It used to be, come mid-November, the catalogs would start to pour into our homes at a distressing rate. One would think of the poor mail carriers schlepping pounds of recycling from trucks to houses. Now the flood is also electronic. The commercial e-mail offers start to pour in even more than at other times of the year. As with the printed catalogs, some you want, most you don't. But which? You don't want the Macys spam until you desperately need to buy a sweater for your dad, and, of course, there's a coupon for that in your inbox. Except you don't want it in your inbox. You want it out of the way.
So you can't delete the BACN, and there's no way to keep up with filing it or managing filters to do it for you. OtherInBox, though, has finally come up with a solid, useful, and free solution for managing the influx of semi-wanted email.
The product, OtherInBox Organizer, simply files e-mail from known commercial sources into subfolders. It works in Gmail and Yahoo at the moment. To be sure, this is nothing that you couldn't do with filters you set up yourself. The beauty of Organizer is that you don't have to do any of that work. The Web service knows where to send e-mails, with very good accuracy. I tired it, and e-mails from my bank are now going to the "Finance" folder and coupons from Macys are going where I want: "Shopping."
(OtherInBox's previous app, Defender, required users to give commercial e-mail senders a new e-mail address, like "Macys@rafen.otherinbox.com." That was too much work, and the product did not get traction.)
My brief review: The Organizer service is just great. After a few minutes to tune its filters to my preferences (for example, I created a new sub-folder for tech-related emails from Dell, Apple, etc.), I turned it on and it auto-filed more than 10,000 emails from my previously unmanaged Gmail inbox that had about 33,000 messages in it. It's kept up with new mail, too, alerting me when it sees a new sender that it can handle for me.
OIB can also provide a calendar feed of when packages you're ordered are due to arrive. Future services may include services like automatically deleting coupons that have expired.
But is there a business in providing such a useful service for free? As CEO Joshua Baer explains it, there is, and it's very clever. "We want to be the Neilsen ratings of email," Baer says.… Read more