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February 15, 2013

Mailbox Nightmare Comes True: Overloaded Servers Crash on Valentine's Day

By Jacqueline Lee, Contributing Writer

If your significant other uses the new Mailbox app for iPhone (News - Alert), then the gushy Valentine’s e-mail that you sent yesterday probably didn’t get through.

Mailbox, a free e-mail app released this month, has gotten rave reviews from the technology community.

Mailbox is excellent,” Macworld’s Lex Friedman wrote last week. “The app is simply a joy to use and makes managing email as painless as possible.”

Painless—unless the server crashes. Mailbox hasn’t released the exact cause of the problem. Gentry Underwood, CEO of Mailbox’s parent company, Orchestra, only said, “We’ve hit some limits.”

Until yesterday, the buzz around Mailbox grew so prevalent that the company put wannabe users on a reservation system. Orchestra tried rolling out the app gradually in an effort not to overload its systems.

Reviewers were smitten with Mailbox at first sight. One of Mailbox’s most intriguing features is its Snooze function.

For example, if you receive a bill from your electric company on the 15th of the month but the bill isn’t due until the 31st, you can use the Snooze function to archive the e-mail until, say, the 30th.

Magically, the e-mail will appear at the top of your inbox on the 30th so that you have time to pay your bill online. You can even choose what time of day you want the e-mail to reappear depending on what works for you.

Mailbox works with Gmail accounts exclusively now, although support for other IMAP e-mail accounts is in the pipeline.

The app was back online yesterday evening. Until they understand what caused servers to overload, Underwood says they plan to pause the reservation system.

The team spared no effort to get the Mailbox app up and running. “We’re busting our asses to get it back up,” Underwood told VentureBeat yesterday. “The system is down for everyone right now. All of our team is working on it.”

So if your Valentine sent you an e-mail through Mailbox yesterday, you probably didn’t get it until you’d spent the whole day feeling neglected. Please don’t give yourself a chocolate hangover. Not even technology can defeat true love.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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