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Plaxo, whatfor art thou, Plaxo
November 26, 2003 6:56 PM   Subscribe

Maintaining contact info. I suck at it, but this new automation service may be the best I've ever come across, of any kind, on the net. No, seriously. Some have justifiably expressed concerns about what could possibly be the email-harvester to end all email-harvesters, but their privacy policy looks sound, and so far, after a week, I am astounded at how well it works. [Outlook/OE on Windows only, and this post smacks of bit of refreshing Pepsi Blue, I know, but I reckon it's the best of a very small breed, and free, so worth the link. Plaxo rocks.]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken (19 comments total)

 
Looks good, but I'd feel safer if I knew how they DO make money, since it doesn't seem to be from charging for this.
posted by tiamat at 7:37 PM on November 26, 2003


If this turns out to be legit and not an e-mail harvester, I am going to have to get in touch with the 20 or so people who have sent e-mails asking me to update my contact details and to whom I have replied that I do not give my details to spammers and warning them to delete their information immediately. Mmmm, crow.
posted by dg at 7:38 PM on November 26, 2003


Interesting design. Who created the GUI elements of XP, anyway? Do they get royalties? Do they deserve royalties?
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:49 PM on November 26, 2003


Still got some bugs. I tried Plaxo for a bit, and all was smooth sailing for a while. Then, when I used it to sync with my Yahoo addresses and my Outlook contacts, it reassigned cell and office phone numbers to 50 of my 300 contacts. Three weeks later I still haven't gotten around to fixing it. From all indications, I will have to do manually, unless I use the Plaxo update feature, which will again prompt by friends, business associates, former colleagues and bosses with update requests (not the best thing if you're in bizdev: best to do that manually ;-/). I'll dig into it further, but I had Intellisync, my Outlook Contacts/Calendar, and my cell phone all synchronizing perfectly for a year... but when I introduced Plaxo into the mix, my contacts got all screwed up in less than two weeks.
posted by psmealey at 7:56 PM on November 26, 2003


This is the new project by Sean Fanning and Sean Parker, the two co-founders of Napster. (So if it fails, expect it to morph into a movie-swapping service.)
posted by waxpancake at 8:03 PM on November 26, 2003


This is the new project by Sean Fanning and Sean Parker, the two co-founders of Napster

I wondered about the dumb name. That might explain it.

If it folds tomorrow, and doesn't morph into a spam factory, I've gotten massive value out of it already, at least.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:14 PM on November 26, 2003


I wondered about the dumb name. That might explain it.

At least they didn't called it Sean Squared or The Name Sean is Awesome Co.
posted by The God Complex at 8:17 PM on November 26, 2003


I'd like to recommend PocoMail.
posted by the fire you left me at 8:18 PM on November 26, 2003


I'd like to recommend Pegasus. It's free, it's powerful, and it's all growed up now. A much, much better client than it was five years ago.

Also high on my recommend list is Calypso v3.x IF you manage to find a source for it. It's every bit as slick as Eudora v3.x, but is absolutely free. Unfortunately, it's also hard to find.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:43 PM on November 26, 2003


This isn't an email client. It's a contact management/update/synchronization service, the likes of which I've never actually seen before.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:02 PM on November 26, 2003


FFF - it wasn't that hard: Calypso v3.
posted by jazon at 9:05 PM on November 26, 2003


I see a red flag whenever I get something for nothing. The fact that they have no visible method of making money makes me nervous. What happens to a Privacy policy during a buyout? I don't know. I use http://www.findmeanytime.com . They charge a little but its worth it. It is also purely web based which is good for people that don't use Outlook (there are still a few of us out there).
posted by pforth at 10:53 PM on November 26, 2003


Good find, jazon. Last time I hunted it down, it was abandonware. It took me a lot of searching to find a site with a working download link. Nice to see the company that gave up development was kind enough to let someone else give it a try. (Though I'd like more to have seen it free-sourced.)

I'm a guy who has only ever used free email clients these past fifteen years, yet I would actually consider purchasing Calypso.

sweet jesus, I've been on the 'net for fifteen years? that's just sick!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:49 PM on November 26, 2003


It's a contact management/update/synchronization service, the likes of which I've never actually seen before.

The company I used to work for had something like this three years ago. Of course, XNS is a full network identity platform, not just a contact synchronization service. The consumer launch didn't go as well as we would have liked despite decent press, but we did manage to get some legal issues resolved and release the protocol to the public in July 2002. XNS is now essentially in the hands of OASIS, which has convened a technical committee to turn the addressing spec from XNS into a fully open standard. The data exchange spec will follow.

The company I work for now is basically carrying on where OneName left off, focusing on the enterprise market. (Many of the former OneName people now work for Epok. They opened up an office in the Seattle area just to bring us on board.) Interest in this technology is finally reaching a sustainable level among large companies. If things go according to plan, you'll be seeing contact synchronization and other identity-related features becoming available from a lot of places, such as wireless providers and Internet portals, powered by technology from Epok and other companies in the digital identity space.

Plaxo, in other words, will shortly have a lot of competitors, some with more robust, standards-based technology on the back end that will hold up better as additional applications are developed. It's one thing to synchronize address books; it's another to create a generic model for establishing trust and exchanging data between digital representations of individuals. The latter is far more powerful and will enable hundreds of interesting applications.
posted by kindall at 12:23 AM on November 27, 2003


digital representations of individuals.

*shivers*
posted by quonsar at 12:33 AM on November 27, 2003


*hands q's digital representation a blanket*
posted by kindall at 12:47 AM on November 27, 2003


I remember OneName, actually, and thought it was a pretty cool idea at the time. Even signed up, as I recall.

The latter is far more powerful and will enable hundreds of interesting applications.

Indeed. For my part, though, I'm just happy to have updated addresses and phone numbers and stuff for so many of my far-flung (and in some cases long-lost) pals. Easily amused, me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:55 AM on November 27, 2003


I've started getting a bunch of requests for updated contact info from people I know through Plaxo and I thought it looked v cool. I considered downloading it, but the total mystery about how they make money stopped me too. Something has to be fishy.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:44 AM on November 27, 2003


I've been aware of Plaxo for some time. See also GoodContacts (for Outlook, Outlook Express or ACT!). Haven't tried either yet, though.
posted by Tubes at 10:16 AM on November 27, 2003


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