Plaxo with caution

I just reinstalled Plaxo, in order to get my address book back after my laptop died. I updated […]

I just reinstalled Plaxo, in order to get my address book back after my laptop died. I updated my business card. Little did I know, Plaxo emailed all my contacts. I was not warned, I was not told I should double check my spelling or information before sending it out… nope, Plaxo just took it upon itself to spam everyone with the new card. This program’s bad UI choices has now endangered relationships. I am steaming mad, and cannot figure out how to counter this amazing faux pas of software, except to uninstall Plaxo and warn everyone else I can find not to use it.

update: Be sure to read the comments


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  1. 1
    George Girton

    If no one tries out new things, how will we proceed? Sometimes one gets burned. This is what you will tell the endangered ones. In the meantime, I have a pal who uses Plaxo. (I didn’t sign up) Should he really uninstall?

  2. 2
    Stacy Martin

    My name is Stacy Martin and I am the Privacy Officer here at Plaxo responsible for addressing Privacy, Security, and Trust issues pertaining to the usage of Plaxo.

    Plaxo does not email your contacts any information without the action and approval of the Plaxo member. Perhaps you can contact me directly so we can determine what may have occurred in your case.

    To explain a bit of how Plaxo works: when a user first successfully installs Plaxo, the default action is to launch the Update Contacts Wizard.

    This wizard walks the Plaxo member through 3 simple steps for sending an Update Request message. No Update Request message will be sent without the user first successfully completing the entire wizard process and approving the action.

    As part of this process, the Plaxo member must select who they wish to send the Update Request to, what personalized message they wish to include within the Update Request message, and what information of their own they wish to attach to the message. After completing these steps, the Plaxo member is shown a summary of what action will be take and then they must approve and then confirm the action (two separate steps) before anything is executed. At any step in the process, the member can also choose to abort.

    But if you believe that something else may have occurred in your case, please let me know so we can investigate and figure out what may have occurred.

    On a related note, when you change your Plaxo card information, Plaxo will automatically update those other Plaxo member you have previously granted permission to your Plaxo card information. Plaxo will automatically update your entry within their address books, and send the Plaxo member an Alert email to inform them of the action. This is the fundamental syncronization service that Plaxo provides to keep friends, family and associates updated. Is is possible that some of your friends may also be Plaxo members and received this type of Plaxo Alert email?

    Please let me know. My contact info is below.

    Stacy Martin
    Plaxo Privacy Officer
    privacy @t

  3. 3

    Hi Stacy,

    From your description above, my guess is that Plaxo did not contact everyone, just fellow Plaxo users. Like many plaxo users, I had not read how things worked since the last time I installed Plaxo, a year ago. I would STRONGLY recommend letting people know that the updated card will be sent to other plaxo users and to double check the information before locking it down.

    I’ve uninstalled it, because I can’t help but feel plaxo will do things without me knowing, and that makes me nervous. With the prevalence of spam, I can’t be held responsible for instigating unsolicited mail. But I do value the service, and respect how quickly you responded. If you let me know that this bug/feature has been changed so people are warned *every* time they are triggering a email and can opt out of it (you guys are notification-crazy) I will reinstall and keep using it.

  4. 4
    Stacy Martin

    Hi Christina,

    Correct – Plaxo only attempted to update those Plaxo members that you have allowed access to your Plaxo card information, AND who maintain you within their own address books. As I mentioned earlier, these people would have been updated and then sent a Plaxo Alert email.

    But it’s an interesting comment you make about “letting people know that the updated card will be sent to other Plaxo users”. It’s interesting, because from a contact management standpoint, this is fundamentally how Plaxo works: to automatically update those people you wish to keep updated, and to automatically stay updated with those people you wish to stay updated with. Your comment serves to remind us that we need to continue to do a better job educating people to how Plaxo works.

    Update Requests emails are only necessary to communicate with people who are non-Plaxo members. But as more of your contacts join Plaxo and grant you access to their card information, your address book becomes “self-updating”. Anytime they change their information, you are automatically updated (and notified). And the reverse can be true as well. Anytime you change your information, your friends (who are Plaxo members) are updated.

    In an ideal scenario, Plaxo members don’t have to send out any additional email, or perform any additional action beyond managing their own contact information. Your address book will also have the latest and most accurate information for all of your contacts, automatically and people will always have your updated information.

    As for being notification-crazy, I must humbly agree. But because contact information is so sensitive to people, we want to make sure the Plaxo member is always aware of what actions are being taken, and that they have complete control over this process. We therefore perhaps lean on side of over-communicating changes to the Plaxo member, rather than under-communicating changes.

    But Plaxo members can individually control the updates and notifications they receive. Plaxo members can turn off automatic updates, allowing them to review changes before they are performed. In addition, Plaxo members can also turn off notifications through their Preference settings.

    But thanks for your comments and feedback. We’ll try to use them to continue to make things clearer and easier for Plaxo members.

    I hope this helps,

    Stacy Martin

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