6 thoughts on “Extracting contact data from e-mail signatures

  1. Phil O'Brien

    Hi Andy. Like your website and posts.

    I think this is the same issue that OCR Card Readers try to resolve. I tried quite a few of them about 6 months ago using a ScanSnap scanner with various bits of software – and tested various iPhone apps where you could photograph a business card and parse the date in to standard contact fields.

    However, they were all pretty clunky and unreliable. They did manage to do the OCR bit in the main – but when faced with the text structured similar to the email signature you give as examples, they failed miserably.

    I gave up and decided to do what you do, cut and paste the whole lot – hike it over to Google Contact and then cut and paste the individual items in to fields.

    Would be interested to hear about/test drive if anyone comes up with a good solution.

    1. Andy Mabbett Post author

      Hi Phil, and thanks for your kind appreciation.

      Yes, OCR of business cards is very hit-and-miss; not helped by the fact that some people use very small, pale text in scanner-unfriendly fonts. Shooting themselves in the foot, really. My business card has clear text, a QR-encoded vCard and a text link to a web page with hCard markup and a downloadable vCard.

      1. Brad Patterson

        Hi Andy and Tim,

        My team has developed an app that does just that— WriteThat.name scrapes email signatures to update address books and CRMs (gmail, google apps, outlook, salesforce). It works 100% in the background, analyzing incoming email, and there is also a chrome gadget if you just want to grab info as well on-the-go.

        Learn more here, and I’d be happy to answer any questions.



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