It looks like Mark found himself a new job (Plaxo) after a whirlwind of media attention and job interviews.

Congrats, Mark.

Lemme know if you want to drop by Yahoo for lunch again sometime.

Posted by jzawodn at March 08, 2005 03:43 AM

Reader Comments
# Mark Jen said:

I'll be by for lunch! Anyone else at Yahoo want to join? :)

on March 8, 2005 11:07 AM
# Charles said:

I thought Plaxo sounded familiar, for a minute I thought it was a pharma company, but that's Glaxo. Then I looked at their website, and it came to me, Plaxo is a spam-generating company. I got dozens and dozens of annoying spams from them, invites from people I don't know asking me to join their network. I finally put up a mailblock to stop everything from their domain.
How do you go from working at a company whose motto is "don't be evil" to deciding it's a good fit to work for a company whose core business method is the definition of evil?

on March 8, 2005 12:17 PM
# said:

Onward and upward to spam. Feel good story of the year.

What a step backward :)

on March 8, 2005 12:20 PM
# Mark Jen said:

Charles - I see you've also left comments on my blog. Plaxo is not a spam-generating company. We only send e-mails to people at the request of users who already have your e-mail address. Plaxo does not send any unsolicited e-mail.

I'm not sure how people you don't know have your e-mail address. You can always opt-out if you are getting bombarded by Plaxo requests.

If you'd like to learn more about Plaxo, please feel free to contact me. Additionally, you can read our website to get an idea of the value we provide users. I'm sorry you've had a bad experience with your acquaintances requesting you join Plaxo; however, please get your facts straight before you flame. Thanks!

on March 8, 2005 05:39 PM
# terry chay said:

Also, a Plaxo update request is hardly "commercial" since the data it gets is the property of the person who sent the request, not Plaxo. In fact, the only thing it does seem to have in common with SPAM is the "e-mail" part. If people bother to save their info, Plaxo doesn't even satisfy the "e-mail" part of "unsolicited commercial e-mail".

If the person who is sending the "dozens and dozens" of annoying e-mail is someone you don't know, then you could think of reporting them as using Plaxo to validate one's spam list is a clear violation of Plaxo's Terms of Service. Getting an spammers account terminated can be fun

--terry (who misses the days when "spam" meant someone sending a zillion "Green Card Lottery" posts over NNTP).

on March 8, 2005 06:54 PM
# Charles said:

Mark, if you think my mildly sarcastic comments were a flame, maybe you should Google "Plaxo spam" and read what flames are really like. Apparently Plaxo has been blackholed by ISPs, corporations, even branches of the Federal Government. Isn't this world already too full of companies trying to shove unwanted products down our throat?

I only hear stuff like "you can opt out" and "we don't send spam, we're just a conduit for our users to send spam" from hardcore, unrepentant spammers. As the old saying goes, "don't piss on me and tell me it's raining."

on March 8, 2005 11:18 PM
# The Foundation Guy said:

No offense, but Plaxo's whiny "you've been requested" e-mails are very annoying.

In my experience, IBM is one of the few main stream tech companies which hasn't **banned** the internal use of Plaxo - because of all the annoying e-mails that adopters generate.

I can't immagine that Mark went to Plaxo - not exactly the resume builder of Yahoo.

on March 9, 2005 05:06 AM
# Mark Jen said:

Charles - I'm very sorry that you feel the way you do. I'm not sure if you've ever had a problem keeping in touch with your friends, family and business contacts, but if you have, then Plaxo is a possible solution to that problem.

The fallacy in your argument that we are "hardcore, unrepentant spammers" is our users - the people sending you mails through Plaxo - are your friends, family and business contacts. These are people that just want to keep in touch with you.

The option to opt-out is always there. Contrary to spamhouses, we are a real business with a very concrete privacy policy. Rest assured, our policy will be followed to the letter.


on March 9, 2005 09:16 AM
# terry chay said:

In the interest of full disclosure, I work at Plaxo as an engineer. I am not responding as an employee of Plaxo, but rather as someone who knows Jeremy (and, as of today, I know Mark Jen too).

I should count the quantity instead of the quality of the content of the links they point to and conclude that Plaxo is spam? That is an amazing criteria for unreasoned debate!

Most of the world believes in ghosts. I guess that means ghosts exist. Most of the world has no concept of germ theory, so I guess we shouldn't bother with proper sanitation.

You can't "opt out" of a hardcore unrepentant spammer, because they forge their mail headers, use their opt-out links to send more spam, and route their business through other countries with lax laws. Plaxo does none of the above and could not get away with what you mention. Compare the privacy policy to Google, Yahoo!, MSN, or AOL. Tell me how Plaxo is any worse than using Gmail, Y! Mail, Hotmail, or AOL to do the same thing? In fact, have you actually read Gmail's Terms of Service? And this company claims to "do no evil"?

Instead of saying it is de facto that the whole world has "banned Plaxo" why not cite specific examples and then analyze the reasons they have? Perhaps it's because their company policy is such that they feel they own their employees' contact database and all customer contacts should be done through the enterprise CRM tool so that their managers can track it?

If IBM has not banned Plaxo, why do you think they haven't? Maybe it's because an arbitrary and thoughtless IT policy is inimical to their core values? If they value their customer's success then why would they prohibit a tool that enables it? If they believe that innovation matters then why would they take innuendo from a tin foil hat to a logical argument based on a legally binding document? If they value trust and personal responsibility, then can't they trust their employees not to abuse Plaxo?

IBM has been legendary for, if anything, holding on to their core values too tightly (re: trusting Microsoft).

And now we fault Mark Jen for going for a company that claims to "do no evil" to one that actually has to walk the walk every day. Does that mean if Plaxo's mission statement were the same as Google's it would suddenly make it better in your eyes?

on March 9, 2005 12:07 PM
# Keith said:

Mark says "the people sending you mails through Plaxo - are your friends, family and business contacts." Only under a very broad definition of "friend" and "business contact".

I was getting plenty of Plaxo crap from people I didn't recognize -- people I'd sent one message to months ago who'd added me to their address books, most likely because their mail client did it automatically, not because they actually planned to keep in touch. That's why I blocked Plaxo mail at our mail server. Perhaps things have changed, but you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

on March 13, 2005 08:59 AM
# Brian James said:

I think Plaxo is definitely dishonourable.

I have just received a request for contact details from a colleague. The message, appears to have been written by this colleague

I'm updating my address book. Please take a moment to update me with your latest contact info.

+ Recommending that I get Plaxo too.

I then updated the details as requested, and as recommended downloaded the product. After installing the product, it then tried to send out emails to 200+ contacts, giving the identical message to the above.

NO WAY, do I want people to think I am recommending this product.

It is very unpleasant viral marketing, that takes advantage of people's goodwill.

on December 13, 2005 08:00 AM
# Daniel said:

For you guys at Plaxo PLEASE, WE ALL WANT PLAXO FOR GMAIL! Need to sync both address books!

Plaxo for Gmail ASAP!

Thanks a lot!

on September 21, 2006 04:34 PM
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