I recently discovered a new startup in the contacts world, Flowtown, and I'm very impressed! Their starting point is a little like Gist, you upload your contact information and they match up those email addresses with people's Facebook, Twitter and other social network accounts. Incidentally, I believe they're using Rapleaf for this matching process, it's a great demonstration of the possibilities of their API.
Once that data's been matched, Flowtown's goal is to help marketers create much better targeted email campaigns for their existing mailing lists. Sadly the old tagline "Give those emails some pants and a shirt" has vanished from their home-page, but I think that idea of dressing up and personalizing your marketing emails is very valuable. You've already built up relationships with these customers, you have permission to contact them, and everybody wins if those emails are better targeted. The example in the demo video ensures that an email asking customers to follow you on Twitter only goes to people who actually have Twitter accounts. You can imagine this getting much more detailed, maybe identifying influential Twitter users who are already your customers, or using the geographic information to target only Twitter-using customers in a particular area.
I like their approach because they have a very clear value proposition and target market; if you're an email marketer who wants to improve her click-through rates, it's an obvious win. They're also up-front about asking for money; you 'll only get 50 contacts imported for free, the rest are 5 cents each, and you'll need to upgrade from the free plan to run proper campaigns. It may sound perverse to applaud them for charging early and often, but it's refreshing to see someone with enough belief in the value they're offering to do that.
Great work by Ethan and the team, I foresee a lot of success in their future!