Mailblocks Sells Out To AOL

from the there-goes-that-plan dept

When Mailblocks launched a year and a half ago, it seemed really strange. Here was a company that was doing exactly what a number of other companies were already doing (challenge-response email), but somehow Mailblocks got a ridiculous amount of press for their “me too” offering. They also suddenly trotted out a bunch of pointless patents and started suing everyone until a judge told them to give it up as the patents didn’t seem particularly valid. Since then, the company has been fairly quiet. There have been reports of semi-frequent outages of the service, and unlike the predictions, it appears that challenge-response hasn’t really taken off like people planned. So, the company with a big patent plan and good press contacts ended up quietly selling out to AOL, so that AOL can now offer an option that Earthlink gave its customers quite some time ago.

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 Sells Out To AOL”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Chris says:

No Subject Given

I’ve been using Mailblocks since late last year – haven’t had any problems with the service. In fact, I can’t imagine dealing with email sans challenge-response at this point.

However, I wonder how the AOL acqisition will affect me? I wonder if AOL will eventually write off us non-AOL customers by reserving the service exclusively for AOL members.

Jordan Bressler says:

Re: No Subject Given

Sean –

I read with interest the various glowing reviews of the Mailblocks service, and I can see that they have been successful in pulling the wool over the eyes of many tech reporters. They managed to snow Walter Mossberg at the WSJ so bad that he is even now acting as a shill for their product.

To wit:

I have been having a persistent problem with the Mailblocks service that speaks to the heart of their product. For a period of six weeks and counting, the Mailblocks product will not “serve” my Yahoo! bulk mail folder contents. Thus, the bulk mail (spam) filtering is of no use to me.

They refuse to take my issue seriously, refuse to acknowledge the problem and refuse to send me personalized replies — instead sending me form letters with information that is not applicable to my issue. I will be happy to share some of these messages with you if you’d like.

Further, they will not phone me to find out more about my issue nor will they give me a phone number to contact THEM. And when I finally had enough and asked them to cancel the service, they refused to offer a refund — again sending some form letter response that showed about as much heart as a dead fish.

We’re not talking about a random, tolerable glitch here. We are talking about a complete and utter systemic failure for the product to peform the most basic and critical operation that justifies its existence — the sorting, and blocking, of spam from a third-party E-mailbox. That’s just inexcusable.

I have always been bemused by the Mailblocks entry portal page, which they use to trumpet how wonderful they think their product is. I now see, with their purchase by AOL, what their primary focus has been all along — to make a product that “looks good,” cosmetically on the surface, to quickly turn a profit by selling out — but failing to focus on the individual consumer. I certainly hope AOL realizes the piece of junk they’re getting. I haven’t seen a snow job this effective since the height of the dot-com boom.

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...