AboutOne.com Review

Aug 2, 2011

When I first heard about online family management programs, I was skeptical about them. Why would I put my family's important, personal information online? Would it really be safe? What good would it be to me?  Why would I pay someone for this service when I can keep the information filed safely at home? Of course, when I was asked to review AboutOne, I accepted immediately. This would give me the opportunity to get my questions answered.

AboutOne was founded in 2008 by Joanne Lang, a mom of four young boys and former SAP executive. She created a cloud service that combines "the power of business computing tools with the fun, user-friendly nature of popular social media apps." AboutOne enables you to access important information and documents from anywhere as long as you have a web-enabled device. Not only does it save information, like each family member's personal information, health history, education, and possessions, but it uses that information to create family newsletters and many different types of reports. But that's not all. AboutOne has partnered with several companies to provide extra services such as printing a baby book and sending cards to people in your address book also.

First of all, let me say, that the graphics and icons are adorable. They are fun and give the site personality. After creating my new account, I found that it was very easy to get started. If you don't know where to begin or need more guidance, they point you in the right direction with alerts. Of course, the obvious place to start is to add personal information about yourself and your family members. After that, it's up to you.

I started with health histories for all of us. There are fields for conditions/allergies, medications, immunizations, appointments, documents, and doctors. When you add a doctor (or other professional contact), you then only need to choose them from a list for each of your other family members. The only complaint I had was that you can not do the same for the insurance information. So, I had to type the name and numbers in seven times.

Next, I began adding information to the education area. Although we homeschool, I can see this as being a useful application. You can scan and upload report cards, transcripts, awards, testing results, and pictures. It is categorized by school years so you can have each child's entire school career recorded. There is a place to enter awards, volunteer hours, and activities also. That information can be added to your monthly family newsletter or printed out and added to your paper files. The volunteer hours recording is great for high schoolers. If you are mobile homeschoolers, then this may be especially helpful.

Once you have your family members entered, you can move on to your family possessions, like your home, cars, etc. Since we purchased our home last year, we have made many improvements. Now, I can compile a Home Record that puts all of that information and any maintenance we do in one place and print out a report if we need it. I also need to do that for our old house, which we now rent out, if I can find all of the receipts... AboutOne is proving itself to be useful already. 

While I was adding information in other sections, my professional contacts were being added to the address book. Then I went there and added family and friends, using labels to create groups of people. For example, family, Christmas card, etc. By using labels, I would be able to pull up contacts for a specific group to export  or to use the "Send Card" feature. How's that for simplifying your life?

While there are several more things you can do with your AboutOne account, I'll let you discover them when you sign up for a free trial. Now, I can honestly say that my questions have been answered. Although, the initial data entry stage will take a little while, it will be beneficial to have all of this important information available in the same place and retrievable from anywhere I happen to be. After reading over AboutOne's privacy policy, I feel confident that our information is secure. One important thing to know is that you do not enter social security numbers or any other account numbers, other than the credit card you pay with. Speaking of payment, unlimited storage is only $30 per year. If you want to try it out before you commit, you can use the free trial for 17 days. Any 17 days you want. They only count the days you actually log in.

Regarding the question about why I would pay someone for this service...well, let's just say that I'm an organized person {at least, on the inside}, but with homeschooling five rowdy boys, I find it difficult to stay on top of the paper pile. Just yesterday, I was looking through stacks of mail that had been pushed aside, trying to find our new credit cards that had been sent a few months ago. I eventually found them and an escrow refund check for over $500 from April! Perhaps I need to open every envelope, even if it appears to just be another privacy statement or policy change.

Disclaimer: I was given a free one-year subscription to AboutOne in exchange for my honest review of their service. 


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