March 24, 2006

An Apology

Plaxo has been taking its lumps across the blogosphere the past couple of days. Most of which, frankly, we deserve.
Flying Pigs
A few days ago, Plaxo Founder Todd Masonis blogged that we will be taking steps to drastically reduce the number of update requests that our members send out. Not surprisingly, people like Michael Arrington, Dan Gilmore, the AP and numerous others in the blogosphere have responded saying in essence:
A) “You should have done this a lot sooner”
B) “You clearly knew that what you were doing was wrong”
C) “You’re evil, horrible people who should be banished to Hades”
D) “You should apologize”
I unambiguously agree with A. I also unambiguously agree with D. (I’ll reserve my thoughts on B & C for a later post.) If there is a 12 step program for start-ups who make mistakes in developing their service, certainly the first few steps have to include: admitting that you have a problem, apologizing to those you’ve wronged, and making steady progress in correcting what was wrong.
So, here it goes:
To everyone who hated getting Plaxo update messages, felt we were generating acquaintance spam, or otherwise were harmed by the service, I personally apologize on behalf of all of the people at Plaxo. I know we have a long way to go to earn your trust, and can only ask that you judge us by our actions going forward.
Ben Golub, CEO (Contact info available at techcrunch)

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About the Author

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Redgee Capili

General Manager, Plaxo.com

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Comments
  • http://www.linkme.com.au Campbell Sallabank

    Ben,
    It’s good to see some honesty and frankness. Congratulations on your recent 10m mark too…that’s a huge milestone.

  • Mark

    Apology accepted.

  • http://www.techcrunch.com Michael Arrington

    Hi Ben, I accept your apology and I submit my own for some of the things I’ve written about Plaxo. Thank you. And I love the image and contact details link. Nice touch.

  • http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/03/27/plaxoapologizes/ TechCrunch

    Plaxo…Apologizes

    Plaxo CEO Ben Golub wrote a public apology on their corporate blog for their past actions in encouraging “acquaintance spam”. I have to say that I never actually thought this would happen. I’m surprised and happy to see this.
    Heck, I …

  • NJG from NYC

    The apology is nice; it’s not every CEO that has the guts to step up and say ‘We were wrong.’
    But frankly, I’m not going to be signing up with Plaxo until I see whether the company’s actions match your words.

  • http://ceicher.homeunix.com Charles

    You may think pigs can fly, but you’ll never make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Plaxo will never be removed from my spam filters.

  • David

    Ben,
    This is the best thing that you have written since your Bar-Mitzvah speech at Beth David. Finally, a decent honest guy is at the helm of a start-up which teeters between good and evil. Score one for the good guys. Plaxo now has a true leader.

  • http://ouriel.typepad.com ouriel

    Well done ben. This attitude is exemplary and i am also happy to report it in Techcrunch france to the french community

  • http://fr.techcrunch.com/2006/03/28/plaxo-sexcuse/ TechCrunch en français

    Plaxo s’excuse

    Le CEO de Plaxo Ben Golub a publié des excuses publiques sur le blog de leur société concernant leur attitude de quasi spammer. Pour être honnête nous ne pensions pas que cela pouvait arriver et nous sommes ravis d’avoir eu tort.
    Peut être …

  • http://fr.techcrunch.com/2006/03/28/plaxo-sexcuse/ TechCrunch en français

    Plaxo s’excuse

    Le CEO de Plaxo Ben Golub a publié des excuses publiques sur le blog de leur société concernant leur attitude de quasi spammer. Pour être honnête nous ne pensions pas que cela pouvait arriver et nous sommes ravis d’avoir eu tort.
    Peut être …

  • http://stuart.amanzi.co.nz Stuart

    Thanks Ben – your apology is appreciated. I was one of the unfortunate ones who had been the receiver and unintentional sender of such spam. I was also quite vocal on a bog post recently, and I have now updated this to indicate that you have now apologised.
    All the best!!

  • http://www.Rumboard.com JoelM

    I appreciate your apology.

  • http://jonathangrubb.blogspot.com Jonathan Grubb

    An apology without an offer of restitution is hollow. How about this: any user who was spammed by plaxo gets a free year of premium service.

  • BitterReader

    What a joke.
    I apologize for stealing cars in the past. I am working to steal fewer cars in the future.
    That’s what this apology amounted to. Read it closely people. They are not getting rid of the annoying spam from people I don’t know who want my contact details, they “taking steps to drastically reduce the number of update requests that our members send out”.
    What a bunch of hogwash.

  • http://www.igotspam.com/50226711/plaxo_spam_apology.php I got Spam?!

    Plaxo SPAM Apology

    Ben Golub, CEO of Plaxo: To everyone who hated getting Plaxo update messages, felt we were generating acquaintance spam, or otherwise were harmed by the service, I personally apologize on behalf of all of the people at Plaxo. I know…

  • Happy Plaxo user

    Ben – this is a really positive step. I’d heard some negative things about Plaxo that had put me off trying it, but your upfront apology has encouraged me to test it out today, and I’m really thrilled with the service.
    Thanks for creating Plaxo, and for having the courage to apologise and make steps to change your business practices. I wish Plaxo all the best.

  • http://www.jphebert.name JP

    Here are my thoughts on these 4 “issues” people have with Plaxo:
    A) Yes, if Plaxo would have moved faster to prevent “acquaintance spam”, since spam is such a problem
    B) I guess they knew but re-engeering the process is difficult and email is still the electronic medium of choice. On the flipside, it’s legitimate email Vs notes trying to enlarge your body parts.
    C) If you don’t want to get Plaxo mail, just filter the “plaxo.com” address and you’re done (oooh- rocket science!). If you are in a business role and need to keep in touch with people, and you don’t like Plaxo, you’re living in the digital stone age and should crawl from under your rock to see what the sun looks like you might like it. And the world is not flat either.
    D) I guess so, and in doing so, Plaxo promised to better it’s service, so we all win.
    In a nutshell, I like Plaxo, it saves me A LOT of time, and I’m happy to get notes from Plaxo. I really don’t get too many plaxo-spams and have close to 2000 contacts on this system.
    Please keep up the good work guys.

  • fredrow

    Ben, I didn’t feel Plaxo was “generating acquaintance spam.” Plaxo WAS “generating acquaintance spam.”
    The question remains, will Plaxo continue “generating acquaintance spam?” If not, what business model do you have left?

  • http://www.miedl.net/archives/2006/04/plaxo_gibt_zu_j.html Wolfgang Miedl

    Plaxo entschuldigt sich: “Ja, wir haben gespammt, aber…”

    Ich kann’s nicht lassen, aber der “Gegner” spielt mir auch in die Arme: Vor wenigen Tagen hat der Plaxo-Chef auf dem Firmen-Blog offen zugegeben, dass sein Unternehmen zum Zweck der Kundenacquise bisher Spam-Mails versendet habe und die Nutzergemeinde …

  • tolly99

    All this is well and good…but it is STILL an exercise in exasperation to sign in, contact a live person, get a timely response..you know, all those “extras” we mere customers have come to expect. Plaxo must have the slowest servers on the planet. As a Premium client I guess I just expect too much….

  • http://www.plaxo.com stacy

    Hi tolly – I’m not sure if you know, but as a Premium member, you have access to VIP support which includes live phone support. The support number is listed under your Premium Services Summary in “My Account”. You can also take advantage of our online chat, which is available to anyone for free. Just go to our support.plaxo.com page, and click on the “Click for Live Support” button. That will put you in immediate contact with one of our support folks.

  • http://brian.magierski.com Brian

    Stacy,
    Assuming the phone support line is live when it says it is.
    Called today out of desperation to get my issue resolved. It is Monday, 1pm Eastern Time.
    Support line says offices are closed and I shoudl call during normal business hours of Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm Eastern time.
    Live chat support is down too.
    What gives? Thought we paid for this service?

  • Skeptical

    I got a Plaxo request for info for a friend a week ago. Today I got a Plaxo message saying data was corrupt and wanted me to verify my info. Did you REALLY fix the problems or simply just publish an apology???
    It still smells like aquaintance spam to me.

  • Bill

    I’m STILL getting their damned spam. A lot of good he did…