Plaxo turns over a new leaf

Plaxo CEO Ben Golub is apologizing on his blog for his company’s practices:

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.

Believe me, I despise spam. I live in email, so I feel the loss of productivity acutely. Yet I also realize that (1) there is blatant spam, and then there are a lot of grey areas, and (2) the vast majority of spam is of the blatant kind, meaning that if all the Plaxos of the world shut down tomorrow, you’d hardly notice an improvement. And, I’ll add, it’s easier to take potshots than it is to find a reasonable balance between email senders and recipients.

So, I’m willing to give Ben and the new team at Plaxo the benefit of the doubt. This apology is just a starting point; actions will speak louder than words. I just think we’ll do better combatting spam by working with the email senders who want to behave responsibly, rather than shunning them.

In full disclosure, Plaxo is sponsoring this year’s Supernova. I’ll admit that I thought twice about accepting the sponsorship. I decided that having companies like Plaxo in the room helps to facilitate a frank conversation about where to draw lines. They haven’t fully convinced me that they are drawing the line in the right place, but they are entitled to make the case to everyone at Supernova.