Get Email Under Control and Save Time with AwayFind

The current version of AwayFind is an interesting and incredibly helpful idea. It was developed to help you get control of email by only notifying you of urgent messages, and thus the freedom to deal with the rest when you wanted. However, it isn’t just limited to this. It is capable of many more creative uses as well.

For some, email can be a swamp of spam, forwards or unimportant information or notifications. This can be time consuming and frustrating. AwayFind provides a solution to alleviate this (or other) problem(s).

Let’s take a quick look at what AwayFind has to offer.

Purpose

The method was simple enough; set up an AwayFind account which allowed you to create a personalized contact page that, when filled out, would send you the message via SMS. The idea being that you could include the URL to the contact page in an email signature or auto response that, hopefully, the person trying to reach you would use in an emergency. AwayFind even provided some customizable templates to help you create said signatures and auto responses.

AwayFind Home

AwayFind Home

Downfalls

There were some problems with this idea. First of all, it relied on “training” or upon senders using their judgment as to what was an emergency was, and what was not. Even if that training was ideal, it still relied on them taking the time to go to the URL and fill out the contact form.

Email Signature Link

Email Signature Link

If you did set up the auto response, it was dependent on the limits of your email client. Therefore making it likely that people got this message either too much (i.e. whenever they sent you an email‚ which was annoying at best or spammy at worst) or too little (once and only once‚ thus easily ignored or forgotten).

Auto Responder

Auto Responder

AwayFind Revamped

The next version of AwayFind, code named “Orchant” and currently in private beta, is a complete rethinking of the service with the goal of taking the best ideas of the product to heart while curing all of the problems with the original. In my opinion, it largely succeeds. In fact, it is an effort to finally provide the kind of server side, multiple account filtering that many I know have long dreamed about. Essentially, it is like having a virtual assistant for your email.

Orchant Beta

Orchant Beta

How It Works

Orchant can monitor incoming email for any account that you provide via IMAP (assuming your provider supports it). It can even monitor multiple accounts. You can set up mail rules for any field (Sender, Subject, Body, etc.).

Accounts

Accounts

If mail comes in matching any of the criteria you provide, AwayFind will notify you by any variety of methods you prefer, including SMS, Twitter, instant message (AIM, MSN, Yahoo and GTalk), or even a voice phone call.

Another option exists to have a copy saved in your AwayFind inbox, the idea being that you can check here for the messages you have deemed important and not have to check your main accounts directly. In other words, you tell it which emails are important to you and how to let you know about them.

Contact Methods

Contact Methods

Furthermore, you can also set up an auto response for any of these accounts like before but now, because it is coming from AwayFind and not from your email client, you can set it to only go out to any individual sender every “x” number of days (The default is 180). Thus solving the “too much or too little” problem mentioned above.

Finally, your contact form and all of the templates for properly formed signatures and auto-responses are still in place so anyone that used AwayFind version one, and took the time to set those up and “train” the people they communicate with, can still use those methods of contact in an emergency.

Contact Form

Contact Form

Privacy

Now, with all that being said, I know there are still those who may be concerned about privacy. What is it doing with those email accounts I give it to check? Is there someone back there reading all of my email? I have been assured by the developer that they are only scanning incoming mail for the rule criteria you set. Once scanned, if it does not fit the rules it is forgotten. If it does, a copy is kept in a personal inbox in AwayFind if you choose to do this in the preferences.

Final Thoughts

The service is extremely polished and there are plenty of nice quick video tutorials along the way to not only help you figure out the service but also to encourage its very altruistic mission — to stop checking email and relax, knowing that the stuff you feel is important will get through to you.

So, do you want to give AwayFind 2.0 (Orchant) a try? As a special offer to readers of this post, the first 100 people to use this link will be admitted into the beta test program.


Summary

AwayFind was developed to help you get control of email by only notifying you of urgent messages, and thus the freedom to deal with the rest when you wanted.

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Responses

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  • Thank you for this review and invitation !

  • Thanks for such a thorough writeup of AwayFind! If folks have any questions, I’ll stick around here in the comments and answer any. I’m the Founder of AwayFind.

    Just one quick clarification–the pricing that’s listed there is for the old version of AwayFind, which will soon no longer be available in any form. The private beta that Patrick’s given you all access to is free, though someday in the future their may be a cost associated with it. For now, however, there’s no need for even entering credit card info and there’s plenty of time to try AwayFind out.

    Happy New Year to you all, and thanks again, Patrick, for the review!

  • I would still consider using http://weekwill.com as its easy and not so complicating.