What is Plaxo?

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Plaxo:

"Plaxo is a new tool that enables you to automatically update your address book. You no longer have to worry about whether your contact list is up-to-date."

This beta software plugs into Outlook and updates your contact list through simple e-mails. I kind of recall having seen something similar in the past, but don’t remember from whom. Contact information from other Plaxo users auto-updates itself. This, along with Cloudmark, shows ISPs wake up to the fact that Outlook is such a prevalent client that it’s worth targeting as a platform.
A nice feature: it automatically preselects the people you correspond most frequently with, as the most likely people who want to keep fresh contact info with you. Strangely though, it seems you have to fill up your card in their app, as opposed to using an Outlook contact (yes, I have a contact about myself.)
There’s someone from Napster behind this, as well as big name advisors (Moritz, Koogle, Shawning). Does that explain why this software is free? What’s the catch that doesn’t make this a ’99-like dot-com? I guess the software will stop being free after the beta ends, or they somehow want to do stuff with aggregated contact information.
See also: Napster co-founder unveils Plaxo (we learn they raised $2M), The boys in the bubble (Red Herring has suspicions similar to mine.) While digging for more info, I see that some people are still tracking Napster news? Also, this publication: OutlookPower.
Update: [Wired] Napster Co-Founder’s New Venture, [CNet] P2P stars trade up to new gigs.
11/13/02 update: Secret Business Model.
12/05/02 update: [Business2] Is Outlook the Next Windows?
09/07/03 update: Payment Request Wizard (for Outlook)

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