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Back in early 2009, I wrote the first Famous Inbox for Darth Vader over at a marketing website. Just for a bit of fun. I added another one every couple of months and, in late 2010, they caught the attention of the wider world.

It was coverage of the Elizabeth Bennet inbox on the homepage of a big UK daily newspaper in October 2010 that made me decide to turn the idea into its own website and ramp up production.

There is no agenda or ulterior motive other than plain and simply to have a bit of fun and entertain. In the real world, I’m a business writer and lecturer.

Questions I sometimes get asked:

Q. What software do you use to create the inboxes?
A. Nothing special. I send the emails to myself using different from names and then take a screenshot of the results.

Q. Why don’t you use image editing software?
A. Because unfortunately I have the design and image editing talent of a dead bat.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Roxanne November 6, 2010 at 12:44 am

I think this is such a great idea! It is refreshing to see a a site doing something new with email. It’s a nice change from the delivery stats, conversion rates and stuffy analytics that bog down all of the other sites!

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Mark Brownlow November 8, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Thanks Roxanne: I’m having a lot of fun with it I have to say.

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Tommy Coyne January 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Every so often you come across a website that is what, to me, the interweb should be all about.
Forget porn, damning cables being released or doom and gloom.
Entertainment – it’s the future methinks
You have obviously put a lot of effort into this but, believe me: your endeavours are appreciated.

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Mark Brownlow January 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Thanks Tommy, appreciate your kind words.

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Senga White April 15, 2011 at 1:01 am

Hi Mark

I love this idea! I have passed your website link on to all my teaching colleagues at the school I work for as a great teaching tool that could become a new way of engaging students in literature, history or drama in a context that has real potential to hook them in. It would be a new and quirky presentation method after studying a period of history, a novel or a play.
Thanks for the inspiration!

Senga White
Library Manager
James Hargest College
Invercargill
New Zealand

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Mark April 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Thank you Senga! I’ve had similar comments about using the famous inbox concept as a teaching resource and am thinking of producing some extra collections specifically for that purpose: my wife teaches English so between us we ought to have a few ideas.

Also…love New Zealand.

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Senga White August 30, 2011 at 11:40 am

Hi again, Mark
I just wanted to let you know that I ran a “Famous In-boxes” competition as part of our Library Week celebrations last week. I printed six in boxes and the students had to guess whose inbox it was. It was very successful!
I also promoted your website as part of a presentation at a Teacher-Only day for English teachers recommending good online tools to support the curriculum.
I love reading your new offerings
Senga

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Mark August 30, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Thank you Senga and what a great idea! I’m chuffed and really glad the inboxes are helping people engage more with topics like history and English literature. Curiously, it’s done the same for me. I’m finding a new appreciation for people like Jane Austen through researching each inbox.

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MARTA July 14, 2011 at 5:40 am

GREAT FUN. WELL DONE MARK.
XX

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Mark Brownlow July 14, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Thanks MARTA!

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Jillian October 7, 2011 at 9:03 am

Hilarious idea. I spotted this on Tumblr for Elinor Dashwood. Thanks for taking the time to write these! :-D

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Lori January 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Would you consider letting students create inboxes? :)

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Han February 23, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Hey Mark, love your idea and i find it very hilarious. But i have no idea how to sent myself a message using different names at all with Gmail. So can you help me how to please.

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Mark Brownlow February 25, 2014 at 6:53 am

https://support.google.com/mail/answer/8158?hl=eni

Han. I don’t use Gmail to send the emails but I believe you can change your from line in the settings under accounts. See the above link.

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