Plaxo, the automated contact updating service, have responded to my last posting (see the comment at the bottom). I don’t think we need to go there any more. Bottom line: At present Plaxo exerts a high degree of access to your address book, and you may want to think carefully before you sign up about whether you want that. That said, Plaxo is a very useful tool, and they seem to be receptive to the idea that some things need to be improved.
For those of you who don’t want Plaxo, and are tired of getting requests from people to join up, here are two solutions from a reader:
- When you get your first Plaxo update email from someone, set up an account with ‘fake’ info, and then edit your ‘card’ and click the ‘register your old e-mail addresses with Plaxo’ link. Put all your email addresses that other people might have there. Then anytime someone requests an update, they’ll get your fake card — with the right email addresses, but nothing more — back. And you won’t hear from them again.
- When you get your first Plaxo update email, don’t sign up but go to this link. Fill in the ‘auto-reply’ form and put in some fake info. “This,” the reader says, “appears to have the same effect. The problem is once you register an email address in Method 1, you can’t use that email address in Method 2.”
The good news: “Either method ensures noone bugs you ever again for the email addresses that you have registered.” Ingenious.
The bad news: “I really dislike the fact that you can’t tell Plaxo to remove your email address from their system completely and forever. They will keep it on their database. This probably breaches the Privacy Acts of some jurisdictions.” Fair point.
I certainly know of many friends who have been deeply annoyed by multiple requests from Plaxo users, and these methods offer a good workaround. But perhaps Plaxo should consider a way for users to ‘opt out’ of the whole Plaxo thing, without having to spoof as this reader does, since this spoofing doesn’t help anybody: The fake information is a nuisance for the recipient, a waste of time for the spoofer, and a waste of space for the Plaxo records. And it still requires Plaxo holding some user data (the email addresses) which clearly offends some folk.
Back to you, Plaxo, for comments?