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Where did I leave off last?

Oh, right. An email from an angry and scammed escort. Totally normal customer service inquiry!

Here’s the first contact that we received:

Sex, Drugs and… Engineering?

This certainly woke me up quicker than my usual morning coffee. Copied in the Recipient line were a huge amount of email addresses, this woman is pissed off.

You see the red rectangle of attachments? We’ll get to those eventually.

At this point, we had a quiet week and I thought that the seller was finally out of our hair. We seemed to have a good handle on our next steps, even though frustrating — the roadmap was clear:

  1. Get Sign-Up and Tracking working sans Gmail OAuth.
  2. Get Scheduled Emails working again.
  3. Get PINGs working again.
  4. Show a lot of TLC to our customers.
  5. Get more and more comfortable with the systems used to admin the business, and consolidate where we had redundant systems (this will be its own post eventually, for the more tech-savvy ones, this part is juicier than the escort drama).

The escort drama and the flurry of wild emails and details that followed it were, best described as follows:

Sex, Drugs and… Engineering?

Reading this prior to 6 AM EST means that Joe is likely asleep.

How angry would Joe’s wife get if I called now?

Hmmmmm, this is a big thing. Who can I ask at this hour? My wife? Let’s see:

Honey, I just got an email from a hooker and —

OK, I’ll just text Joe — hopefully, his phone isn’t on silent.

Sex, Drugs and… Engineering?

Huffington Post, New York Times, CNN, BuzzFeed, etc. are seeing all of this stuff. The attachments are weird and gnarly — and we’ll never release them. While I see the entertainment of what’s unfolding in my inbox, I also see MailTag in the crosshairs, and at this point — I’m thinking, how can we protect the company? we’re already in a fragile state.

Emails start coming in asking us for comments and details on the transaction, the escort is replying to us and the outlets with even more details… My head is spinning. It’s not even 5 PM yet and I think I have my first grey hair.

I get another urgent message, this time it comes from internally (Jameel Khan, Engineering Lead) and is on Slack….

My stomach sinks…

I remove the current version of the Extension from my browser, clear cookies, and cache, then install the Staging Extension (a place for testing, not for the general public)…. and draft a test email to Jameel and nervously wait for Jameel, I knew he was testing the build and might not see my email immediately.

Then it happened:

Browser Notification, check. Email Notification showing receipt of the tracked email? Right on cue:

How about that? ✅

A few hours later:

We begin seeing new user sign-ups. This means the beginning (step 1 of 3, and likely the easiest step) of our Gmail OAuth workaround was successful. WAY ahead of schedule. 🎉

Back to sex and drugs? Yes.

Here’s an email we’re copied on from a major publication, they’re interested in the story and asked for more granular detail:

And her reply:

I’m exhausted recounting all of this.

How much more of this nonsense are we going to deal with? What’s next? Ugh.

As you read, we saved the baseline service. While you wait for Chapter 5, it would be helpful to hear your guys’ feedback. Please→ install MailTag ← and send any and all feedback to us directly: ben@mailtag.io or joe@mailtag.io (extra points if you track your email to us 😉).

Ready for Chapter 5? Here you go →https://digest.mailtag.io/how-we-decreased-our-churn-rate-by-70/

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