernote and LinkedIn. And then it'll get tossed instead of going into an actual Rolodex. So why not just bypass the business card part and organize your professional contacts strictly on LinkedIn? Is market sharing the real reason behind this partnership?
LinkedIn has around 300 million users, while Evernote boasts more than 75 million worldwide. Trying to widen each company's respective markets makes total sense, but not here. Take Zynga's partnership with Facebook, for example. The game developer, known for such popular games as Farmville, used Facebook as a platform to expand its reach and turn Facebook users into Zynga users.
What it provided Facebook users was a wholly different service and experience. What Evernote is offering LinkedIn users is a mini version of LinkedIn. What LinkedIn is offering Evernote users is something they most likely already have — LinkedIn. Instead of the Venn diagram of two different markets converging that a successful tech partnership creates, this partnership is more like a smaller circle within a larger circle. And nobody really gains anything.
Evernote has had similar collaborations in the past with 3M's Post-it Notes and notebook maker Moleskin that were a little more intuitive. The Evernote Post-it Note Camera allows you to take pictures of your actual sticky notes, digitizing and organizing them for you while retaining that classic Post-it Note look. It's basically a prettier, more kitschy digital planner, but Google calendar serves a similar function for free.
The Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskin is a little more clever. Customers who bought the specific model of Moleskin notebook would be privy to certain features that align with Evernote's Page Camera. Unlike Post-it Notes and LinkedIn, which people are likely to utilize already, Evernote is giving consumers incentive for purchasing a fancy Moleskin notebook.
Evernote's partnership with LinkedIn comes off the heels of the social network's failed attempt to digitize business cards with another company, CardMunch. LinkedIn acquired the free scanning service in 2011, but after only updating it once has abandoned it to make way for Evernote. Only time will tell whether this new collaboration will catch on.