Software

Say good-bye to spam for good with Boxbe

Boxbe is a service that allows you to manage your e-mail messages, minus the junk mail. Listen to this podcast with Thede Loder, the founder and President of Boxbe, to learn about the service and the company's recent announcements.

Podcast

About a month ago, I discovered Boxbe... by accident. It was one of those rare "wow" moments that happens when you run across something that you haven't seen before and that you think has unlimited potential.

What is Boxbe? The Web site, http://boxbe.com/ says that you can think of it as "e-mail by invitation," where you can manage the messages that you receive in your inbox. You can allow certain senders permission from the get-go, but other people have jump through an encryption loop before their message gets through. In a nutshell, that means you won't have to worry about junk mail getting through spam filters or worry about legitimate mail getting filtered out as junk.

Today, November 29, 2007, is a big day for Boxbe, according to Boxbe's official press release:

With the release of Boxbe's new service, users of Yahoo! Mail, Outlook, and Gmail can now create an ‘email guest list,' which ensures that they receive messages only from those people who matter to them.

BoxbeThis sounds great, doesn't it? If you're anything like me, you're wondering what the catch is and how much money Boxbe is going to cost me each month. Sure, spam is annoying, but I'd rather delete junk mail than have to part with even a morsel of my hard-earned paycheck. Well, skeptics, Boxbe's service is free. If you don't believe it, drop on over to Boxbe.com and see for yourself. For a sneak peek at Boxbe, view these screenshots.

I had the opportunity to talk to Thede Loder, the founder and President of Boxbe, about the service and the company's recent announcements. To hear more about Boxbe, listen to the podcast.

About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

32 comments
Antagonist
Antagonist

None of these schemes work. Until the entire email system is re-invented from the ground up, there will always be some spam.

KeithAu001
KeithAu001

Bad digital certificate on download page can we really trust the program?

maxsecdsl.pipex.com
maxsecdsl.pipex.com

Lots of other 'approval' based schemes have come and gone - don't see anything new here.

techrepublic
techrepublic

Sonja is onto something. But the market for expressing "earnest intent" within a message system has matured past the forced payment mechanisms used by Boxbe and Goodmail... Vanquish has been developing and deploying a P2P trust system that lets strangers hop past filters if they wish. To do this, they don't pay the middleman. They EMPOWER the recipient. That is, the message contains an irrefutable, bank-backed risk that meets each recipient's personal cash requirement. Payment is made ONLY if the recipient feels irritated - and it is collected directly by the recipient. Why should it be anyone else? He/she is compensated for their time by Relevance, Existing friendship or Cash - take your pick! What did Esther say about Vanquish? (She is a Boxbe investor): "It's not whether your know the sender, but whether the sender knows you - or enough about you to take the risk that you will want to receive his mail ... With Vanquish, senders will monitor themselves." - And that's exactly what they do. Email remains fast and free and personal. NO central content authority. No payments for messages that sit well with recipients. Payments as high as the recipient wishes - if they don't. Phil R. (Vanquish Co-founder)

lbindustries1
lbindustries1

Sounds interesting, but when you click on the link to the site you get an error about the security certificate for the site. Being a domain name mismatch. Could it be a problem with your link or with the site?

MinJRB
MinJRB

If it works as well as it claims, I'll wait for the IPO.

john
john

People, if the war on spam was that easy, it would be over by now. There are so many problems with this kind of service that it flat out does not work in the real world. Yes, it may be fine for a restricted about of people that do not communicate via email with the world at large.

izarzuela
izarzuela

Have a similar solution from Australia which we resell 4 years ago called TotalBlock. Very inconvenient for people and an IT admin nightmare. You'll lose a lot of important emails. Customers didn't bite. Not for business. Just use white-black listing and you'll get a similar approach.

richard.gardner
richard.gardner

Yeah, Philips point struck me immediately - what's the difference between this and linkedin/facebook etc, it's just social networking with extremely limited functionality, and whitelisting isn't exactly newsworthy is it? As to SAV, that works to a point, but I don't think it's sophisticated enough - for example our corporate domain uses reverse DNS lookup to spread our email over a number of (essentially) redundant mail servers, which means we can cope with a downed server anywhere in the world and still retain full email functionality, but what this means is that essentially we are "spoofing" our email address. We do fall foul of SAV sometimes, although In truth I suspect this may be down to poor implementation, it does seem to be getting better.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

might be OK for friends but they don't want to bother with proprietary schemes to email you. alot of my email is from companies, newsletters, online clubs, etc. I can't remotely imagine them doing anything extra to send to me. This seems to be masquerading as a form of authentication but previous schemes have proved problematic. and with my yahoo account I already have disposable email addresses for groups of people. sure, it would be a minor hassle if the yahoo disposable email address got out and I started getting spam on it, then I would have to spend about as much effort as required to change brands of cigarettes by cancelling it and setting up a new one after telling my friends (and hoping they don't have spyware)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

A link to a biased Wikipedia page, one less than a month old with only three editors, appended by an equally biased member to a zombie discussion.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Good grief; if they receive payments for spam rights why can't they give the personal user a break on the service price!

Carl_Liu
Carl_Liu

Yes, to let a sender pay their way into your mailbox is a fair way to allow legitimate advertisers reach their potential customers. Actually, if there is a system similar to Google's AdWord auction, it should allow a recipient to balance his need for information and need for privacy. Meanwhile, commerce can flow freely, being controlled by the "invisible hand."

online
online

No, I don't think so. I have no idea what my company uses for spam filtering (we have over 30,000 users and I have no contact with the Exchange group), but it works great. For personal email I use Google and get less than one false positive on the average per week, and have had perhaps one false negative in the last six months.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

I've been using the service as soon as I read the article. Works great. However, one thing I notice that isn't so good. I got the following email: "Dear Rick, Boxbe for Yahoo! Mail has been temporarily suspended. To reactivate service, please respond to this email. It is not necessary to write anything in your email. We apologize for the inconvenience. Why has this happened? Yahoo! Mail requires all users to periodically prove that they are not an evil spam robot by taking a CAPTCHA test (the difficult to read squiggly text) after a certain number of email messages have been sent from their account. When this happens, Boxbe for Yahoo! Mail is deactivated. Responding to this message will reactivate Boxbe for your Yahoo! Mail account. Thank you for using Boxbe. Boxbe Support" Necessary? Maybe. Pain in the arse, YES. I came in this morning to find tons of spam in my inbox because of this.

raju.rawat@burrenegypt.
raju.rawat@burrenegypt.

Good Suggestion! But still users may have to click "NO" to block acceptance(atleast 25-35) times from that bloody spammers at large.

raju.rawat@burrenegypt.
raju.rawat@burrenegypt.

Good Suggestion! But still users may have to click "NO" to block acceptance from that bloody spammer.

raju.rawat@burrenegypt.
raju.rawat@burrenegypt.

Good Suggestion! But still users may have to click "NO" to block acceptance from that bloody spammer.

raju.rawat@burrenegypt.
raju.rawat@burrenegypt.

Good Suggestion! But still users may have to click "NO" to block acceptance from that bloody spammer.

jhardy
jhardy

If you only use email for family and friends it might be OK. But if you are a business user of any kind, you do not want to add any additional layers between you and your customers. A robust email server with layed spam protections can keep 99% (or more) of the spam out of your hair and let your customers and the rest of the honest public through with ease. Less than 1% is a low price to pay for speedy and open communication, in my opinion. Isn't that what the internet is all about? (Full disclosure - I work for SmarterTools and one of our products is a Windows mail server) Be well, Jeffrey J. Hardy

dirk
dirk

reads wonderful, but it doesn't work on VISTA OS, does it?

astralab
astralab

Postini is the way to go.

philip.ashworth
philip.ashworth

This seems completley pointless to me afterall who just uses email for communicating with a few freinds. There is already a form of this in most anti spam filters anyway that whitelists address's youve communicated with

JCitizen
JCitizen

You got spammed by a clever anti-boxbie spamer it sounds to me like. No security company EVER sends email that necessitates responding directly to the email. They should have given an obviously recognizable URL to paste into your browser. Or better yet you get hold of the target independently through your favorites or a google search. By responding to that email you opened yourself up it sounds like to me! You NEVER respond directly to a link in an email like this; if this is not the case and you didn't do this, then I digress.

TG2
TG2

While postini does a good job, they have some serious issues to contend with. First is that they have in the past 6 months had on average 1 day a week that emails started getting delayed. I say on average because there have been at least two weeks where email remained delayed by hours several days in a row. During some of their delay times, no one could log into their postini mailboxes, and if you could login to the user mail box, you were denied logging into the administrative interface. while the latter may not concern a user, when you're trying to admin a domain because a customer's mailserver failed, and their mail needs to be redirected ... its nothing short of a failure to provide service being paid for. Lastly, their whitelist/blacklist setup has a few flaws... namely.. one specific email that was repeatedly getting through on a faked header, and Postini's response was simply that because the domain was whitelisted, it wouldn't pickup the V word (viagra) that was not even spelled alternatively. Example. VIAGRA ? Official Site [user@some_whitelisted_domain.com] where "user@some..." was a real domain, but was NOT from the correct source .. as in the source of the email was not authorized (SPF) to send for that domain. But Postini wouldn't see the fake header, only the domain and presume valid, then whitelist it. Its not the way things should be done, and its one major reason their own filtering is just unacceptible. Those viagra named emails were hitting 5 to 10 times in a day all with fake headers .... thank YOU postini..

xmlmagician
xmlmagician

thank you philip....i am wondering if this woman is getting paid to write things like that...i hope she is doing it for free

techrepublic
techrepublic

Nothing new or revolutionary about this type of service. Many people have provided it over the years - I actually subscribed to one myyself, but dumped it after a few months, as an email to yourself might get delayed for days while someone replies to the "invitation" or you might NEVER get the email if the invitation gets eaten by a spam filter. total waste of time

kmcnutt
kmcnutt

I've been impressed with Sender Address Verification. I use Sendio to manage spam and have been very happy. We don't have to worry about setting up filters or relying on spam definitions to be updated from vendors while they try to block the newest technique.

wolfe60
wolfe60

Where I work we are using Postini for a large number of customers and to works far better than other solutions we have used. it has cut 99% of SPAM at most locations. We have restricted all SMTP traffic to be coming from Postini only and it has worked well!!

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

I have quite a few PR people who seek me out, but I was the one who contacted Boxbe for an interview, since I was so impressed with their service. It's interesting that people are so quick to diss the service before they've personally tried it.