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Freeware of the Week! [Plaxo]

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Plaxo address bookIt’s a web-based app this week, one that I discovered, though I’ve given it a two-week trial and have since been sucked into like a red blood cell up a vampire’s gullet. I am deeply in love with Plaxo, and can imagine it taking over my other contact management systems soon.

Now, at first blush, Plaxo looks like an address book masquerading as a social network, but don’t be fooled. Plaxo will do you LinkedIn, your Twitter, Flickr, pick up on any blogs or websites you have under the same username, and even allow you to put contacts from one network into another. Plaxo is not so much a social network as a network-friendly address book.

Load up your Google or Outlook, import all of your contacts, and they too can be updated, assigned to groups and generally monstered to suit your purpose.  It doesn’t matter if your contact is not also a member of Plaxo, as you can either send them a cheery email to let them know where to find all your relevant email addresses and links, or let them fester in the swamps of greater internet ignorance.

Now, naturally, being such a kick-ass app means that Plaxo has some premium features, but I haven’t used any of them. I’m sure the paid-for stuff is incredible, but so far my freeloading self hasn’t felt the need to touch the magic button. Yet. Zeus help me when I have compiled my list of marketing targets!

What I especially love about Plaxo is the ability to design your virtual business card to say as much or as little as you need it to. I thought about porting over my entire LinkedIn profile to fill up the available categories, but eventually decided to (gradually) design a profile that fits in with all the different hats I wear. Yes, It’s a little more work, but getting total control over what people do and don’t see is a bonus I am willing to go through the slog for.

Plaxo is also good for finding people to connect to. If you have their email address, they can be tracked. Not only tracked, but tagged, monitored and followed in case you’re worried about losing touch with them. Then there is also the choice of connecting to anyone in your wider network who is already a Plaxo member. That one is always a little ambivalent, as I apparently have a connection to people who I don’t know from Adam.

All in all, if you are trying to get your social media and email personalities under control without sacrificing your first-born to the gods of Facebook, you need something like Plaxo in your life. It is simple and intuitive, and almost idiot-proof (trust me, I use it!). When it comes to having all of your identities in one place, Plaxo is most definitely where it’s at.


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