Social Networking End Game

2 minute read

About once a day I get an email from either LinkedIn (url purposefully not included) or Plaxo (again, url purposefully not included).

Let’s talk about Plaxo first. Here’s the scenario: you want to keep your address book up-to-date so Plaxo (amongst others) is the “free” service you choose. Have you ever read the fine print? Basically if Plaxo sells their business your privacy rights go out the window because they can sell your contact information too. Don’t get me wrong, Plaxo is a great idea in theory — but I guess I just don’t grok the difficulty of mananaging an address book without it. Also, maybe I’m paranoid but basically Plaxo is a direct marketers ideal tool — people enter in and then help validate hundreds of thousands of email addresses, phone numbers, and addresses. Gee, I’m excited about all the new junk and spam mail I’m sure I’m soon to recieve. Thanks.

Then there is “Linked In”. Linked in is viral marketing at its best and utterly annoying …and, I’ll admit it, I keep getting sucked in thinking that having a “network” will someone result in some uber positive experience. So far… nada mucho. Linked in appeals to the type “A” personalities that like to compete and play ego warfare. I mean, so what if you’ve got a network 5,000 plus people. Is that even useful? Personally, I would think the people with smaller < 50 people lists are more valuable.

Part of my skepticism comes from trying to understand what business both Plaxo and Link In are in and how they make their money. Nothing is free and it just seems like both of these companies are helping build a direct marketers dream “customer” database.

Btw, I’m in Linked In as …see? It’s just addictive 🙂


Stacy from Plaxo sent me a nice mail to inform me that my information wasn’t exactly correct about Plaxo:

The truth is – if Plaxo sells our business – your privacy rights (and the rights of any Plaxo member) do NOT go out the window. Your privacy rights are maintained exactly as is – safe and secure.

She adds a lot more that I snipped out (I imagine they must hear this a lot). Thanks Stacy, that’s great news! Too be honest that does make Plaxo a lot more appealing.

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