Now That Plaxo Spam Has Annoyed Enough People, It's Time To Fade It Out?

from the dubious-reasons dept

For years, plenty of people have complained repeatedly about the scourge of “Plaxo spam.” These are the constant bombardment of emails from new Plaxo users who have you in their address book, asking you to update your contact info. Often (at least in my case) these came from people I did not actually know — and the worst offenders had the system send out such an email on a regular basis. Every time people complain about this online, however, a representative from Plaxo shows up to point out that you wouldn’t get this spam if you just signed up and used Plaxo’s software. This response has obvious problems, as it’s essentially saying “we’re going to bug you until you sign up.” The company did finally offer a global opt-out after a lot of complaints, but it still put the responsibility on the recipient to opt-out of the Plaxo spam. It appears, now, that the company has recognized for a while the annoyance this creates, but specifically chose not to stop it until they had enough people signed up for their system. The company is now admitting that they’ll be slowly making the “spam everyone” feature less prominent and will stop encouraging new users to send out such emails. Their rationale is, basically, that they got enough people to sign up that they don’t need to do this any more — which isn’t particularly encouraging. It means they’ve known for a while that this was bad and annoying, but kept at it. Of course, in the link above, Jeremy Wagstaff also challenges the company’s claims that it really has so many users — as he believes an awful lot of Plaxo accounts are dormant.

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Comments on “Now That Plaxo Spam Has Annoyed Enough People, It's Time To Fade It Out?”

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Dan says:

A lot of dormant accounts?

You mean now it’s like Yahoo – with hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of “users” that are nothing more than accounts created to run the spambots in Yahoo chat and to send 419 scam spams?

What a shocker. No really. I can’t believe that small outfits would emulate the “market leaders”.

More likely what happened to plaxo is that they ended up in enough block lists that they gave up. Anyone that hasn’t blocked them yet is a bit behind the times, non?

Rick says:

Actually like Plaxo for what it is

I have used Plaxo, responsibly, for years and love it. I have made two moves since signing up and it was great to get emails from friends sent to my new email address even though I had not sent out anything on my own. I can see how this can be misused, I have personally never gotten a junk mail from Plaxo, but isn’t everything out there capable of being used the wrong way by the predatory/animal part of the human race? Let’s not ban everything just because people don’t know the benefits and scumbags can’t be honest.

Juhani Polkko (user link) says:

Proven tactic

Same thing worked great for – at least when it came to getting critical mass of users signed up with minimal cost. Many sites, including MySpace, uses the same method as Automatic webmail address book import. Users really trust these sites a lot when giving out their email password; pretty scary, eh?

Anyways, when it comes to and Plaxo – what’s the exit plan for a company which pisses everybody off? Don’t get me wrong, I love Plaxo, but it’s actually very thin line between doing viral marketing right (MySpace) and wrong ( Plaxo is somewhere between those two.


Jeff says:

Companies should not do bad things ...

… when they know it is a questionable tactic to gain users. Be creative and smart – not malicious – about viral marketing.

Side note on – this company is evil beyond the Plaxo model (or any other spam model for that matter). not only hijacks your address book but then they spam your address book with “join” premium SMS messages (to those in your address book with a mobile number) with a .25 cent charge attached. So not only annoying but costing your contacts money for the premium text message (which is sent at relentless resend rate)

Mike (profile) says:

Re: A Powerful Business Tool

Sounds pretty straight forward to me. Don’t sign up for the spam.

This isn’t about “signing up” for the spam — but receiving it from a bunch of people who bug you with their alerts.

You call it a great business tool? I actually feel the opposite. The business colleagues who use Plaxo to bug me get moved down a notch. The people who matter know to contact me personally and to stay in touch through their own doing, not some software program.

Ben Lockett says:

Re: Re: A Powerful Business Tool

I was referring to people signing up.

Sounds like you don’t have too many contacts to manage. As a sales person I have over 800 contacts. I keep them all on Plaxo which means that my Outlook address book and my synchronized phone are always up to date.

I’ve never had anyone complain. But then I do not have the Spam option turned on, which is the responsible thing to do.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: A Powerful Business Tool

I was referring to people signing up.

But that’s not the problem. You said earlier that this was no big deal because people just had to sign up for the non-spam option. The problem is that so many people *do* sign up for the spam option — in part because Plaxo has encouraged it in the past.

Sounds like you don’t have too many contacts to manage. As a sales person I have over 800 contacts. I keep them all on Plaxo which means that my Outlook address book and my synchronized phone are always up to date.

I have plenty of contacts to manage, but I do it the old fashioned way: staying in touch with them.

I’ve never had anyone complain. But then I do not have the Spam option turned on, which is the responsible thing to do.

Indeed, you are being responsible — but the whole point is that many people have not been responsible, and Plaxo has (at least in the past) encouraged people to not do the right thing.

Plaxo would be great if it just worked between Plaxo users who all agreed and opted-in to the system. However, because they didn’t have enough users, for years they encouraged the spamming. That’s the problem we’re pointing out. It’s good that you’re a responsible Plaxo user and you find it useful with other Plaxo users, but that doesn’t mean that us non-Plaxo users should be fine with the barrage of spam we got.

Marie says:

Plaxo is a pain in the ass.

I have a lot of different email addresses, so “opting out” at Plaxo wouldn’t help a bit, unless I gave them every address I use – and why should I? That’s personal info. I don’t want any of my details in the Plaxo database.

My solution to Plaxo spam has been to delete FROM MY LIFE the Plaxo users who have me in their Plaxo address books. No friend would give my details to Plaxo – they all know better. So the only good thing about Plaxo is that Plaxo flags the aquaintances and business contacts who have no further place in my mailbox, or in my life.

Adam says:


Great comment Juhani.

Plaxo and LinkedIn need to merge their services, perhaps with CareerBuilder. Unfortunately, many sites (like Evite) are trying to slowly integrate the good aspects of the good community sites without really adding any value to users. I get lots of Plaxo and LinkedIn spam and would love if I got a daily update from both of them at once instead.

Anonymous Coward says:

Use Responsible

I use Plaxo the right way. Didn’t send out that mass email crap at the first though the way they word the message makes it sound interesting.

Instead I only send the request to people I know. If you use the custom message part of the function and explain what the hell the request is for it works perfectly…if you use the default Plaxo msg you look like big fat spammer.

Kevin Perkins (user link) says:

Plaxo okay here

I guess I “know better” to slam my entire address book with their Find Other Members feature. Maybe newbies might not realize the impact. All-in-all, however, I find Plaxo to be a really great way to centralize my contacts. As an example: I recently switched out laptops, did a Plaxo sync with Outlook, and bam!… everything was there.

DJ Tek (user link) says:

Mission Critical App

I literally can’t live with out Plaxo. As a key member in the entertainment industry, your contacts are essential. Plaxo allows me to main constant contact with people and keep all my contacts current. It also allows my address book in all my mobile devices to stay in sync. I could not live without my blackberry, my MDA, outlook at home and work and now my nextel to not stay in sync. It’s increadible… I just forced everyone at my label to utilize the service because numbers are always changing. I think also that it was an excellent idea that they are intergrated into AOL Instant Messenger. Although the intergration could be a hell of a lot better, its a good start…..

Long live plaxo!!!!

jennifer ross says:

Plaxo spam +

When is plaxo going to stop facilitating identity theft?

I have been suffering for months from plaxo “introductions” of people I know and don’t know who have seen my email address in plaxo’s system, as a result of being placed in the system by an email address forger with an AOL account.

Plaxo ignores all complaints sent by email to and As a matter of fact, I bet email sent to both of those addresses are sent to /dev/null.

I wish I knew how to prevent all this plaxo spam telling me some stranger-friend-of-the-forger has added my email address to their plaxo buddy scam universe.

I wish i didn’t have to explain to my friends asking me why I don’t add them to whatever-the-hell-product plaxo has that they use, because they’ve seen my email address registered by this forger in the AOL plaxo whateverthehellspamiverse.

All I want is for AOL and Plaxo to remove my fscking email address from their systems and databases and products and wherever the hell else the forger has fraudulently “provided” permssion.

I wish Plaxo would apologize for all the people who’ve fraudulently added my email address to their spamiverse without my knowledge or permission.

I wish Plaxo had a phone number readily available on their website so I could call them and waste even more of my time complaining to this careless identity theft facilitating corporation.

plusaf (user link) says:

use it intelligently

i’ve recommended plaxo to many friends and sent many invites to folks in my outlook contacts list, too, but when plaxo gave me the list of “whom to invite” i didn’t add folks like my lawn maintenance guys or dentist, but of course, did add… 🙂 …… as a result, probably a dozen or more folks joined and now i can stay in contact with them. i also used plaxo to help me track down nearly a dozen folks i used to work with over several companies and three decades. it’s great to be able to catch up with them and be in touch.

clicking the “send to all” is stupid, inconsiderate and lazy on the part of the user; it wastes plaxo and net resources to send the extra messages, but maybe when that kind of user gets a few dozen “not interested” or “no user by that name” replies, they might get a clue… don’t bet on it…. before i retired, i spent a total of many hours trying to teach people that “reply to all” to tell the sender to not send them messages creates an email storm of incredible proportions… some never got the clue…. it takes all kinds….

Charles says:

plaxo is evil and sneaky

I never signed up for it, I never invited any friends, yet I am getting responses from friends as if I had requested to connect with them.

I am on a dozen other social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, LiveJournal, etc). I have never had this problem with any other network except for Plaxo.

Talk about unethical and slimy company.

I bet the positive comments in this thread are employees of Plaxo or their PR firm, hired to put fake positive comments.

Frank Tunk says:

Plaxo invites FOR me!!

Last straw happened the other day.

After first finding out PLAXO would not allow me to delete double and even triple repeated contacts in my directory easily without paying for premium, I figured I wouldn’t be long for it. Used it a few time but have had it for years. After years of receiving invites and announcements that people 2-3 degrees away from me had joined (after I’d opted out of these emails) I finally acted when someone I know “accepted” my invite. Problem was I’d never sent them an invite!

This thing grows on its own and uses email addresses found on its partner sites to build itself. IT’S ALIVE!!!

Kail says:

Just do it

Just like with Auckland, Christchurch was a city that many Kiwis and fellow backpackers told us not to waste too much time visiting. While the girls and I preferred to stay in Queenstown as long as possible, we were booked on a flight out of Christchurch, so it made sense to crash there for at least a night or two prior to our departure. As it turned out, The Lost Girls’ take on the city was a little different from all the ‘naysayers’ that had come before us. Lush botanical gardens, narrow, cobble stone streets, lively buskers, sweeping gothic steeples and colonial-era architecture gave Christchurch a unique and elegant charm that reminded us of Boston. Slightly burnt out from our 3 ? week race across the country, Holly, Amanda and I greeted Christchurch with open arms. It was the perfect place for us to relax and refuel for a couple days before jetting off to Sydney. Between long jogs in the injection molding park, movies nights at the local cinema, a free buffet dinner at the city casino (hey, we had a coupon, alright!), beers at the neighborhood pub and scaffolding impromptu photo shoots in town square, the girls and I perfected the art of Christchurch Chillin’ and arrived at the airport refreshed and excited to take China printing on our last destination

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