If you’re an active participant on the Internet, chances are you’ve been added to all sorts of e-mail lists and newsletters over the years–either unwillingly or on purpose. Maybe you’ve tried to unsubscribe from the worst offenders, but you can never fully escape the clutter.
A new service called Unroll.me wants to be your savior.
Unroll.me scans your inbox for subscription-based e-mail sources, and then hides them. Instead of getting a dozen newsletters, daily deal offers and Facebook notifications throughout the day, you get a single daily e-mail digest delivered in the morning, afternoon or evening.
Sign-up is simple, too; just plug in your Gmail address and authorize the service, and Unroll.me starts hunting down subscriptions to hide.
Unroll.me’s website allows for more tweaks. The site shows a list of all your subscriptions, broken down by category, and provides an option to fully unsubscribe from any of them.
You can also send certain sources directly to your inbox, which is useful if you want to jump on a Groupon offer the minute it’s available. For sites that require a login to manage your e-mail preferences, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, Unroll.me provides a link to that site’s account management page.
Unfortunately, I don’t see any way to re-subscribe once you’ve removed yourself from a listing unless you do so without leaving Unroll.me’s site. The service says, “If you change your mind, there’s always time to reselect a subscription,” but it appears that if you refresh the page or leave the site and come back later, subscriptions you’ve dumped – which reside under the “Unsubscribed” link — can’t be re-enabled anymore. So you’ll want to be careful when clicking the unsubscribe button. (UPDATE: The company says it’s working on a way to let people re-subscribe to lists.) I also wish there was a way to manually add e-mail sources to the list.
In an interview, Unroll.me CEO Josh Rosenwald was cagey about how the service works, because he’s wary about being ripped off by competitors. But he did say that Unroll.me’s automated system looks for cues in the body of e-mails, such as “unsubscribe” links at the bottom as one detection method.
Unroll.me is also still ironing out a business model, but a couple ideas are on the table. Rosenwald said he’d love to find a way to bring more newsletters to the attention of users who might actually want them, since they currently exist outside the purview of traditional search engines. Unroll.me is also in talks with some unnamed big brands, Rosenwald said, so I wouldn’t be surprised to eventually see sponsored posts as part of Unroll.me’s daily digests. For now, though, the service is offered ad-free, at no charge.
As for security, Rosenwald said Unroll.me has safeguards to keep e-mails private. Only the company’s automated system can access users’ e-mail accounts, and the crawler can only pull up e-mails that it detects as subscription-based.
In the future, Rosenwald wants Unroll.me to support more e-mail services, as it only works in Gmail for now, with support for Yahoo coming soon.
The company also plans to offer e-mail receipt tracking in about three to five weeks, so you can access records for everything you buy online in one place. “We want to help you keep the inbox something that’s just the communications between you and your friends,” Rosenwald said, “and we want to add more tools for that.”