January 9, 2009

FamSpam – Stay in Touch With Your Family


Staying connected with family can be challenging these days, especially if your family is spread out across the country (or globe). Email and phone calls offer a means to communicate but generally these methods don’t enable everyone to see what’s happening in your life simultaneously. Additionally, most people wouldn’t be thrilled about receiving an email every time little Jimmy said something new. A new web startup called FamSpam was built with a single purpose of connecting your family together using an extremely simple journal-like system.

Each FamSpam family receives a private website which will house all written messages sent between family members. At any given time, any family member wishing to see what’s happening in their relatives’ lives can log into FamSpam. Messages are automatically grouped by week and threaded when people reply to any message. And because pictures are worth a thousand words, photos can be easily added to any message or reply and are aggregated into a photo library with built-in slideshow.

The biggest value of FamSpam is its ability to essentially journal your family activities on a routine basis and keep a written archive for years to come. Pricing is simple with a single unlimited plan and a 14-day free trial.

Practical Uses:

  • Use FamSpam to create a living journal of your family
  • When family reunions don’t happen often enough, use FamSpam to stay connected with distant relatives

Insider Tips:

  • Keep in mind that there is a 5mb limit on photos
  • Pick a day of the week that is most convenient for everyone to receive their weekly inactivity reminders
  • FamSpam makes the most sense for large, spread-out families

What we liked:

  • Simple and straight-forward user interface and pricing plan
  • Ability to add an unlimited number of family members
  • Message threading makes it easy to see family activity
  • Built-in slideshow for photos

What we didn’t like:

  • No real-time chat capability
  • We had problems getting the family email address to work
  • No way to export or backup your family’s correspondence
  • Email reminders happen only once weekly, we’d prefer the option of getting real-time reminders as someone replies to a conversation (much like Facebook)


Company Info:

  • Launched: December 2007
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
  • Founded by: Chris Wanstrath and PJ Hyett
  • Web site:


  • Free to use for 14 days and then $39.95/year

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