Mailblocks Offers Free, Scaled Down Challenge Response

from the still-annoying dept

I’m still not a huge fan of challenge-response anti-spam systems, but I’m slowly changing my mind on them, depending on how they’re used. My problem with them, from the beginning, is that they have a huge false-positive rate – in that they basically consider everything spam, and only people who have emailed you before are considered legitimate (until they jump through an extra hurdle to contact you). It still seems a little obnoxious to make people jump through such an extra hurdle, but I can see some situations where it could work. I still think that instead of completely ditching all the emails that it holds up, people should get a chance to manually go through the list and approve emails. This way, it acts more like a prioritization system. If people want their email to definitely get through and be a priority, they can answer the response – but it’s not required. Still, it’s unclear how well the big player in the space, Mailblocks, is doing these days. Launched a year ago with a ridiculous amount of hype for what really amounts to a me-too play, they spent time and money on an ill-advised strategy of threatening to sue all their competitors for patent violation (which hasn’t gone well so far). At the same time, people have been reporting serious problems with the service – such as having the server go down and completely bouncing all email. Also, they recently (and tragically and unfortunately) lost their founder, who died unexpectedly at a very young age a few weeks ago. The company is moving on, however, and are now introducing a free, ad-supported, version of their product to try to entice new users. It’s lacking some features, but will probably find some users. However, it does suggest that people weren’t rushing to sign that quickly to sign up for the paid version.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Mailblocks Offers Free, Scaled Down Challenge Response”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
BtG says:

No Subject Given

Just as an FYI, the Earthlink challenge response system is setup in the way that you describe.

You can easily login and see what “suspect” email ha arrived, and function on it from that level (delete, move to inbox, add to okay list). You can also have it send you a report (daily, and other options) so that you don’t even have to login it. You can look over the report, which lists who the mail is from (well, who the header claims it is from) and the subject so that if there is no action required, no need to login (via the webmail interface).

Yes, it is annoying for the sender to verify themselves the first time, but with the report feature, I am able to approve 75% of the persons without them needing to go through the effort.

Chris says:

No Subject Given

I’ve been using the Mailblocks paid service for a couple of months now and I’m quite satisfied. Several users were pestering them about POP3 access and they added it in the new version. However, I also have a double secret email address that bypasses mailblocks, and I’ve provided that to my regular corrrespondents. They were down a bit this weekend, but other than that I haven’t had any service problems.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...