Boxbe Video

What is Boxbe?

The company I’ve been working on for the last couple of years is Boxbe, an email overload tool that works with Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail and Google Apps.

Here’s a three minute video that I created some time ago to better explain what Boxbe does and how it might be able to help save you from your overloaded inbox.

Personally, Boxbe made my eight year old Yahoo! Mail account usable again by removing the spam Yahoo! didn’t catch and shutting down all those marketing emails I didn’t really want any more.

You can learn more about Boxbe here.

Anti-spam Boxbe

Activating Boxbe on your main email account

So, despite having worked at Boxbe for some time, I’ve not had the opportunity to put my money where my mouth is. That is to say, I had not yet used Boxbe for my main email account.

I’ve had the email address for six years, ever since I left the company. As a result, the email address has been “well used.” I’ve given it out to every website I’ve joined, every online merchant I’ve purchased a product from and essentially, I’ve given it to everyone I’ve met.

As a result, I was a little scared to turn Boxbe on this account in particular.

A little scary

Setting up a forwarding address is fairly painless. I switched over to using to anywhere I wasn’t comfortable giving out a “real” email address for fear of bacn at best and spam at worst.

When it came time to test Gmail, it was pretty painless. I had signed up for an account years ago, but the costs of switching to a new address are pretty high, so I didn’t really give it out. Plus, I could pull in all the email I received to Mac OS X Mail and not worry about ever going to the Gmail interface.

I knew the real test would be turning it onto my Yahoo! account. I had been a bit nervous, I mean, it’s my main email account. What would people think if they emailed me and got a “courtesy notice” that they had to respond to reach me?

What did they think?

Most people, it seems, don’t mind. New friends or acquaintances, took the captcha without even mentioning it to me. Old friends that change their email every six months (you know who you are), had to jump through some hoops, but no complaints there either. To be fair, my address book and my list of “approved senders” is fairly up to date, so the pain of proving their humanity was felt by few.

It seems in the day and age of Facebook and social networking in general, I think people are little more accustomed to there being some process involved the first time you communicate with someone. I think that email by invitation may have legs.

We’re all facing overwhelming spam problems and problems with attention in general. Personally, I don’t have a lot of spare time in my life, so the last thing I want to do is spend time clicking delete to get rid of spam or messages from “legitimate” marketers or other people I couldn’t care less about hearing from.


I’m happy to report that since I’ve been testing our product on Yahoo! Mail in the last week, I’m pretty excited about how well it’s working. No one is mad at me, I haven’t missed any important emails, I’m not dealing with spam that made it past Yahoo!’s filters, but best of all, I’m not missing any messages that may have erroneously marked as spam by an overzealous spam filter.

I’ll let you know when we’re out of our private beta and releasing it to a wider audience. Here’s a first, though, if you want to reach me, email me at

Now, what to do about my bacn problem.


Vote for Boxbe on Valleywag!

valleywag logo.jpg

Boxbe has been included in a poll on Valleywag today to select the hottest startups in Silicon Valley. We might be a little north, but we’d sure love your vote! We’re in with some pretty stiff competition from a lot bigger companies, so tell your friends, neighbors, coworkers, heck, anyone who will listen to go vote for us on Valleywag!


Anti-spam Boxbe Spam

Are we winning the war on spam?

oreillyradarlogo.jpgDale Dougherty over on O’Reilly Radar attempts to answer that question and reports on their efforts to combat spam.

In a given week, 94% of the 904,060 all messages sent to O’Reilly servers are rejected because:

  1. the IP has been blacklisted
  2. the message had a SpamAssassin score of 10 or higher
  3. the message contained viruses or malware
  4. the message failed some other anti-spam technique

(And that doesn’t even account for messages the recipients didn’t actually want.)

Dale interviewed a number of industry luminaries on whether or not “we” are winning the war on spam. Here are a few quotes:

Eric Allman – developer of sendmail, a prominent email protocol

It depends on how you define “win”. I still get junk phone calls, but the phone system is reasonably usable today. I think that spam can get to that level.

Brad Templeton – Chairman of the Board, Electronic Frontier Foundation

I wouldn’t say that. There are a number of fairly decently working filtering systems, though a number of them have concerns about false positives. This doesn’t rely on draconian blacklists, though some people use them.

Danny Goodman – prolific tech writer and programmer

“It’s a lot like the war on terrorism. The hardest part is defining what the war is. The offenders are not clearly defined, the war is not clearly defined.” He said the war seems like “a constant game of whack-a-mole.”

If you are interested in the war on spam, this article is a great overview.



First Boxbe board meeting

candies in quarantine

Photo by by Esthr.

Looks like I missed a Happy V-Day around the Boxbe office. From left to right – Esther Dyson, Steve Jurvetson, Thede Loder, and Corbett Barr.

Boxbe Social Media

Boxbe Blog is live

I’m excited to announce the launch of one of the projects I’ve been working on lately, the Boxbe blog. Boxbe, as you might remember is the market based spam solution I mentioned a few months back. We’re still figuring out all the ins and outs, so the blog is a little slow going right now, but we should be picking up post-wise in the not-to-distant-future.


Boxbe solves a couple of very real pain points for me.

First, as someone who wants to have conversations with readers and potential new clients, obfuscating my email in any way is a bad idea. I want people to be able to email me easily and Boxbe helps me do that.

Second, while the word ‘spam’ is loaded (one man’s spam is another man’s canned meat), certain kinds of emailers (Viagra, Vioxx, penny stocks, etc) will never pay one red cent to reach me, so those kinds of email are dead to me. Forever. Putting a small fee in the way of spammers pretty much removes them from the conversation as their business model is predicated on free email.

Anyhow, the service is a little rough right now, but it’s being improved on a daily basis and I expect to see a lot of updates to functionality and usability real soon now.

If you’d like to reach me, send email to

Boxbe Blog