Boxbe, the San Francisco company that wants you to accept marketing pitches through an email account, has raised $1.5 million in venture capital.
We wrote about this company last month, and said it sounds pretty useless.
Basically, you create an-email account at Boxbe, provide some basic information about yourself, and then you set a price marketers have to pay to contact you. The marketers earn the right, thereby, to have their email get to your other, regular email account. Boxbe takes a 25 percent cut. The company suggests you set the price somewhere between 15 and 25 cents per email. The idea is, if they have to pay, marketers will stop spamming. But this won’t keep marketers from spamming your regular box anyway.
Boxbe gives spammers another way to reach you without paying. The marketers merely need to fill out a short questionaire.
Boxbe says its email is good to have on a public site, such as a MySpace profile or blog, so you don’t have to give out your regular email address. But if the spam is going to get to your regular address anyway, what is the point? There are other ways to get messages from your blog without giving out your email address, such as contact forms.
It is the latest controversial investment by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which has a fascination with these sorts of gimmicks. Recently, it invested in PayPerPost, a site that pays bloggers to write things for marketers — and until recently argued that bloggers didn’t need to disclose they were being paid. DFJ was also behind Hotmail, the free email account that became known as a popular tool among spammers. DFJ’s Steve Jurvetson joints the Boxbe board. Tech pundit Esther Dyson also joins the board, and has invested. These are credible investors, so perhaps they know something we don’t. Maybe the lure of money really will drive people to sign up? Why not just create a dummy account at Hotmail or Yahoo to have the spam sent there, and let marketers pay you and just not read any of it? It may not be worth the effort, because Boxbe makes you acknowledge you’ve received each paid email before it pays you.