AOL To Integrate Plaxo -- Get Ready For Plaxo Spam Influx

from the oh-great dept

Uh oh. For those who remember, the September that never ended was when AOL users were suddenly let loose on Usenet, and what was once useful, was filled with a ton of somewhat clueless posters who made it difficult to filter through the muck. Today, AOL announced plans to integrate Plaxo's tools into AIM. Considering the amount of Plaxo spam that already is out there, do we really need to make it even easier to bug people every few months about their contact info? Almost all of the Plaxo spam I receive is from people I do not know. I don't know why I'm in their address book -- and I don't know why they've told Plaxo they know me. So, do we really need millions of AOL users who don't quite realize that they're about to spam everyone they ever spoke to, and handing them a tool to do so? Update: A Plaxo representative has given an in-depth rebuttal in the comments that's worth reading. I still find the claim that you only get spammed if you're a "non-Plaxo member" to be a bit disingenuous. It's telling me if I only signed up, I'd avoid these messages. However, the other points made are certainly valid, and clearly Plaxo is making a big effort to deal with some of the early complaints about the service. The note also points out that (thankfully!) part of the AOL agreement is that the initial process of spamming everyone you know has been removed from the startup wizard -- so hopefully the results won't be quite so annoying for those of us who prefer not to use their service.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2005 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Getting the facts correct about Plaxo and AOL

    this is all hot air.

    "we are simply the email service provider and not the sender of the message" -- so ISPs that allow users to send out spam can hold their hands up as blameless? I think you'd be hard pressed to argue that.

    If Plaxo really, truly, cared about privacy, rather than having someone called a "privacy officer" who seems to do little more than comment into submission anybody who dares to question her company and its business practices, it would take the time and resources to realize it's looking at this situation completely backwards -- people don't take lightly to your messages because they act JUST LIKE SPAM: they come in, uninvited and unannounced, and don't stop until the recipient takes some action to make them stop. If the process were reversed, where recipients could opt in or be invited in, perhaps it wouldn't rub people the wrong way.

    BTW, about 6 years ago, this book came out called "Permission Marketing" by a guy named Seth Godin. It was pretty popular at the time -- in fact it was pretty much required reading as it helped transform marketing and Internet marketing in particular. Don't know if you were too young to absorb it or what, but you might want to catch up to the rest of the Net and check it out.

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