Plaxo is great, it made contact management so much easier.
Not that it’s a new idea; several years ago I used GoodContacts, but they were “the little guys” from Canada, and their service never took off. Same features, but without critical mass in the network, it’s worth nothing. Plaxo got the brand names behind it, so it took off like wildfire.
I wish they were a bit less pushy though. As Adam puts it in Consumption Junction:
“The last thing on my mind regarding Plaxo is the annoying amount of information update request emails they send out. These emails are ruining their brand. Plaxo allows their users to send email notifications to their contacts requesting that they update their address book entry. This is something I would never do, personally. If I want someone’s updated contact information, I will personally email them or even pick up the phone, ask them how they’ve been and how their family is doing, and let them know that I need their address to send them something by mail. Anyone who’s like me in this way also probably finds it incredibly obnoxious to be on the receiving end of a stock message that reads “Hi from Plaxo!!! We need your contact info!!! This isn’t spam and it shouldn’t annoy you because you can opt out if you don’t like these emails!!” It doesn’t matter if my friend Bob is the one who is actually clicking the link to send me the email. It has Plaxo, not Bob, written all over it, and as such, represents Plaxo as much or more so than it does Bob. And this isn’t just a personal pet peeve. When widely-read bloggers like Russell Beattie begin noting they’ve permanently opted out of Plaxo, perhaps it’s time to re-think your strategy.”
Well, there is a “decent”, spam-free yet efficient way of using Plaxo: sign up for the service, download the app to Outlook, then kill the email-generating feature. You will still get the auto-update of your Outlook contacts, if they already are Plaxo members, without annoying hundreds of others. I have a fairly large contacts folder, and about 10% are Plaxo members – among the techie/entrepereneurial types I guess the penetration is even higher.
In fact if we all followed this more subtle approach to Plaxo-ing, chanches are Russel et al would not leave, so with increasing membership the auto-update would be more and more valuable.
That is until the day LinkedIn comes up with Plaxo-like updates 🙂