Plaxo Address Book widget is a win-win scenario

Many people have described Plaxo as an annoying service. These criticisms have been levelled not because of what it's designed to do but simply because of the annoying volume of emails you can get hit with as a by-product of others using it.

Plaxo is actually a great idea. Essentially everyone maintains their own address details and then you subscribe to your friends/contacts details. This reduces everyone's address book maintenance effort and should avoid details becoming obsolete. It's definitely the case that my own address book is littered with out-dated details for people, but I simply don't know which ones are wrong until I go to try them. It would be very handy if these details were automatically updated.

Unfortunately, this means your contacts also have to buy in to the concept and use the service.

When you initially upload up your address book, Plaxo tells you which people are already subscribed to Plaxo based on the details you provided and which are not. It suggests you contact this latter category and invite them to join the service because that will make your life easier. Of course, this seems such an excellent idea that you initiate email invites via the service.

Some of your friends ignore the email for a variety of reasons including inertia but also because they see the benefit to you but not to themselves. However some others choose to sign-up and follow the same procedure.

Unfortunately, it's probable that there will be some overlap of address books with the result that some people are likely to be invited to sign-up again and again. Whilst Plaxo aren't causing this (it's your own popularity and stubborness to succumb to the invite) they are a beneficiary of the "virus".

Plaxo isn't unique in operating an "invite a friend" feature but they are rare in that you actually need your friends to join Plaxo if you are to derive benefit from it e.g. it doesn't matter if my friends don't use but it does matter if they don't use Plaxo as it defeats the point.

Ok, so Plaxo is old news to many. Well, I mention it because Plaxo have made available an excellent widget that other web sites can use. Called "Address Book Access", it allows users of your site to do a temporary upload of their address book(s) to your site for the purposes of sending email invites to their friends.

This avoids you having to develop this functionality for your own site, whilst satisfying your desire to make the invite process incredibly easy for your site visitors/users.

So, you may ask what's it in for Plaxo to be so nice. Well, it probably won't surprise you to learn that the routine is branded as Plaxo as well as containing a small marketing message inviting people to sign-up for Plaxo. Others will disagree and possibly direct me to other open sources facilities that do the same (please do), but I think this is an excellent trade for both web sites.

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posted by John Wilson @ 8:23 AM Permanent Link newsvine reddit


At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a scary story:


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