OtherInbox, a web service that offers greater control over your e-mail through its Defender product, looks to be changing its offering as this year draws to a close. I first wrote about OtherInbox January 1st of 2009 and I’ve been using it even longer. It works well to stop junk mail, like the spam I’ve been receiving as a result of signing up through Active.com (I do believe they’ve moved onto sending me magazines now too.). OtherInbox also has a feature for organizing your incoming mail automatically by creating separate folders for each address you create.
Now the site is looking to change how its service works. Instead of having your e-mail on the OtherInbox servers, they’re going to be off-loading that mail and piggy-backing off of Gmail. Read the message sent to all OtherInbox users earlier this week:
Dear OtherInbox user,
This is a shout out to you! Thank you for being a loyal user of OtherInbox!
I want to thank you for using our Defender product. This was the first product we launched that allowed you to give out unlimited disposable email addresses you can make up on the fly like email@example.com.
Defender hasn’t received a lot of attention in the past year, but a lot has changed outside of OtherInbox. Gmail now offers OAuth and OpenID access to the Inbox and introduced new options for managing labels and nesting them.
Therefore, we came up with a way to use Defender inside Gmail, the same way that you can use Organizer inside of Gmail. I’ve been testing it out for a couple months now and think it’s much better. I hope you will think so too!
Now Defender is inside Gmail
To take advantage of Gmail’s features like search and mobile access, Defender users will need to move their accounts to Google Apps. To switch over to Google Apps, you will need to do three things:
- Sign up for a Google Apps account
- Verify your OIB domain
- Activate Organizer
The links above provide step-by-step instructions on how to set things up.
We’ve also set up instructions for:
- Using multiple domains with Google Apps (Note: yourname.oib.com and yourname.otherinbox.com are technically two different domains, so use this to get all your email if you’ve used both)
- Copying emails from OtherInbox to Google Apps
By the end of the year, all Defender users will need to make this switch. After December 31, 2010, we will be turning off the OtherInbox Defender page (http://my.otherinbox.com).
This will have good side effects
Once we transition everyone to Defender 2.0, we will be able to delete a lot of code and turn off a few servers. We no longer will be maintaining code that duplicates functionality provided by Gmail (message viewing, composing, IMAP) and instead can focus on better organiztion, spam protection, and exciting email apps to come!
CEO and Founder
So the side benefits of making this change will allow them to save money by having fewer servers and off-loading much of the service to Gmail. OtherInbox has been rather stagnant since its launch. It previously had bigger plans with features like coupons and calendars but those have remained hidden and would appear to never be happening after the above announcement. At this point, I wonder if it wouldn’t make more sense for them to just open-source/sell the software to those with their own servers to run OtherInbox locally. Certainly using OtherInbox with your own domain greatly improve the use of the product.
From my experience OtherInbox has had more hiccups than successes in the past two years. Due to some spans of unreliability or slower performance, I’ve changed a lot of my practices away from OtherInbox anyways. Gmail with the ‘address+unique’ works well to set up filters and track where someone got your e-mail address from as it is. The moral of the story that I’ve held for a while now is “Never do business with a company that uses GetSatisfaction for the support.” It’s not worth it and ironically not satisfying.