According to a study conducted by Microsoft, 82 percent of today’s emails are gray mail, which for most users couldn’t be more annoying when trying to check their messages or when emailing a friend. And just what is gray mail exactly?
“It’s somewhere between spam, which is stuff that you outright don’t want, and your personal or business stuff that you do want,” said Josh Rosenwald, founder of Unroll.me, a company that organizes your inbox and allows you to unsubscribe from companies sending you emails.
“It’s a gray area that we call gray mail -- that’s Groupon emails, things that are subscriptions or newsletters,”
“Once you go to Amazon and you start shopping and you check-out, they sign you up for that newsletter, and that’s gray mail. Daily deals are gray mail, Facebook updates, Twitter updates, those emails are all gray mails. So it’s a gray area that’s not illegal but it’s also not your personal messages that you’re definitely interested in,” he says.
Rosenwald started Unroll.me once he noticed communicating with friends was becoming more of a task due to all of the unwanted messages he received in his inbox on a daily basis. He and his partners decided to create an easy and effective way to properly gather and organize wanted emails, while making it just as easy to cast out the unwanted ones.
“When you log in we scan your inbox for what we would regard as a newsletter or subscription, then right away we give you a list of all the subscription and newsletters you have,” Rosenwald explained. “Then we give you some options. The first option is you can unsubscribe by clicking the minus button next to each subscription, and you’ll be unsubscribed.”
“Once you’re done getting rid of the stuff that you don’t want, all the stuff you don’t need, we’ll put it into a daily digest. So everyday instead of getting 20 or 30 or even 50 different emails, all your Facebook updates, all your box updates, all your Twitter updates, or Groupon newsletter -- instead of getting them throughout the day in your mailbox, you’ll get one email only with all of those emails in it,” he said.
Initial consumer reaction to Unroll.me has been extremely positive, mainly because the site is easy to use, and free says Rosenwald. He also says consumers have been fed-up with gray emails for quite some time and users have found the site to be of great value, since they’re now able to have their inboxes pre-organized and much easier to navigate.
Right now Unroll.me supports Gmail and Google Apps but the company will be working with other email carriers, like Yahoo in the near future Rosenwald says.
Less of a chore
He also explains that his main goal is to not only improve the overall experience of email, but to make it less of a chore-- because there are times when you’re so annoyed after deleting all the subscriptions and updates in your inbox, you don’t even feel like checking your personal messages anymore.
Also by using the site, Rosenwald says, users will never receive another subscription email again once unsubscribed. But if you like, you can always reselect a subscription to be included into the group of the emails you actually want to read. All and all, it's a pretty useful feature to have.