Junk email is simply a normal part of online life these days. As if spam wasn’t bad enough, we make our own lives harder by signing up for newsletters and social network updates through emails, which essentially becomes junk mail we’ve almost asked for.
Rather than doing anything about it, most of us just accept the reality that we’ll have dozens of unimportant emails to skim through each day. We check each one, just in case there’s some important info. We’re wasting our lives clicking on pointless emails instead of getting our work done. I, personally, am ready to wake up to just a few emails, rather than 37 junk emails sent the night before.
Luckily, there are two great new services that have really helped me cut down on the amount of junk email that I receive: Scoop and Unroll.me. Stick with me after the jump to learn how these two services helped take care of my junk email problem.
First up is a service called Scoop, a promising app that’s currently in private beta. Scoop targets junk emails from services you’ve signed up for. It takes all of these emails, summarizes them in one concise email, and sends the summary email to you in the middle of the night. That way, you wake up each morning to one email instead of a dozen or more from various services. It’s great if you don’t necessarily want to unsubscribe from a mailing, just in case there are some great deals sent out or other important info you need to see.
Reading emails you care about in Scoop is easy. Just click on the email you want to read in full from the summary, and it’ll open in a new tab in your browser. There, the full email is ready for you to read, just like it would have originally been in your inbox. Over time, Scoop learns which emails you are most likely to open. It then moves those emails up to the top of the list in the daily digest, making it easy for you to find the bulk emails you care most about.
For now at least, all management for Scoop emails is done from directly within the daily email. Click on the small gear icon beside every summarized email to choose from two options: unsubscribe from the list immediately, or move the email to your inbox. If you choose that option, then emails from that sender are sent in real time, directly to your inbox as before. Your other emails from other services will still come in as normal, while you’ll get the most important emails directly as soon as they come in, so you don’t miss anything.
Next up is a service called Unroll.me. Unroll.me offers a fairly similar service to what Scoop provides. However, Unroll.me requires you to do some work before you start receiving emails from them. When you first sign up for Unroll.me, you are asked to provide access to either your Gmail or Yahoo! account. Unroll.me then goes through and finds all possible subscriptions. You must then go through and choose to unsubscribe, move the email directly to the inbox or leave the email in the daily rollup.
Once you have decided what to do with all of the emails, Unroll.me sends the emails in a daily digest as well, although theirs is called a rollup. The rollup is available either through the Unroll.me site or through a daily email sent at a time of your choosing. The rollup shows all applicable emails on a timeline. You can also separate the emails by category, such as “Tools & Services,” “Daily Deals”, and more.
If you realize that you have mistakenly categorized an email into the wrong set (e.g. unsubscribed when you meant to keep it in your rollup), Unroll.me makes it simple to make changes. With just one click you can re-subscribe to a mailing, remove yourself from anything in your rollup and move emails from the inbox back into the rollup. It’s simple and straight-forward management of many emails that you receive.
Comparing the Services
The overall services provided by Scoop and Unroll.me are fairly similar, so let’s examine the differences in a bit more detail. First, let’s talk about what emails are included with both services. Scoop tends to include less emails by default, which is appropriate as the system that Scoop has to help manage emails is a bit less intensive. While Unroll.me has an entire web page dedicated to managing emails in great detail, Scoop allows management only from within the digest.
That being said, Scoop is a smarter service out of the box. No important emails were mistakenly categorized as part of the daily digest. Unroll.me, however, categorizes sites like my credit card company, my bank and Amazon as part of the mass email groups. Obviously I want to get emails from my bank in real time so Unroll.me definitely requires a bit more effort at the beginning to ensure that you continue to receive any important emails.
Going along with this mentality of including larger company emails within the digest, Unroll.me does provide easy access to manage email preferences with large companies. For example, Unroll.me wants to send Pinterest emails to the daily rollup by default. If I received a ton of emails from Pinterest, I might be tempted to allow this. Luckily, Unroll.me provides one-click access to Pinterest’s email settings from directly within the app. I was able to adjust my Pinterest preferences and continue to receive Pinterest emails in real time.
Last but not least is a small difference that is really more of a convenience thing. Unroll.me allows me to choose when I receive the daily rollup (at least generally). I can choose morning, afternoon or evening. Scoop sends the email whenever it chooses, typically around 1 in the morning for me. I wish I could choose to have the email sent around 5 or 6 am, allowing for more overnight junk emails to be included in the mailing.
In the long run, both services are great. I tried out Scoop first and loved it. The idea of a digest rather than just unsubscribing was a great twist. I loved how easy Scoop was to use (zero set-up) and management from within the email itself is quite convenient. I turned to Unroll.me, however, to try out a service with more features. In the end, I think I’m going to stick with Unroll.me. Once I made it through the initial annoyances of waiting for the app to check out my email and waded through all of the possible subscriptions that I could continue to receive, move to the inbox or simply unsubscribe from, it was well worth the time and effort.
Both services do a pretty great job, they just go about it in different ways. If you are looking for a simple service that is easy to use out of the box, check out Scoop (once it’s out of beta, anyway). If you require a bit more of a hands-on approach, try out Unroll.me.
I’m curious to hear from you. Have you tried a service like this? Perhaps you have tried out Unroll.me already. Are you planning to try out one of the apps? Share your thoughts in the comments below.