I remember getting my first Plaxo requests in 2002 from business associates asking me to update my contact information so that they could update their address books. I was so intrigued with the number of requests I received that I signed up for Plaxo.
Fast forward a few years and Plaxo became just another social networking site, but always had a powerful address book that sync’d with Outlook, Entourage, and even your Gmail accounts.
“In 2007, we became Plaxo Publishing, a social network aggregator,” said Preston Smalley, General Manager of Plaxo.com at Plaxo, Inc. “After that, we took a hard look at what we were doing and saw that there really wasn’t a need for another social networking site like LinkedIn or Facebook. So we decided to go back to our roots and offer consumers a highly integrated address book.”
In an interview, Smalley told me that Plaxo Basic now has premium features available including de-duping, which was once a paid service.
He also said that since the birthday card feature is one of their customers’ favorite features, Plaxo decided to include it in the basic package. The user can get 50 occasions and birthday reminders and cards.
Facebook informs you of a birthday and you can write on that person’s wall, but Plaxo takes it a step further by offering e-cards, which is a nice way to keep up with your contacts.
In addition, Smalley told me that his company added a paid service called Plaxo Platinum Sync, which actually syncs all of your address books in real time. The service is $59.99.
The big news is the introduction of Plaxo Personal Assistant which, for $79.99 a year, will automatically update your contact information using social networking sites, Zoom Info, and other online sites.
“The great thing about this is you can accept or reject the address book change. You have complete control,” said Smalley.
He said if a customer wanted both the Plaxo Platinum and the Plaxo Personal Assistant, then he or she would only pay $119.98/year or $10/month for both.
“This is a perfect platform for people on the go,” Smalley said. “We designed this product for those who feel that contacts and up to date information [are] important.”
When asked if the improved Plaxo syncs with someone’s contact management system (CMS), he told me that they are working on this.
Personally, I would love a feature like that, especially since I use Batchbook for all my contacts.
What’s also unique is that this product syncs with all leading mobile platforms. Smalley said they even have apps for iPhones, Blackberries, and Droids.
There are 50 million people who use Plaxo, with three billion contacts. Fifty percent are located in the U.S.