Is Plaxo a Threat To Facebook?

Since yesterday there has been a significant amount of buzz surrounding Plaxo’s new social network, Pulse, that they are launching on Monday. The new network provides users with extended features that allow them to differentiate between contacts that are friends, family and business contacts. This is a feature that a number of people have been calling for (myself included) on Facebook. While at the current time there is no such offering within Facebook, with a little bit of programming, a new application could be created that adds these features. Pulse is also unique in that it has a social news feed (similar to Facebook’s) that is composed of your contacts’ RSS feeds from around the web, including YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Last.fm, LiveJournal and more. This is a unique twist and definitely a good move by Plaxo but I don’t think Facebook users are going to start running for the door. One question I have is whether or not the Pulse news feed has filtering mechanisms similar to Facebook’s. Facebook only lets in something like 0.02% of all news items into your news feed. In contrast, the Pulse social feed doesn’t seem to have filtering features as of now. The one thing that Plaxo does have though is users. 15 million of them. That’s not a bad start for a social network. That puts them just behind Bebo who has 18 million users. While this is a smart move by Plaxo, they don’t currently have the brand image or demographics to attract the Facebook users.

Update

I failed to specify how the differentiation of contact types also extends to where you can control what content users have access to. For example: your professional contacts can not see your photos while your friends can see all photos. It is the ability to control your various public identities. This is something that all social networks are ultimately headed toward.