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Plaxo is part social media tool, part address book. It is useful for keeping contact names and addresses up-to-date.

Useful, but not as elegant or as handy as Linkedin. Not that I’d recommend LinkedIn to anyone.

Plaxo has a chequered history. In the early days it’s messages looked like spam and were annoying. The company climbed aboard the cluetrain and the unpleasant stuff stopped.

While Plaxo needs to make money – don’t we all? The company’s current approach may not work. It certainly doesn’t work for me.

Plaxo operates a so-called “Freemium” business model. The basic product is free, if you want to do more with the tools you have to pay. In theory it is a good business model and there are many cases where it works well.

I’ve recently come across three ways it aims to get money from me. I wouldn’t pay for any of these:

  1. Outlook sync. This was free, with a paid-for version allowing more features. Now sync is part of Plaxo Premium and costs US$60 a year – around a NZ$100.
  2. Then there’s Plaxo Pro available in three versions; Basic, Plus and Power. The Power version is a whopping US$250 a month and essentially provides you with a way to spam members. It includes Premium.
  3. Then there are e-cards, basically electronic birthday cards and similar stationary at a cost of US$20 a year.

You can forget the e-cards. Why would I ever want to pay US$20 to send them?

I’ve no wish to spam, this rules out the Pro version.

Which brings us to Plaxo Premium – paying for support is fair enough. Paying for back-up is reasonable. Paying to remove duplicates is a bit on the nose, but we’ll let that go.

I can’t use the sync to Windows Mobile and I used the Sync to Outlook when it was free and was not impressed.

Plaxo is an OK online address book although not as usesful as Facebook or Linkedin. It has around 15 million users – Linkedin has 43 million, mainly business oriented users, Facebook has 300 million.

6 thoughts on “Plaxo: OK free, not worth paying for

  1. They’ve also dropped the tools to sync with Gmail and Thunderbird which was the main advantage of Plaxo – it would work with everything I used.

    When my Premium subscription expires next year I won’t be renewing – there are open source tools that accomplish the same thing (albeit requiring more setup).

  2. Well, for Thunderbird there’s Google Contacts (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/7307) which syncs your address book with Gmail. I also use Gmail IMAP Account Setup (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/6381).

    I use Outlook at work, so when I drop Plaxo there are quite a few tools for syncing with Gmail. I haven’t tried this yet, but my Windows Mobile automatically picks up the new contacts from the exchange server so that’s done.

    I’ve recently stopped using Yahoo mail, as the UI is getting worse every day. I now pull all my email into Gmail then either use the web or Thunderbird to handle it.

    • I use Gmail and Outlook – syncing the two through Imap. Google contacts is, to me, a weak spot in the company’s offering. In fact the main reason I stick with Outlook is because it has a better address book than anything else. I also like the way Windows 7 desktop search works with Outlook – though it doesn’t seem to pick up the imap data.

      Hmm, Thunderbird, that might be worth investigating.

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