Last summer, as part of our ‘Startup Concept for Sale‘ series, we opened bidding on MailCounter – a startup idea The Next Web launched in 2009 as a way of measuring email shares of online content. Part of the package on offer was a post about the winning bidder. So, who ended up buying it, and what are they doing with it? Let’s find out…

The successful bidders were Florida-based Henry Timmes and Justin Gardner, the founders of Unlock The Inbox. Timmes had realized that there’s a lot more to sending email then the average person thinks, and that being able to send email successfully is critical to most businesses. Collaborating with Gardner, Unlock The Inbox was born in 2011 with the goal of providing the best email deliverability tools on the Internet.

“Email is the most powerful tool today to allow you to communicate with your current audience,” says Gardner. “It seems so simple on the surface, but when you dig in deeper and learn about all the different aspects of mailing you begin to realize it’s a profession on its own.”

Screen Shot 2012 12 31 at 11.31.34 220x103 Unlock The Inbox has acquired MailCounter from The Next Web. What are they going to do with it?“Unlock The Inbox is dedicated to everything email and is designed to be a resource and tool site to guide people though all the different aspects of sending email; authentication, security, compliance, formatting and proper content creation,” says Gardner. “Our tool set is geared towards assisting email senders to properly test and set up all the different aspects of an email system to ensure they can get the best delivery rate when sending out emails.”

Gardner says that one of the more popular tools offered by Unlock The Inbox is its Email Authentication Testing Tool, which allows users to ensure that they have their email account configured properly, simply by sending an email.Other tools on offer include a domain and IP blacklist monitoring service and an email list validation service for helping to reduce bounce rates.

So, what will they be doing with MailCounter? “We like the idea and concept behind MailCounter. It’s a fast and easy component to install that quickly adds value to any website,” says Gardner. “The component fits in perfectly with our extensive tool set based around email deliverability. Another added benefit of MailCounter is its potential reach that will allow email senders to find our site so they can benefit from our resources and tools.

emailthis2 Unlock The Inbox has acquired MailCounter from The Next Web. What are they going to do with it?

“In the future we plan to enhance the functionality of GetMailCounter.com to provide users different options, styles and designs that will make integration and design that much better.”

The future of email

With plenty of talk in recent years about how email is far from the optimal way of communicating, what does Gardner see as the future of email?

“Seeing the industry from our vantage point it seems unlikely that email is going to go away anytime soon. Things are still fairly young for email and there are exciting improvements that are taking place on a regular basis to make the underlying architecture more secure and reliable.

“We really don’t see things changing so drastically as to render email obsolete within the next 10 or more years. But these are exciting times in the technology industry so all we can really do is observe the changing world of email and adapt with it.”

Assuming email isn’t replaced by a better tool in the next few years, Unlock the Inbox plans to  continue to develop its tool set to be more comprehensive and user friendly, and helping customers’ businesses be as successful when it comes to their email.

Image credit: Oli Scarff / Getty Images