≡ Menu

The $10,000 Facebook Email Challenge

I dread getting email on Facebook. 

How is it that Facebook, with 200 million users, still suffers along with the same broken email client as two years ago.  With no folders, no offline mode, slow search, no forward, no ability to add people to a thread, no archive capability, and no ability to delete multiple messages, it is the worst email experience I’ve ever encountered.  The proxied email message I get in my Outlook Inbox when somebody mails me on Facebook only adds salt to the wound, because I can’t reply to it – without logging into Facebook and using their brain dead email client. That’s the reason my Facebook Inbox is clogged with thousands of messages, and some important messages go unanswered. 

You’d think that an enterprising third party developer might have created a solution to this – a connector to Facebook for Outlook, or a better Facebook email application that can run in the Facebook environment.  The answer is sadly, no. 

Here’s my challenge.  I’ll put up $200 toward a prize for the first Facebook email client (offline or otherwise) that will allow me to effectively manage my Facebook inbox.  If you have a Facebook inbox problem, join me – put your pledge in the comments below.  Let’s see if we can raise $10,000 for some lucky developer to fix Facebook’s email problem.  And if you’re the first developer to deliver a working modern replacement for Facebook’s email, then you hit the jackpot!

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • NumberGarage Matt June 24, 2009, 11:12 am

    It’s funny. I never thought about the Facebook inbox experience until now. Maybe I just don’t take messages as serious as email. Or, I figure if people have something important to tell me they can just email me. Unfortunately that is not reality. Facebook is my personal communication channel and my personal friends are more likely to contact me there than through email. My personal email is dying between facebook and sms.

    I agree with you. There does need to be better execution and integration with Facebook mail. I will contemplate a personal pledge.

    • NarutoShack - Download Naruto November 2, 2010, 9:41 pm

      I agree. I hardly use my email now. Most of what I do (unfortunatly) in regards to social networking is all on facebook. The funny thing is I can’t STAND the company OR website. Ironic that being without it would be hugely detrimental …

  • Brad Templeton June 24, 2009, 5:02 pm

    Is there a way to put up $200 to stop somebody from doing this? Is this what is good for the world, proprietary e-mail systems inside walled gardens that can't email outside or get email from outside? That, as you say, send you an email you can't reply to, and don't offer a way to tell people you prefer to get your email in another box? Do we want to make this trend better?

    Yes, people are abandoning regular email because of the spam, and moving to proprietary systems like facebook which are able to defend against it by being a gatekeeper (and getting to see all your mail.) Can't we find a better answer than that?

    Allowing reply securely would be pretty easy, since almost all mailers put in an in-reply-to header so facebook could assure the reply came from the person who got a message and not a spammer.

    Or let me digitally sign my mail, and then mail anybody on facebook from outside with a signed email, even mail to firstname.lastname, giving an error only if I have two friends with the same name.

    • Alec June 24, 2009, 5:51 pm

      Hey Brad,

      Thanks for the comment. The solution I would like to see most of all is something that would let me take my Facebook email into a modern email client. Outlook, Thunderbird — whatever. Just something that lets me manage it. I have over 1600 unread mail messages in Facebook, and will likely never get the mailbox cleaned up.

      And don't even get me started on LinkedIn.

  • Brad Templeton June 24, 2009, 7:59 pm

    Well, you would not have those messages in facebook if it would just forward to you a replyable message. (Or you need not care about them.)

    But being able to import from facebook doesn't alter the main point. We don't want a series of walled garden emails, which nobody can interoperate with, and you have to go to facebook to mail facebook users and myspace to mail myspace users. It would be like AIM and MSN Messenger all over again.

  • Alec June 25, 2009, 2:35 am

    For sure. I can't believe that it would be that difficult to build a Facebook app, however, that would transparently forward email and manage replies.

  • iquanyin August 24, 2009, 9:30 am

    um, will facebook allow it? (i’d rather ask than google it). because i too have trouble crediting that absolutely no one has tried to do this. i’m guessing plenty have but fb said no.

    but i could be wrong. hope so, cause it would be nice!

  • Si D September 7, 2009, 12:17 pm

    i assume facebook would allow it – they're on a massive expansive drive right now, and anything which gets people using their systems would probably be viewed positively. also, they seem to have a pretty open development platform, and are encouraging apps to interact with them as the de facto cloud for personal contacts storage.

    If you get the chance to look at the facebook integration of some of the new HTC phones, in terms of contact info and status update parsing, they've almost got that nailed. An extraction & conversion plugin for outlook shouldn't be impossible… but then i know little about programming!

    Si throws $25 on the pile.

  • JA June 10, 2010, 5:28 pm

    They now do this (replyable emails) with wall posts but not messages! What gives?

Leave a Comment