Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Apologies to friends who use Plaxo, but I'm opting out of Plaxo since it has become a source of spam for me and I feel like I'm doing all the work. Anyone who wants to find my contact info can just Google me or find it on my wiki page.

via Dan Gillmor


plaxo had me feeling similarly overwelmed, until i reached a similar conclusion. i would, of course, sympathize with the pain you've been feeling you - but why - you'll soon be sane again now that you've turned plaxo off. best decision i've made in 2-3 years - now that i'm FREE, i wonder why it took me so long to break the chains; ah - it's 2 months post the plaxo deinstall and I can rest assured knowing that none of my contacts have vanquished - in fact, a few friends followed my lead after learning that I survived the affair UNSCATHED. dumping plaxo may not hold the key to happiness though it helps.

Funny, 3 times the same reply to a blog entry on spam ;)

I never understood the need for something as Plaxo. I see contacts as content, if not used it becomes stale and old, if used they will remain fresh and updated.

I guess there's two basic kinds of internet products: those that increase the average number of e-mails you get and those that decrease the average (And that includes non-spam, as well).

email is dead


I block all of those social networking sites as soon as I become aware of them, at the MTA level. I currently have the following listed: (moribund now)

Anyone know of any I'm missing?

I find them invasive, annoying, and a recipe for awkward social situations. Possibly dangerous as well - see for a little bit of (crude, sorry) social commentary on the risks of documenting one's social network for all to see.

rs: * ?

The comedy of the commons...

zephoria: while * is also a "recipe for awkward social situations", i mitigate the risk by rarely having more than one drink. ;-)

Strangely, I haven't had much difficulty with evite - maybe one or two a year - but I sure do wish they sent out something with an intellegible text/plain part.

I've written about Plaxo a couple times now. My main point against them is the point that's already raised: what happens with your contact details, whilst at Plaxo's server. Plaxo doesn't seems to have a real business plan for the wealth of information at their fingertips.
But another, maybe just as important point is this: I notice some lasiness in peoples willingness to put time into keeping contact details up-to-date. Now Plaxo arrives, offering to do this for them, for free. How convenient. But what they don't remember is that keeping your contact base 'fresh' so to say is keeping in touch with your clients yourself. It definetely *will* take you time. Letting this be done by someone else will not be profitable in the end

just my $0.02

Yes. I guess that's part of my point. If Plaxo came to get information that I was making available, that would be one thing, but I have to type my information for every single Plaxo user that decides to "update" me.

With no disrespect intended, Joi, that's not really true.

You have at least two other options:
- You can ignore the Plaxo requests from people you don't know or don't care about.
- You can join Plaxo and stop receiving the requests altogether (since it'll automatically handle requests).

Personally, I use and definitely like Plaxo. I've had very, very few complaints from friends. But then again, I'm not stupid enough to send contact-update-requests to people I don't already know. Since you're a veritable celebrity, at least on the Net, I'm not surprised that you've had to bear the brunt of communications / contact-requests from exponentially more idiots than I face daily.

In other words, so many of the complaints I'm seeing about Plaxo are really against Stupid Users. It's like saying the Internet is evil or email is evil because it allows people to send those annoying chain letters.

Plaxo, by itself, is a tool. Many people, unfortunately, misuse it... spamming people they barely know or don't know at all with requests. Perhaps Plaxo should engage in some "Using Plaxo Responsibly" education with its users, e.g.:

"Most people wouldn't call up their favorite journalist or baseball star or CEO and ask them, point blank, for their full contact info. Plaxo etiquette is no different. Unless you know the person *AND* they know you, don't send them a Plaxo request... just as you (hopefully) wouldn't call them up or stop them on the street to ask them for personal info."

In summary, blame the clueless users, not the tools. Plaxo is no more spam than Outlook-with-distribution-list-capability is spam.

Adam, unfortunately I am on a Mac and can't sign up for Plaxo even if I wanted to. I would like to see a contact management system that could figure out where my contact info was and get it. In addition, I wish I could just set access control for private contact info. Even if it's from people I know, I still find it annoying to get mounds of Plaxo mail asking me to type in my contact info over and over again...

I definitely hear you on the annoyance thing. As I posted somewhere else recently, if I were getting a zillion of requests -- often from people I don't know -- I would also be pretty peeved and not likely to be too fond of the Plaxo brand.

But actually, I believe you can sign up for and use Plaxo via the Web. Since you can always revoke your membership, you may want to give that a try and see if it is useful for you.

I did revoke my membership after a few days of use: I was feeling quite uncomfortable to know my address book was possibly out in someone else's machine (Plaxo, first);
even after this revoking I don't know if in fact Plaxo has or has not my address book in their data!!

Joi --

I'd definitely recommend that you sign up at Fill in whatever personal info you feel comfortable sharing, set it to "Anyone who knows my email address can access this card", and you'll never be bothered again *and* people will get replies with your up-to-date info. Everybody wins!



When I first heard about Plaxo, I signed up to the online version of the account . I seem to remember that finding the online version is not easy--you have to do something really strange like click on the "download" button and search around. At least it will cease to bother you with update requests.

Some of the web-ui behaves strangely in Safari. The most bothersome is the fact that the quick-add contact by email feature doesn't seem to work. Oh wait, since I am a web developer at Plaxo, I suppose that this is my fault. :-) (Give me some time to get used to the job, or e-mail me directly.)

In any case. since I often keep some contact information public (and so, it seems, do you), it seems sensible to at least have set up an auto-reply account with that public information anyway. Since information is on the bottom of every opt-out link of the e-mail you've been innundated with from people who probably don't understand how the service works.

From the online account, you can do the same thing you desire by setting your business card to publicly viewable, disabling all e-mail notifications, and logging in periodically and choosing which people can view your private information.

It is understandable that some people might have tin-foil hat issues. But given that you have such a great public face via your blog--heck, looking at your Orkut rating alone, it seems you are not one of them and your issue is the practical ones you've stated (and hopefully I've addressed).

Or is the Macintosh your religion? If so, e-mail me, I've been a Mac user since 1985 and use it as my main development platform: IE for Windows is the bane of my existence. We can commiserate. :-)

Hate it, its invasive and keeps popping up, how do I get rid of it.


To my knowledge, Plaxo doesn't implement popups or "pop up" anywhere. It sounds to me like you have spyware installed that is unrelated to Plaxo. Do a google search on "spyware"

As for getting rid of Plaxo, there are many levels of this from simply blocking any update request e-mail with an auto-reply, removing an Outlook signature you created, to removing all the data and uninstall Plaxo. To figure out how to do this, go to and type "remove" and select the thing you want to do.

Disclaimer: I am a web engineer at Plaxo. I'm also primarily a Mac user so am not familiar with the Plaxo Outlook client.

I don't appreciate or trust a company like Plaxo that sneaks in like a Trojan horse and uplifts all my private contacts; then sending their commercialism with my name at the end of the message...without my knowledge. Henceforth, leading some of my contacts to think that i have wormed them. Can't blame anybody but my own stupidy on this one. But I can assure you there are quite a few people who would want these thieves in a room for about 10 minutes including myself!!!!! shame on your ethics.

How I can uninstall Plaxo as I ma getting message that "Plaxo is still running. Pl close any contact management applications (outlook, outlook express) and try uninstalling again". This is inspite of the fact that I have logged out off all the applications. Pl guide.

I had one hell of a time getting rid of plaxo - still not finished. Any ideas ?

I`ve been trying for a few days to delete my Plaxo account, but their Customer Care section seem deliberately to confuse what should be a simple process..
In an e-mail today they thank me for contacting them and show two steps to take. together with "if you are finding difficulty.... please respond to this e-mail ...and we will delete the account for you " Needless to say, the two steps seemed designed to confuse and did not work. A separate e-mail asking for a deletion has so far gone unanswered.

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Joi: Opting out of Plaxo from JayAllen - The Daily Journey
April 8, 2004 11:19 PM

Amen... I own a Macintosh. Last time I looked, Macs were red-headed step children as far as Plaxo is concerned.... Read More

Crapback from Random Bytes
April 9, 2004 1:49 PM

Man, I am such a LOSER!

Sorry for sending that trackback detritus your way Joi.

Mental note: ta...

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