TheSocialNetworker Episode 22 – Plaxo is reborn

I was shocked to run into the Plaxo team at SXSW with a new initiative.  They are restructuring their focus back into address book management.  This was their beginning before they strayed into trying to compete with other social networks.  While they had the connectivity framework built by you holding an addres book on the site, they missed bringing in features to be a killer social network.

Luckily their CEO, Justin Miller, has made a stellar quote:

Plaxo is back and we’ve got a relentless focus on the address book

A good strategic shift with companies like Gist being bought by Research In Motion (RIM or BlackBerry as some know them).  Plaxo has rebranded and added features to make a suite, with some free and some paid, which I cover in the below screencast.

Plaxo Basic: Unification of fragmented contact info, access anywhere, anytime; now includes Plaxo De-Duper (free service)
Plaxo for Mobile: Apps for iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile (free service);  Android app coming soon
Plaxo eCards: Cards for 50+ occasions and birthday reminders (free/paid service)
Plaxo Platinum Sync: Two-way, real-time sync keeps your address book consistent and accessible from the essential communication tools you use (paid service)
Plaxo Personal Assistant: New intelligent productivity service which automatically maintains critical address book information (paid service)
Pricing: Platinum Sync and Personal Assistant are offered individually or at a discount when purchased together

Plaxo is also making some more changes in 2011 to add tighter integration with Microsoft Outlook, adding new platforms and updating others, and adding more data sources to complete listings in your address book.

I did not totally agree with their pricing model yet, as it seemed high for entry and to get people onboarded.  They also want to sync contacts everywhere which is a conundrum for people like myself that want Facebook to be private friends, one Google account to be business and another personal.

While you can manipulate the settings to have them collect and consolidate the data, it is tricky to allow some data to overwrite, some to sync and others to build from sources without losing something unique you may have.  So be cautious when you begin testing and clicking options.

In the end Plaxo has a huge wall to scale to get it’s name back as the contact management resource. The tools they are offering could help escalate them quickly, mainly if the mobile applications provide as much functionality as promised.

Related postings:

  • Preston Smalley

    Thanks Chris for your review of our recent release at Plaxo. We hope that our new Plaxo Personal Assistant will enable people to keep their address book up-to-date with a bit less effort on their part and that others will appreciate us making the de-duper and mobile apps free as part of Plaxo Basic.

    Two clarifications I thought I’d make:
    1. Whenever people import from more than one place as you did (e.g. Gmail and Outlook) if there are common contacts between the two some duplicates are made. Our importers will automatically merge most exact matches but others we leave for you to review when you run our free De-Duper–so you can decide how best (or whether) to merge them.
    2. Gist and other Social CRM services bring in information from a variety of sources on the web (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn) but don’t actually sync the contact information. By doing a live, 2-way sync, as Plaxo’s service does, you can be sure your contact information isn’t just available to you on the web but on your mobile device or in your email client where you need it most.

    Preston Smalley

  • IdoNotes

    I think I addressed the gist mention by covering the point some may want a dashboard and not to sync. Such as a business phone and personal phone scenario.

    I never really noticed the ads before. It is what happens when you pay attention. Lol

    I figured the issue was multiple sources. The merging process was missing something. I am not sure what it is yet and will revisit.

    I will load the iPhone version shortly and take a look. I do a lot of ui testing for sites pretending to be a “normal” user. That is where much if my direction comes from.

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