Small business contacts sharing across machines-- is Plaxo the answer?
February 1, 2005 10:50 AM   Subscribe

Small business contacts sharing across machines-- is Plaxo the answer? (MI)

I know this question has been asked in part before, but I need some clarification (and updated opinions).

I need to recommend a solution to some prospective employers. With three people on 4 machines, they need essentially what Plaxo offers-- contacts sharing and synching-- even when out of the office. The updating part of Plaxo has been described as interesting , annoying, or even evil, but it's not the most important feature in my particular case. I should note that most of the complaints I've read are about a year old (in fact, newer articles give it a little more credit), and Plaxo now claims an updated privacy policy. What is your opinion on/ experience with Plaxo? Can you recommend any other services that allow contacts sharing (using Outlook) between machines (and that don't require Exchange Server) that I should also check out? (And yes, I've googled, but I'm looking for recommendations vs. algorithm-based results.) Thanks in advance!
posted by mireille to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
I have no answer to contribute, but thanks for linking the "Plaxo Reconsidered" article. I get lots of Plaxo messages but never gave them much thought, perhaps for some of the same concerns the author initially had. I'll have to poke around the site again.
posted by pzarquon at 11:34 AM on February 1, 2005

i think msn just launched outlook live, which is supposed to do this centralization (hotmail meets full outlook features) for you with a $45/year fee.

i don't have much detail though--have only heard my boss mention how it is going to change his life
posted by mdpc98 at 2:46 PM on February 1, 2005

My office shares contacts and calendars using somewhat old products - Outlook 2000 can share contacts through Microsoft Mail. I haven't found a Microsoft Mail administrator program in Win2K, so we keep an old NT4 computer around to set up Microsoft Mail accounts. No Exchange server required. I don't know if newer versions of Outlook still support Microsoft Mail, or if there is a way to administer it on newer versions of Windows.

Assuming the business is PC based, and that you have a way to administer Microsoft Mail:

Set the "post office" to a common shared drive all the workstations can access, and create a mailbox for each user. Add Microsoft Mail to the "services" in each user's Outlook. You will also need "Personal Folders" if it is not already installed.

In Outlook 2000, View>Folder List. Highlight the folder (contacts, calendar, whatever) you want to share. Then File>Share>This Folder. The first time you use the feature you may need the Office CD.
posted by one at 3:09 PM on February 1, 2005

You could also look into a "hosted Exchange server", which means that a third-party company provides the actual server and software license, and you get a virtual account (using your own domain) on their server. (They can usually also host your site.)

We used a service like this until relatively recently, until we got to a point where we needed to set up our own environment. You get full Exchange features, like centralized mail, contacts, calendar, etc., for about $10/box/mo. (Plus, Outlook Web Access, for when you're on the road.)

If you want to know more, just Google "hosted Exchange server"--the "sponsored links" area will be filled with companies offering these services.
posted by LairBob at 3:44 PM on February 1, 2005

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