Wednesday, April 14, 2010

15 Years of Pobox: The Wired article that got it all started!

7 comments
Do you recognize this magazine cover?



If so, you might be one of our very first customers! The May 1995 issue of Wired magazine included the following sidebar in first page of the Scans section:

Email Trail

A new service called pobox.com offers an easy-to-remember e-mail address that you can use for the rest of your life (or the life of the company, anyway.) For example, any mail sent to mengwong@pobox.com is forwarded to pobox.com founder Meng Weng Wong's CompuServe account (71552.1674@compuserve.com). This way, if you switch online services, you don't need to message everyone you know informing them of your new e-mail address -- just e-mail your new information to pobox.com. --Mark Frauenfelder Price information: pobox@pobox.com, http://pobox.com/pobox/signup.cgi


Well, Meng's CompuServe address is long gone, but you can still email him at mengwong@pobox.com. And for those of you who took the chance that "the life of the company" was going to be a timespan that was useful to you, a very hearty thank you.

Monday, April 5, 2010

15 Years of Pobox: Memorable Customer Service Requests

4 comments
Not to toot my own horn, but I think Pobox Customer Service is great. I'm so proud to be able to work at a place where, by and large, we can actually help people resolve the issues they're having, not just give them canned responses or read off a script.

We think customer service is so important that virtually every staffer, no matter what job they've been hired to do, spends their first week doing email customer service. It helps new staffers get an idea of who you guys are, what you think is important, problems that people are worried about, areas of the service that need improvement, and the kinds of areas people are interested in us spending more time on.

That being said, because so many of you use your Pobox address (or URL!) for your own businesses, we get more than a few customer service questions or complaints about services we have NOTHING to do with, like the time we were asked for a refund for our guinea pigs. We've been told our kittens were insufficiently cute (I forwarded that one to the kitten cuteness complaint department), and our muesli lacks the requisite number of sultanas. We've been asked for help rescheduling people's travel plans, and for processing returns of products too varied to mention.

It's not all complaints, though! We've also gotten requests to join our band, from piano players in the Ukraine. He may have actually been looking for this band, but it did spur many a discussion about what instruments we would all play. Thankfully, Rock Band came out, and only our friends and loved ones have been subjected to the stylings of the Pobox house band.

There are many support emails that have stood the test of time, but one in particular is frequently cited in tales of Pobox CS history. I have reprinted it below.


logmeoutofthisaccountbecausesomeoneisusingmynameillegallyibelieveitis
venuswilliamsthetennisproandhergangongtheirtourstalkingmeongalveston
islandintexastheyareinvisibleasholographs,abusingassualtingmeandmywife
thatsaholographto.tiamowerythedisneystaranactorofsistertosisterthey
arethreatinghernottogetoutoftheholographtheywillkillherandmethatswhy
theyaremessingovermyemailandstealinginfothatimightgetwithinaemail
accountanytimeeventhoughihavebeenemailingthepresidentfromtimetotime
abouttheieractivityeverydayfollowingmesunupsundownevenwhileisleepstill
filmingthemselvesabusingmeandfilmingpronoabuseofandontheassualtofmy
wifealways.pleasereporttrhisimportantoftheiractivityasapthisis
importantwhereeverigetfreeemailwithinanacountstatusvenuswilliamsand
gangathreattoeveryonesystemwithintheinternetsystem.theyarerealslick,
getyourlawyersonthem.okiamtypinginrosenberglibrarygalveston,texasand
theinvisiblearewatchingmetypethisrightnowthatshowmuchathreattheyare
tomedamsomeonejusthitmewiththierfistandifeelthatpunchinvisiblepunch
thatsallisignbackuptommorrowok


So, remember, if you're on Galveston Island, beware the invisible punch!