RE: Contact Management from AdamJH.blogspot.com

May 26, 2005

I saw Adam’s posting on his blog, and I’m responding here because my reply was getting rather lengthy. I sure wish Blogger had trackbacks!

Adam – I’m glad to hear you’re giving Plaxo a try. Please feel free to connect to me on Plaxo or contact me if you have any questions.

As far as Plaxo’s business model, I agree that in a perfect world, we would provide all services for free and somehow, we’d make money – indeed, if this were the dotcom days, we’d probably have gone public by now 😉 But since we’re post the dotcom bubble, we thought long and hard about our revenue model and we definitely considered doing the Google and Flickr models as you suggested.

Re: the Google comparison, we didn’t think that advertising was going to be an effective way to get a good revenue stream. We don’t have billions of hits a day so a 0.0001% click through rate wouldn’t really be able to sustain us. As our userbase continues to grow and our traffic continues to increase, this might change and we might give contextual advertising a try.

And you’ll have to remember, Google getting into the ads business was a last ditch effort – they started by trying to sell the Google Enterprise Appliance. While one could say that we should learn from them and leapfrog over trying to sell stuff directly, when we crunched the numbers, they didn’t work out for us right now.

Re: the Flickr model, we didn’t provide everything for free and limit people to X contacts because we felt the same users that had large address books would be the same that would be able to get a lot of value out of our premium services (and hopefully, they’d feel compelled to pay for them). So basically, it’s a similar tactic, but we didn’t want to force users who had large address books to pay without any additional benefit. As we go forward, we may try this model as well. But in the meantime, we’re focusing on providing new user value (some free and some premium) without restricting based on capacity.

As for the e-mail situation, we’re actively trying to improve the quality of the e-mails our users ask us to send out – I’m actually one of the people in charge of getting that to happen. Most of the time, the problem isn’t so much that Bob asked Plaxo send the mail, the problem is that you might not know who the heck Bob is or how he got your e-mail address.

To address that, we’re looking to get people to send out more personal invites, just like you’re doing. The “send to entire address book” functionality seemed like a good idea at the time because we felt that people would of course want to get updates from all of their friends/family in their address books. However, we’ve now recognized that sending out these massive amounts of e-mail is bad for everyone. So, we’re making changes in the next release to decrease the number of e-mails sent out while trying to promote more personalized invites and increase the amount of user education.

We’re working as fast as we can, but we’ve got more ideas than we can implement :O. If you (or someone you know) is looking to join an Internet startup with crazy product potential, an awesome work atmosphere and generous stock options, contact me and let’s talk 🙂

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No Responses Yet to “RE: Contact Management from AdamJH.blogspot.com”

  1. Zoli Says:

    Mark, wouldn’t the proper approach from Plaxo be to turn the auto-email generation off as default, and just leave it an option? The proper behaviour in my mind is not to use those form letters, but let Plaxo auto-update contacts – that is if they already are members. True, this might be a less aggressive approach to increasing membership, but you’d sure retain more …

    I wrote more about this in my blog

    Zoli


  2. very best idea make rules time!…


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