OTHER PLACES OF INTEREST
Danny Flamberg's Blog
Danny has been marketing for a while, and his articles and work reflect great understanding of data driven marketing.
Eric Peterson the Demystifier
Eric gets metrics, analytics, interactive, and the real world. His advice is worth taking...
Geeking with Greg
Greg Linden created Amazon's recommendation system, so imagine what can write about...
Ned Batchelder's Blog
Ned just finds and writes interesting things. I don't know how he does it.
R at LoyaltyMatrix
Jim Porzak tells of his real-life use of R for marketing analysis.
HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
I’ve come to rely on Plaxo (plaxo.com) for 2 main features:
1) Address book sync with Outlook: When other Plaxo users update their info, I can accept those changes and they replicate down to Outlook.
2) Web access to my data: Similarly, my personal changes to contacts are replicated up and are available on plaxo.com, as is my Outlook calendar.
Plaxo has a bunch of other useless features for the “free” version including trying to be yet another social network and social aggregator.
Wellp, I guess Comcast decided that Plaxo was a money pit. They are now charging $60 a year for access to the Outlook sync capability.
Congrats to Plaxo: they will be gone within a year. Unlike LinkedIn, they have no redeeming feature beyond the sync… and if you scare people away from updating their info by charging them for the privilege, well, each person leaving the network devalues the experience for the rest, who then wonder why they are paying.
The comments are open. What other sync and cloud offerings have you tried? What is a Plaxo replacement?
Some mention Soocial.com, some mention trying Google’s outlook sync (which is only for the Premier apps bundle, not the free Docs.g.c, btw), some have mentioned LinkedIn which handles address book OK, but a) has no calendar and b) has poor privacy and contacts management.
My list of Plaxo Replacements
As Arnoud below mentions, Yahoo! has an Autosync offering that hasn’t been updated in a while… but a birdie told me that updates are rolling out soon, along with other Calendar improvements. Keep your eyes out for updates from these guys…
From Maskil’s Blog, I found mention that MSN has an Outlook-Hotmail Sync called “Microsoft Office Outlook Connector”. I haven’t tried it yet, so could be great… but I haven’t really spent much time with Hotmail or the MSN calendar. Maskil’s comments provide some alternatives as well, so worth swinging by his blog after you finish my list.
Google has a Google Calendar Sync which appears to be free, but the contacts sync, as mentioned previously, has costs.
Mac users all swear at, sorry, I meant by, swear by MobileMe which, while not free, appears to do most of the good stuff that Plaxo used to.
Soocial.com, as mentioned above, appears to have a nice address book integration, but is relatively new. LifeHacker was pretty positive on it, but pointed out (in the comments) that they will be contacts only, probably no calendars.
Keepm.com was mentioned as an online “all in one” contacts syncer. Don’t know a thing about them. Appears to link to lots of sites ala Plaxo, but has no Outlook sync.
Zimbra has an open source option which can basically replace Exchange, so you can run your own web-accessible contacts and calendar… but I don’t know how it would sync with other systems. That is, you can have your own personal server with contacts and email and calendars… but if you also have to use a corporate Exchange server that your IT group set up, well, Zimbra won’t help.
Funambol talks mostly of syncing mobile devices, but somewhere in there it appears to sync with Outlook as well. This is an open source project that you would install on your own server, preferably one supporting Java and Tomcat 5.5 (or later) (Linux or Windows). The web client is pretty weak, but functional.
Glynx is an interesting idea. Instead of a site, it uses P2P to share your updates with others. Could be cool if it catches on. No calendar, however.
The amazing Zoho.com demonstrates just how much office app can be in the cloud. It’s actually kind of amazing. And their have a “CRM” offering which is free for 3 users (!) with an Outlook plugin to sync calendar and contacts. Google has a bit to learn from all that Zoho is doing.
HannsKK asks on Twitter if anyone had used UNYK... I hadn’t heard of it before. They have the “UNYK Syncro” (yes, that’s how they spell it) which is a plugin for Outlook. No calendar, but contacts integration and update.
NuevaSync appears to sync various Activesync phones with Google Cal, contacts, and Plaxo. Not quite the same, but interesting to know it’s there.
Calgoo.com Connect supposedly links Outlook calendar with Google Calendar and a few others. No contacts sync, but many of the others I list can handle that.
You can handle some syncing yourself. For example, you can store all your contacts in a PST on a shared drive ala Live Mesh or DropBox… but you run some risks if you leave Outlook open all the time. I would avoid this route other than to take periodic snapshots for backups.
So, we are looking for cheap or free ways to a) sync contacts, b) allow corrections, potentially via a social network, and c) allow web access to contacts and calendar.
PS: I didn’t focus on other Outlook features like Notes or Tasks; perhaps some of these can sync those as well.
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