Plaxo Does Have A Business Model... But Not Really

from the that's-it?!? dept

I'll admit that I have not been kind to Plaxo in the past. Ever since the service was first announced, it sounded like a bubble era pointless dot com. There was a lot of hype about the young founder (previously founded Napster!) and the "service" itself didn't seem like much of a product. At most, it was a feature of a larger product, and that larger product might just turn out to be something like Microsoft Outlook. If the system was remotely useful, you would think that Microsoft would just build it in to Outlook. However, it didn't even seem that useful. If anything, I expected it to be annoying - and has it ever been annoying. I now block all Plaxo requests, but for a while, the amount of Plaxo spam was ridiculous. Then, of course, there's the privacy question. While Plaxo now goes to great lengths to swear up and down that they keep your info private, they don't seem to understand the real privacy complaint: when your friends give your address to some 3rd party service, are they violating your privacy? It's a question that's not entirely clear. In the meantime, this was all made worse by the fact that Plaxo still didn't have anything remotely resembling a business model (shades of the bubble era again...). Well, now they claim they've solved that issue, and have announced that their business model is a $20/year paid version for which you'll get such great features as... well, they actually don't seem to know yet. You will get better customer support though. It always worries me when companies decide that better customer support is a premium "feature," because they've just set up the incentives to mean that they give the absolute worst customer support to anyone not in that tier. This doesn't seem particularly compelling. They're basically saying their new business model is that they'll annoy me less if I pay? No thanks...
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  1. identicon
    Hal, 24 May 2004 @ 8:38am

    Isn't this the standard open-source business model

    While I don't agree with you about how useful plaxo has been for me, I do have to question your observations about their business model. It sure seems like the standard open-source business model to me. Give it away for free and then change for the important extra's, such as support.

    In the end, I think we'll find this model doesn't a business make.


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