Controlling what Plaxo sends you

I added a “Plaxo” category yesterday.

In the event I forget, this applies to everything in this category: The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of Terry Chay. Content published here is not read or approved by Plaxo before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Plaxo.

I suppose when most people create a category related to their job it is to gripe—I’m only good at ranting and ranting is definitely frowned on in the company’s blog policy. Instead I thought it would be more fun to post interesting things I find while using Plaxo. In particular, restricting it to the limited things I can do from my Macintosh, since that is where my screen capture software resides.

Plaxo has a rather complete support website but I don’t operate this way. Instead I thought for some of you who are like me it would be more fun to present things as use-cases as I learn them myself.

Hopefully, I can continue to do this until I accidentally “blog about company secrets” and get fired.


This particular entry will be about solicited “spam” and not non-commercial “spam.”

Why the quotes?

Well my reading is that SPAM is unsolicited commercial e-mail. The e-mail you get from Plaxo is either non-commercial or it is solicited.

Non-commercial “spam”?

In Plaxo parlance, these are called Update Requests This is what people mean when they say, “I get spammed by Plaxo.” They are sent on behalf of a particular user to you and the response you give becomes the property of the user who sent it to you. There is a “viral link” to join Plaxo at the bottom of it, so you could make a case for it being commercial. However, if that is the case, so is Hotmail and Yahoo! mail.

I’ll probably talk about this in another article.

Solicited “spam”?

Only members can get this e-mail so it isn’t exactly unsolicited.

Plaxo sends out the following pieces of solicited “spam”:

  • Activity Summaries: A quarterly e-mail compiling of all the recent contact information updates you’ve received.
  • Alerts: An e-mail when any of your contacts joins Plaxo or updates their contact information
  • Birthday Reminders: If you have access to your contact’s birthday information an e-mail will be sent out reminding you before it is due.
  • Holiday reminders: AFAIK basically an e-mail when Christmas comes along showing you how to use Plaxo to create a custom christmas card list.
  • Product Announcements: When Plaxo launches a new service, they send out an e-mail to this list. So far I think it’s only been used once.
  • Member Survey: Sometimes Plaxo will randomly e-mail some of these people and allow them access to an online survey that will help Plaxo to improve their service. I’ve never gotten such an e-mail.

Controlling Plaxo’s solicited “spam”

Plaxo implements an opt-out which is put at the bottom of this e-mail they send out to you. If you have used Outlook, the URL allows the Plaxo Client to present these preferences within internal UI. If you haven’t it should point directly the this page:

Plaxo Communications Preferences

Plaxo Communications Preferences, originally uploaded by tychay.

The problem for me is I rarely click on links given to me in the bottom of an e-mail, so you can get to it by going to http://www.plaxo.com/manage_account?np=1&h.2=1 and log-in.

If you want to know how to navigate there, just sign in to My Plaxo and then click on “My Account” in the upper right, then click on “Your Communication Preferences.”

In general, I’ve found the Birthday Reminder thing very helpful. You can queue the free birthday e-card Plaxo sends well in advance and have it sent on that day. The only issue is I’m not personally fond of Plaxo’s e-card selection at the moment so I have it set to the day of.

If you turn on “Automatically accept updated information in your address book” then turning off “Activity Summaries” will make Plaxo act entirely automatically. If you need control, do the reverse and then you can accept or reject changes through Outlook/Outlook Express or online as soon as you sign in.

Operations at Plaxo does a great job of making sure all these e-mails all have nice (not forged) headers so you can filter this e-mail easily. Also, if you notice the top address, you can send these e-mails to specify any e-mail address that has been validated by Plaxo. You might want to validate yourname-plaxobulk@somedomain and have them all sent there.

(Yes, Plaxo has an official blog if that floats your boat.)

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