Thursday, April 24, 2008


Yes so everyone reading this blog that is my address book would have received an email from 'Boxbe' this weekend.

No it's not a virus. No it's not spam. No it's not another social network.

It's an 'alpha stage' product that while has really interesting potential seems to be still working out the kinks.

Basically Boxbe is a SF based startup that through an outlook plugin (or yahoo and soon to be gmail etc etc) adds a toolbar that will enable you to separate out spam from your inbox.

It works in the theory using sender address verification, so if you send me an email and you aren't in my outlook address book or in my 'approved guest list' it sends you an automated reply email asking you to fill out a robot detector captcha test.

If you don't do this then I still see the email but it's placed into a 'holding folder' that I can check and manually approve any time but without me seeing this in my inbox helps weed out spam.

So whats bad about it?

Well I sent an invitation to Alec Saunders and he blogged about it as good as I could so check out his blog here

Basically they send an email to everyone in your 'approved list' and whilst that's ok, it's confusing that this is going to happen and also confusing wording in the email people receive - they should just read then delete the email but it makes it sound like you have to sign up to the service otherwise your emails to me wont get through.....

That's bad enough but they then send a second email 2 days later for people who didn't sign up......

I’ve been getting emails from people who received the ‘2nd day’ invite with requests to please get me off this list from my 1300 or so Outlook contacts.

I think people are used to ignoring a ‘first email’ (though a few people did query me about ‘whats Boxbe’ when i first sent them out the initial invite) but getting one 2 days later makes them think that they are on some continual spamming list.

I also have to comment that whilst Boxbe support has been fairly responsive to my initial comments when I asked how do people delete accounts…….that there has been no response.

Not that I’m ready to cancel my Boxbe account, for the moment after about 3-4 days it seems to be doing a really nice job of separating all but self sent domain spam (eg someone purporting to be sending you an email from your own domain). Everything is is being nicely separated out and although I’m reviewing the ‘boxbe isolation folder’ about 4 times a day I feel this will settle down to once a day soon.

Far better than the spam protection that comes with outlook/exchange.

So I’m thinking I might keep it…..though the jury’s still out, Will post more on once I make my final decision - just hopefully someone at Boxbe works out they need to be a little less 'aggressive' with the 'viral' nature of their emails.

If you have a good product that solves the worlds spam problems, trust me they will come.



  1. Hi Dean-

    I'm Randy Stewart, Boxbe Product Manager and I wanted to respond to your post.

    First, thank you for the kind words about our service. We're pretty happy with our Outlook plugin and the help it is giving people in keeping spam out of their email. I know that Boxbe has cleaned up my email quite a bit

    Second, in regards to the invites we send out, during registration, we coupled adding contacts and sending invitations to streamline the process. The idea was to make registration have fewer steps overall. Even though the page said that we were going to send out invitations, clearly we caused some confusion.

    We separated adding contacts and sending invitations on the site on Tuesday.

    Additionally, no email address will receive more than 2 invites from Boxbe in a given week.

    We hope that these changes will make the site experience overall for others.

    Finally, to your point of responsiveness, while we are a small company, we generally respond to requests (especially account closure requests) within 24 hours. Sometimes it's a little bit longer, but we do take this seriously. We know Boxbe can affect your email quite a bit, usually for the better.

    We're sorry for any distress we may have caused and we are still exploring ways to make the invitation process better. We would appreciate any further comments that you might have about this and any other feedback that you might have about our Outlook product.

    Randy Stewart
    Boxbe Product Manager

  2. Just a point of clarification here. We're not planning on sending invitations every week to users. Rather, if multiple Boxbe users invite the same person, we'll only send a maximum of two to that person in a given week.

    Ideally, if multiple Boxbe users want to invite someone, we need to figure out how to send that person one invite from all those people combined.

    We're still pretty new at the invite game, but hopefully we can work all the kinks out sooner rather than later.

    Randy Stewart
    Boxbe Product Manager

  3. Hi Mr. Stewart,

    I have a problem. I want to close my boxbe account and it just isnt working. I deactivated it and yet still all my mails are being screened by boxbe. I cannot use it at my location so i am unable to read my emails. Since i deactivated it i no longer have access to even go back in to try to deactivate it again.

    Please take boxbe away from me please. I am begging. I have been wainting too long for it to go away. Please take it away right now. My email address is


  4. I don't know why people bother to fall for the boxbe trap.

    Gmail actually has done quite a fine job of weeding out spam.