February 20, 2005

Plaxo, Ringo and Bebo

Keeping ones address book in sync has never been easy. People move, and forget to tell you where. Changing e-mail address is at times more popular than changing underwear. As a result trying to keeping things up-to-date has been the driving force behind many a website.

Lately I have been introduced to Ringo and Bebo. Previously Plaxo has been somewhat popular. Before that I used Sixdegrees and Planet All. The two latter disappeared after a short while. I expect the new joiners to do the same. The problem; no critical mass. I have a few friends on each, mainly because they invited me. But a few friends doesn't solve the big out-of-sync address book. And it never will. And then Ringo, Bebo and Plaxo will disappear too. The right product, the wrong crowd.

Hopefully someone with more clout steps up to the bat. This must be something for MSN Hotmail, Google or Yahoo! to sort out. Only with sites that large can we hope to solve the out-of-sync address book problem...

PS: With regards to Bebo and Ringo; their creativity is limited; they seem to run on the same software. So much for competitive edge. Geez.

Posted by ludvig at February 20, 2005 11:22 PM | TrackBack

I'm biased, since I work for Plaxo, but I think it's a good bet that we'll be around for the long haul. Really sharp new CEO, super-bright colleagues, and lots of neat stuff coming down the pike soon :).

I do understand the frustrations of having friends on different services, though. Even though Plaxo is undoubtedly the largest (with 5 million members), I still have friends on other services. And as you can imagine, interoperability is challenged by valid privacy and data-sharing concerns.

Oh, and I fondly remember PlanetAll! I even met up with the team in Cambridge, MA, before Amazon.com bought the company out, inexplicably tore it up, and failed to even ethically leverage the membership base. Stupid stupid stupid.

Anyway, back to Plaxo -- please feel free to offer your feedback and suggestions on our forum at http://forum.plaxo.com. We take conversations with our members very seriously.

Posted by: Adam at February 21, 2005 08:01 AM

The problem of these programs is that they automatically send e-mails every 3 months or so.
Let's say that you have a network of 100 friends. Let's say all of them use the same program: Plaxo, Ringo or whatever.

Question: will you get every while a mail from a friend asking you to update your information or is the system intelligent enough that it will send you (owner of your own account) a single e-mail every 3 months asking to update your information (so that your friends, that have "added you to their list", will have your profile automatically updated)?

Because if you get every 3 months 100 e-mails from your friends using the same system, the system is quite spammy and stupid, isn't it? I hope it's not the case ;).

As you are experienced with these friends-networks programs, it would be nice if you let me know. Thanks.

Posted by: Pol at February 23, 2005 05:17 PM

Bebo and Ringo operate out of the same building. Hmm ...

Posted by: Mujib at February 24, 2005 07:09 AM

I operate bebo.com and wanted to respond to Pol and assure you that you will only receive one email once every 3 months. You update your contact details once and it is updated for ALL of your friends. This is the whole benefit, making life easier.

Posted by: Michael at February 26, 2005 02:33 AM
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