AIM and Plaxo

I just installed AIM for the first time in a bazillion years having used nothing but Adium and Trillian for forever. And what did i find? Apparently, Plaxo has teamed up with AIM for this Universal Address Book. My first reaction was to panic – i want nothing to do with the evil spamming service that has been the bane of my existence since it started. For years, i’ve gone out of my way to provide fake data every time someone sends me a Plaxo invite in an attempt to ward off stalkers and folks who want to connect the dots. As i’ve said before, i want nothing to do with Plaxo (see [1][2]). And then i started breathing and tried to remind myself that companies change, maybe it’s not so bad anymore. To catch my breath, i logged into Bloglines to surf for a few moments before continuing with the signup process. What did i find? Micki’s essay on how Plaxo is holding her data hostage. Back to panic mode.

Why why why can’t Plaxo go away? I don’t want it to connect the dots between who i AIM and who i email and who has me in their addressbook. I don’t want a universal addressbook controlled by some external organization that i don’t trust that spams my friends and keeps data hostage. I don’t like the lack of transparency and the massive amounts of data that they have. I do not trust them, Sam I am.

Gah. And i can’t figure out how to finish installing AIM without making a Plaxo account. ::wimper::

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18 thoughts on “AIM and Plaxo

  1. Tara 'Miss Rogue' Hunt

    Aaaaargh…I wouldn’t install it al all. I would write a long email to AIM and ask them how could they possibly offer you to the wolves!?

    I saw that, stopped the installation and went over to Meebo. Happy happy Meebo with no evil Plaxo.

    I want them to go away, too. They will never change. They are evil to the bone.

    The dude actually had the nerve to announce they would stop spamming people (on purpose…but they still spam people ‘by oops’ and blame it on ‘users’) because “we have achieved our goals”.

    WTF! They so don’t care about their ‘users’.

  2. anonymous

    I wouldn’t trust Plaxo either. Sean Parker (the founder) is the definition of meglomaniac. He used to brag about how he holds the keys to everyone’s personal data.

  3. Kevin

    Thanks for the warning I guess… I didn’t know Plaxo had such bad rep. Just wondering why anyone has to use AIM in a world of Adium and Trillian? Both app are able to do almost everything AIM can now.

  4. Ian W.

    Now that Google and LiveJournal are both on the Jabber bandwagon, I’m really looking forward to a time when I don’t even have to sign into the AIM service to communicate with my friends and coworkers online. Never mind even thinking about installing their software. AOL needs to hurry up and die, IMHO.

  5. Bob Aman

    I too am wondering why someone who is aware of the alternatives would actually install AIM itself? If for some reason Trillian is unacceptable, there is always GAIM for Windows.

  6. zephoria

    Reasons: 1) i just bought a VAIO so i can’t do iChat/Adium; 2) installed Trillian but it isn’t reading my buddy list – it displays it all as (null) so i needed to install AIM to fix that; 3) upgrading AIM means that i get 500 friends which i desperately need having long since hit the cap of 200 and now having three different AIM accounts.

    All that said, i also want to be installing what most of my subjects are installing. They are installing Trillian (cuz they can mod it and it’s ad-free) but they are not installing GAIM, Meebo, or any version of Jabber. I may be a geek but i try to stay somewhat on top of what teenagers are doing, not what geeks are doing. That doesn’t mean i don’t wimper when i run into things that i loathe in the process of doing what others are doing.

  7. Mark Jen

    Hi Danah,

    Sorry for the trouble you’re having with your AIM install; when you finish installing AIM and the Plaxo setup wizard starts up, you can simply close the pop-up and everything should be ok. We won’t automatically create a Plaxo account and your AIM should work without any more interruptions from Plaxo.

    I hope you’d give us another chance though; we’ve changed our ways. We’re not sending out those bulk e-mail blasts anymore and Ben, our CEO, apologized for our past behavior (see his blog post).

    Drop me a line if you’d like to chat sometime; I’d love to get your ideas about how to make Plaxo better – Plaxo does relate social networking after all 🙂


  8. Mark Jen

    I’m all about blogs! Well… at least after my incident anyways 😀

    BTW, maybe you gals can make it out to a Lunch 2.0 sometime! I’d love to meet face to face and chat about the social networking/web 2.0 space.

  9. Bertil

    Well: I am happy to have my IM, e-mail and contacts connected–so that I can switch to conversation when someone is reading & answering my message. But Plaxo is clearly the last company I would give these details to. . .

    Have you tried ? Last time I tried they had this Meebo page that is quite convenient.

    And Plaxo are answering on an elite blog–not every blogger appears on “National TV” 😉

  10. Edwin Aoki

    As Mark mentions earlier, Plaxo activation isn’t a requirement for installing, or using AIM. It’s there for people who want to connect their AIM buddies with their address book, as well as for people who like the Outlook integration.

    If you’re one of those folks that likes to use AIM for professional purposes, you might also consider AIM Pro, available at

  11. Alex

    I love GAIM.
    Mostly because my friends use Jabber/Google Talk and I didn’t want to pay $25 for Trillian Pro.

    Anyways, I think I’m on Plaxo because I signed up when I installed Triton a while back. But I’ve since changed emails. So I’m not bothered by it, if they actually do still spam.

  12. zephoria

    Mark – i’m glad y’all are working to improve your PR but Plaxo has done nothing to provide people with proper data security, to fully opt-out when their friends opt them in, or to provide complete transparency about what you’re doing with data. When you have TOSes that can change at any moment, there’s no security. When you lock people out of their data, there’s no security. The whole ethos of your company has been slimy since the beginning and with all of the data security nightmares going on out there right now, i don’t have a lot of confidence in what you’re doing.

    You also have to understand that your company *has* engaged me in the past. Or, rather, Sean Parker did a nice job of calling me up to yell at me for over an hour when i wrote something negative about Plaxo on my blog two years ago.

    How can you convince me to give you a fifth chance? Why should i trust you? Convince me with something more than you’re listening. Because from my perspective, the apologies seem like PR moves not actual attitude changes.


  13. zephoria

    Yeah – there’s something broken. It says ((null)) all over the place in my buddylist. I can click on the nulls and send messages to random people but it’s not very useful for knowing who’s online and who i should contact….

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