There’s a brand new nightclub in town, you’ve heard rave reviews, but the line to get in stretches around the block and it seems like you have no chance of getting in. This is the best way I can describe what’s currently happening with the new app simply titled Mailbox. In an effort to build “a buzz” and “go viral” they’ve brought the skeumorphic concept of waiting in line to the digital front. And it’s slightly obnoxious.
I think the idea of Mailbox is nice. They want to make it easier for you to handle the innundation of email you get. They have all sorts of helpful features like pushing back emails to later in the day or not responding till the weekend. All of these features don’t matter though until I can actually try the app. Currently though I have 5000 people in line in front of me, which actually isn’t too bad. There are folks out there who have half a million users in front of them.
This idea seems counterintuitive to me. Most great products become popular because of word of mouth, not exclusivity. A great example is the lines outside of Apple. People aren’t lining up because it’s fun to line-up and wait for a prodcut, they’re lining up because Apple makes consistently great products. I have no idea if Mailbox is great though, I can only go off of the opinions of certain bloggers or tech pundits who’ve had the ability to review the app. And their reviews say it’s extremely helpful and it can easily replace the Mail app (I’m a strong supporter of the Gmail app, personally). Is it right for me? I wish I could tell you.
Ultimately I decided to delete the app until I hear the opinions of the peopel I trust most: The people I follow on Twitter. Even then at least six designer friends on Twitter have expressed the opinion that they really don’t give a shit. I’m with them for the time being.
Hype doesn’t help me manage my inbox more effectively.
Update: Here’s a story from Venture Beat which explains that they’re doing the wait list so they don’t crash their servers. They also say that they didn’t charge $3 for the app because ““We originated too much interest too fast.” Isn’t that the perfect reason to charge? And wouldn’t that money have helped them buy more servers so their app wouldn’t crash? So much drama.