Network Hippo is a web application that provides the functionality of a CRM (customer relationship management) application and allows users to link their friends, contacts, and business associates into one central database. Using Network Hippo, users can enter contacts and their relevant social networking sites in order to facilitate ease of communication in their contact’s desired format. For instance, if a user has a contact that uses Twitter, they can use Network Hippo to send a direct message through Twitter. Network Hippo also allows users to keep detailed information of their own on each contact, such as activities scheduled with that person, as well as any other information that they feel would be helpful when interacting with that person in the future.
Network Hippo is maintained by Mercury Grove, and enables users to manage an unlimited amount of networks and allows users to share contacts amongst these networks. This way if the user leaves an organization, but has personal contacts within that organization, they will not lose them. Network Hippo is a great tool for keeping users in the loop with various contacts, and ensuring that important correspondence is tracked, and scheduled commitments are kept.
Network Hippo isn’t just a CRM application, as it allows users to establish personal networks as well. Users of Network Hippo can give their contacts missions, for example a non-profit organization can set a fundraising goal for its members to reach, or a sales manager can set sales goals for his team to achieve. Network Hippo’s integration with various social networking sites allows users to receive alerts on the people in their network, as well as facilitates importing information into contact’s entry in the network.
The website sticks to a simple yet effective layout and color scheme, with a large smiling hippo as its mascot. It gets the point across and it’s memorable without looking unprofessional. Navigation throughout the site is done using the site’s main menu tabs which include links to a product tour, the features that Network Hippo offers, a blog, and support. When logged into the account, the user is presented with an array of relevant information, displayed in a logical and intuitive manner.
Signing up for Network Hippo is done by clicking on the “Sign Up” link at the top right hand corner of the website. The user will be prompted to fill out a form. The form asks for a first name, last name, valid email address, password/confirmation and time zone. After the user has entered the above, they can choose a custom sub domain name, which is used to access the Network Hippo account. Afterwards, the user can click “Sign Me Up” to be taken directly to the login screen. Before logging in, an activation email will have to be accessed. Once the user has received the email and activated the account, they can login.
Network Hippo is a completely free service, available in full after registration. There is no indication that this is set to change at any point, so users can begin adding contacts and establishing their network with little fear that they will be hit with surprise charges after getting used to the website and its features.
Network Hippo is at heart a social network management tool. Individuals who just wish to keep in touch with friends more easily, non-profit organizations hoping to better organize their members, or political candidates looking to keep their supporters informed could all make use of the features that Network Hippo has to offer.