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Boxbe is a free service that purports to prioritize and screen spam in personal email. Users can select which email they want to receive, and which email goes to spam. It presents a challenge to the sender that requires a human response.
Boxbe has been criticized for spamming users' contacts without their permission.
Boxbe starts with the user allowing Boxbe access to all of the user's Email contacts. Boxbe then gives priority to contacts that users allow. Integration within Gmail (including Google Apps), AOL, Yahoo! Mail and their affiliates lets Boxbe stay up to date so it can screen email.
Boxbe was founded in 2005 by Thede Loder and Corbett Barr. Venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Esther Dyson were both investors, with Dyson and Steve Jurvetson serving as board members. Beyond challenge response, Boxbe initially used the Attention Bond Mechanism (the option of paying a fee to deliver the email) as a way to filter spam, which they later abandoned. Boxbe company founder Thede Loder along with Marshall Van Alstyne and Rick Wash wrote the initial paper on Attention Bond Mechanism which describes the Attention Bond as "allowing recipients to define a price that senders must risk to deliver the initial message.",. Technically capable users can assemble many of these functions, such as whitelisting.
Boxbe appears not to be functioning since 10 Dec 2012. Emails to Boxbe support and to Randy Stewart (VP of Product) are returned as undeliverable, and the filtering service lets every Email through. Whether this is temporary or terminal is unknown.
Boxbe has been criticized as an internet fraud scheme that enables spammers to buy access to Boxbe member's in-boxes for the purpose of sending spam. Users have complained that it spoofs their address in email soliciting others to become members.
Boxbe is said to cause problems with legitimate bulk email senders that rely on bounce filters in order to remove email addresses from databases. The claim is that Boxbe replies to the mail servers with the standard "Click here to be put on my Guest List" email but alters the original mail headers by completely removing the original recipient's address. Bounce filters require this data in order to stop sending email to the original address. This causes bloating in databases as well as internet congestion.
Alec Saunders, VP of Developer Relations for RIM, said that Boxbe kept spamming his contacts without his permission and there was no way to cancel his account or stop Boxbe from spamming his contacts.
One way that Boxbe promotes its service is by sending email to addresses on a member's Guest List.
In 2012, eDataSource, Inc. purchased the assets of Boxbe, Inc.