Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Plaxo moving ahead. But where?

I just noticed two new features from Plaxo (since the Pulse and OpenID ones I mentioned here).

First, they have launced an Online Identity Consolidator. This has been mentioned by Robert Scoble and Kristen Nicole at Mashable.

Here I learned something new. The use of rel='me' linktag. [Note to self: a) read more on this b) add to my sites]. The source code is provided as open source.

This is one step towards how my multiple online identitiers can be easily tied together.

Second, Plaxo have enabled the use of (I am at A way for you to make some parts of your Plaxo profile available on a web page. This also ties into the first feature, as the page adds rel='me'-tags to sites you have specified.

I am a bit concerned over this second one, as it seems to publish information I specified to be available to people who already know my work email address (and keep it in Plaxo). Will this mean that this information can be collected by spiders and bots? I have not found a way to specify what shall be published on the page versus what information is "public" to Plaxo users who know my email address. Any comments from Plaxo?

Still I see Plaxo as very much targetting advanced business users and social media early movers. Still missing a really good consumer (mass market) proposition.

It is however interesting to see Plaxo move ahead in this space. I already like the address book synchronization features (but when do we get Gmail sync..?). The recent additions takes Plaxo further into the social networking aspects. Where will they go from here? And where are the other players heading?

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Blogger Joseph Smarr said...

Johan-thanks for your feedback! It's true that if you sign up for a public nickname, your public contact info will be there--though we obfuscate the e-mail addresses using JavaScript to deter scraping them. As for posting web sites with rel="me", you have full control over which sites to publish.

If you don't want ANY contact info on your public profile, you should either make both cards private or not use a public nickname. We'd talked about having another level of "super public" for "public without knowing my email address", and we may still do that, but we don't want things to be too confusing, and I think what we've done now is compatible with the spirit of what most people want when they make their business info public.

As for the direction of our service, while it's true we're quite popular with business professionals, we've always been a mass consumer service whose goal was to help you stay in touch with people you care about--both personally and professionally. For instance, birthday reminders are one of our most popular features, and in pulse, the ability to share selected content with only your family or friends is something people seem to really like. Are there other things you'd like to see Plaxo do to be more consumer-friendly?

Thanks! js

PS: And yes, we're still working on being an OpenID provider! ;)

August 29, 2007 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger Johan Myrberger said...

Joseph - thanks for your comment!

Three direct things:

A) I can not recall signing up for a public nickname. (I might be wring, but..) When I found the two new features I thought it'd be nice to get a page. I had actually seen these before, but only for Plaxo employees.

What I did was simply trying a few of my "public usernames", including myrberger, by surfing to and found my page. As I said, I can't recall actually setting this up.

B)The problem for me with the current "public" profile, which to a large degree is the same as the business profile in Plaxo, is that the public profile (business) is a "single entity" profile. It currently holds my daily work information, which is what I right now mainly want to share with my contacts. However, eg the role I have here, on this blog - where does that fit? It is not related to my employee, but the role is some kind of public role in the business space.

C) And for the super public profile. I'd like that, but agree that thing shall be kept as simple as possible.

As for other things that will make Plaxo more consumer friendly. Hm, I'll write another post about Plaxo when i get some more time. Keep up to nice work, I will continie to look for new features.

September 3, 2007 at 10:22 AM  

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