If You’re Sending an Online Business Card, Don’t Do This

business card

In another installment of things LinkedIn lets its affiliates do, I have received several of these:

Subject: <Name> has shared a document.
To: 10 people whose last name starts with “B.”

Body:<Name> has shared their online business card with you. Please click to accept and leave them a comment.

You may be thinking, what’s the big deal? It’s just a business card, only online, like they do. Except this one includes information that surprised me:

<Full name>
<Phone number>
<Full address>
<Strange promotional advertisement for Nextdoor>

Full address? Promo? Even Instagram…do these belong on a business card?

Who’s fostering all this? ERated.me. (Incidentally, I did not go further than their splash page because it wants you to sign in with LinkedIn, and I didn’t want it to get ahold of me.)

ERated does allow some flexibility. I received another “online business card” message that, when clicked, took me to a “Leave rating for <Name>!” screen, which has absolutely nothing to do with an online business card and includes the pithy phrase:

Why rate <Name>?

It will help in building their reputation specially if you write a nice recommendation while rating.

I’ll just let that sentence stand on its own.

If you’re going to use this tool  anyway, I recommend:

  • Not sending this to 10 or more people at a time. Just as with My Bizcard, it makes you look spammy or lazy.
  • Not calling it an online business card if it’s something else entirely.
  • Not giving your full home address to strangers. Sure, people can probably look it up, but why make it easy?
  • Not loading your Facebook page with lame public posts. “I’d like to be a nudist but we just don’t have the weather for it” and millions of posters don’t help your personal brand. (Disregard this if your personal brand is to parrot hackneyed phrases and constantly forward other people’s stuff.)

I look at it this way:

When you’re meeting people in person, you don’t just throw your entire box of business cards at them. You take some time, have a meaningful conversation, perhaps even ask first to exchange information. Why should it be any different online?

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