So you've probably heard of flavors.me or the recent AOL purchase about.me, the benefits of a 'personal splash page' to unite all your social bookmarks are obvious. At first glance Zerply would seem to be another addition to an already saturated niche, but wait, there's more.
Zerply is a European startup, that was founded by Swede Christofer Karltorp and Estonian Taaniel Jakobs in the summer of 2009. The concept revolves around the notion of 'serious play', which incidentally is the inspiration for its peculiar name. The basic idea is that web natives will create a one stop landing page to present themselves professionally, in the process enable themselves to connect with like minded professionals, potential collaborators, and employers. Sounds a lot like LinkedIn? yes and no. Zerply is a business networking service, but a streamlined one at that, avoiding many of the pitfalls that befall other business networks. Where LinkedIn can be often clunky and over complicated, Zerply emphasizes simplicity and user friendliness.
The set up is simple, submit your desired username, location and password. You can then enter 'tags' to state your skills, add social bookmarks and of course a 'one-liner' about yourself. The best part is you can even choose to import your experiences from LinkedIn, or of course enter it manually if you do not have an account. You can select from one of the themes by renowned designers such as Rogie King, Elliot Jay Stocks, and Mike Kus. Your profile acts like an online resume with all the essential basic information, with contact options and the ability to download a vCard for potential employers and collaborators.
Search, Endorse & Connect
One of the features of Zerply that really sets it apart from other networks, is the ability to browse the database of users using keywords, that can be a name, location, skill, company or any other related term. A preview of this feature is available on the landing page, the 'facegrid' box presents an array of users, according to the inputed tags, that can be refreshed or further filtered. Within the Zerply backend users can even save these contacts for future reference to your own contacts list. You can also endorse users skill tags, if you have had a positive experience with the user, this in turn creates a network of trusted professionals where you can check out proficiency of potential employers or collaborators against other users that you trust.
A lot of the features of Zerply are yet to be fully rolled out, however users are already recognizing not only its potential as an online CV but as a legitimate service for making real connections and networking. As testament to its potential the Zerply staff have already used the network to source their new lead designer Luke Beard, an early beta tester who's skills were highlighted through his social bookmarks and endorsed by fellow users.
Currently Zerply is in private beta stage, but we have invites for the first 50 Search Engine People users here: http://zerply.com/invite/9f6fad6d6d738ac