What happens when your business networking service tries to catch a free ride with your social networking service? You end up walking somewhere else.
Plaxo’s Pulse is an effort to revitalize an aging contacts system. It is now evident that Plaxo, which had built a reputation by emailing unqualified referrals to just about everyone with a job, did not plan for the user friendly systems that dominates the networking world today. Users did not appreciate blind referral marketing.
Many of Plaxo’s users opted out, left their accounts dormant or migrated to recent publicity machines like Facebook. In an attempt to draw focus back to their site, Plaxo Pulse had a script which ran against Facebook’s own database and imported Plaxo user’s Facebook contacts and their personal information. To inaugurate the system Plaxo rounded up some of the internet’s most popular and influential tech-bloggers and journalists.
So what happened? Plaxo initiated this script against Facebook’s wishes. According to the Technorati article Plaxo Flubs It, “Facebook doesn’t like this, of course. But it isn’t Plaxo that’s paying the price. It’s the journalists and bloggers who’ve been testing out the service.” Facebook instantly deleted the accounts of people trying to use the new Plaxo service.
At this point it is irrelevant to blame Plaxo for being irresponsible, or Facebook for reacting. There are lessons to be learned for your business networking strategy. Your business network is built on trusted contacts. Referral marketing only works with qualified senders and quality leads. Thankfully, neither Plaxo or Facebook play a crucial role for corporate or small-business referral networking like Linked In and Referral Key do. In the age when uploading personal content is the trend we need to slowdown and adopt a real world approach especially when it affects our business; consider security and professionalism. Go with professional tools for professional needs.
The social site of the week may not be the safest or smartest place to keep or exchange business referrals. For us, referrals are our lifeline and we depend on a stable system that can securely facilitate their management for maximum ROI.