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Personafile – your own personal online product knowledgebase

Personafile

Personafile is a new free service which is designed to help you keep track of the products you buy. Think of it as an online filing cabinet for your purchases. Every time you buy something you can add it to the knowledgebase and from then on keep track of manuals, service and maintenance, product updates and the like. 

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If you’ve ever lost the box or manual for a gadget you own, or needed to get something serviced but didn’t know where to look, then you’ll probably appreciate this concept. There’s even an option to add expert communities to a product page, so you can keep track of the conversations going on around your product. Super useful, if for instance you want to be kept informed about updates, bugs, etc.

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Unfortunately the idea is let down by a somewhat dated and clunky Web 1.0 interface which makes it a little hard to use.  Actually to be fair, the workload only applies if a product is not already in the database, at which point you have to search, enter in a fair amount of detail (including product name, model number, bar code etc) in order to get the developers to add the product to the list.

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The main page interface is also a bit clumsy. If the developers simplified the overall interface a lot, and removed – or subordinated – a lot of the functionality cruft on the main pages, then the whole thing would work much better.

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That said, it’s a very nice idea indeed. The ability to have someplace where details of your various products can be maintained is excellent, and I can see myself using this a lot if they sharpen up the interface so I don’t have to wade through acres of grey space to get to what I want. The use of some nice big text, and web 2.0 friendly large buttons would do a world of good.

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Finally, there is a great concept of inviting blogger and other product based sites to become ‘publishers’ to the database. The idea here is to add to the general product knowledgebase with comments, reviews and general info from the Web in general. It’s a great idea, but again let down by execution. Guys, I’m not going to spend a good 15 minutes entering each product to your database via some clunky web page form. Give me a quick and dirty WordPress plugin which sucks in the information from my RSS feed and we’re talking turkey. Sheesh!

 Personafile has already organized the customer support details you need for the products you own. With all of the products people own today, it’s easy to lose the operating details, service documents, warranties and user manuals. Once you purchase an item and begin to use it, this paperwork gets relegated to drawers, filing cabinets and paper piles – sometimes never to be seen again. So, what happens when you need to update a driver, service your car, buy a replacement part, contact customer service, or find a repair center? Where do you begin?

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


1 Comment

  • Nigel – thanks very much for the great feedback. We’re a small company just getting the beta version of the service out the door which means two things. First, we realize there’s still a ton of work to do. Second, feedback and suggestions like yours are extremely valuable to us as we look at how to continue to improve the site for both consumers and our partners.

    It looks like you’re a fan of the concept, so we hope we can continue to count on you for your contributions and feedback.

    Thanks again!

    Cheers,

    -Andrew

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