There’s an interesting app in App World right now called ProOnGo that scans your business cards with the BlackBerry’s camera and emails you them in a vCard format. The app looks great and since it was free I gave it a try. The problem is that the EULA has some very strange/aggressive wording that makes it seem like the vendor is keeping your contacts and has the rights to any contacts added via the app (see above).
The app is free for the first 10 business cards and then is available based on subscription from $0.99 to $4.99 per month. Even with the paid subscription, it seems that your contacts are still the property of ProOnGo, who could be using them for anything from newsletter and direct marketing, to selling them to 3rd party services. There’s really no way to tell.
Personally, I’ve deleted ProOnGo and won’t be using it because I’m concerned about how my contacts are being used. When somebody gives me a business card, we’ve created a trusted business relationship that I don’t want to jeopardize, and I think ProOnGo should be more sensitive to this. It’s possible that the EULA is written in such a way because of some server-side processing they’re doing, and it’s a harmless scenario, but it seems like all of this could and should be done natively.
While SHAPE Services Business Card Reader may be a good alternative, I’m considering just sticking to the trusted method of manually inputting business cards into LinkedIn. I may just have to wait until LinkedIn acquires a BlackBerry app to complement their portfolio.
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Update from ProOnGo:
We assure you that the only information in which we have access to is the contact’s information extracted from the business card, when the image reaches our servers. We take the business card’s data, via OCR and manual entry, and compile it into a vCard, then email the user their vCard.
We value the privacy and trust of our users and wouldn’t do anything to damage that relationship, such as selling customer information without making that explicitly clear. So to be clear, we are not selling or distributing our users’ information and have absolutely no plans to do so in the future.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Updated the title in order to be a little more neutral in tone.