Is 9 the new 43?

9Cays is a service that Stowe Boyd recently described as "a new tool to help manage email conversations as a collaborative space online." It has many of the now-familiar Web 2.0 ingredients. It's in beta. Its name begins with a digit, like 37signals, 43things, 43folders, and 9rules. (Is 9 is the new 43?) For extra points, I suppose the name might also have ended with r, as in Flickr, Mappr, Frappr, Grazr, and Zooomr. Or maybe not. Anyway, here's the pitch:

Take the pain out of group email.

Sick of getting group email that you don't want?

Sick of reading through badly formatted quotes at the bottom of messages?

Sick of people claiming they never got your message?

9cays is for you.

You use the service to move email conversations into disposable shared spaces on the web. People can read and contribute to those conversations by way of email, the web, or both. Great idea!

Of course, we've had this capability since 1999. That's when Steve Yost introduced, later renamed to -- and still active at -- Here's the 1999 column in which I first mentioned QuickTopic. Here's the 2001 column in which I described, and demonstrated, how to use QuickTopic for spontaneous collaborative review of documents.

Apart from a Web 2.0-compliant name and a TechCrunch writeup, what does 9Cays offer that QuickTopic doesn't? In fairness, there are differences. And I don't really mean to belittle the efforts of the 9Cays folks. Easy and effective hybridization of multiple modes of communication -- in particular, email and the web -- remains a thorny problem. There's plenty of scope for innovation. But let's not lose sight of trailblazing services like QuickTopic that have been doing this kind of thing for years.

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